A return to civilian life brings big changes. Just like any changes in your military life, the more you prepare, the smoother things will go. We work with Defence to help you prepare.
Our services are aligned with the Veteran Transition Strategy, a joint strategy between Defence, Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation. Additional information can be found here.
On this page
Plan for life after service
Before you transition out of Defence, it is important to plan for the future.
Talk with a Veteran Support Officer (VSO)
Veteran Support Officers are located on Defence bases to provide personalised support and education to serving members and their families about their potential eligibility to access DVA benefits and entitlements.
Our Veteran Support Office page has more information about the support they offer, and it will tell you how to contact them.
Register with MyService
We are moving away from paper claims. MyService will make it faster and easier for you to:
- lodge and manage your claims
- update your contact details
- view your Veteran Card
- check the conditions that we have accepted
- see your past and future payments
You can register with MyService as soon as you enlist. If you have served 1 day of full-time service, you can use MyService to apply for:
How to register for MyService
Attend Stepping Out
Stepping Out is a free program that we offer to all members and their families. You and your family can attend Stepping Out before you discharge or within 12 months of when you left.
The program runs for 2 days, and it will:
- help you to plan for life after the Australian Defence Force (ADF)
- teach you techniques to stay motivated
- teach you the skills to adapt to civilian life
- offer relationship guidance and support
- help you find mental and physical support services
To learn more about Stepping Out, contact Open Arms - Veterans & Family Counselling
Visit the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Program website
You and your family can use the information on the Veterans Employment website to:
- plan your transition into civilian life
- get employers to recognise your skills
- learn about the culture of civilian workplaces
- find work that matches your skills and interests
- find companies that employ veterans
Accessing treatment and support
DVA provides a variety of supports to enhance your physical and mental wellbeing. You can access the services and support we offer while are you serving and after you transition.
Get your free health check
If you served at least 1 day of full-time service you can access a free Veteran Health Check
You can get 1 free health check from your general practitioner (GP) if you left the forces before 1 July 2019. You can get this any time after you leave.
If you left the forces on or after 1 July 2019, you can access 1 free check each year for 5 years after you leave.
Access fully funded mental health support
Any veteran who has completed one day of full-time service in the ADF can access fully funded treatment of mental health conditions under Non-Liability Health Care (NLHC). Mental health conditions do not need to be related to military service, and a claim for compensation is not required to access this treatment.
You will qualify if you have:
- undertaken continuous full-time service
- performed certain types of reserve service
Our page on NLHC (mental health) has more information about this.
Treatment while waiting on a claim
Under the Provisional Access to Medical Treatment program, or PAMT, we will pay for your treatment for certain conditions before we have determined liability for them.
Access rehabilitation services
If we accept your claim, you will be able to access rehabilitation services. We will tailor these services to your needs.
Under rehabilitation services we can help you to:
- get medical equipment for your home and office
- look for work
- manage your medical appointments
- find a local support group
Before you move to civilian life, it is a good idea to think about the services and support that you might want or need. Our page on rehabilitation has more information about these services.
Contact the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC)
Before you separate or transfer from the ADF, we recommend contacting CSC to discuss the super scheme held with them and what impact or changes there will be after your separation or transfer. Depending on your individual circumstances, there may also be financial supports available to you.
Visit the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation website for more information.
Contact Open Arms
Open Arms is a counselling service for veterans and their families. The help line is open 24 hours. You can access:
- articles about mental and physical wellbeing
- small group programs
- lifestyle and education workshops
- tips and training to prevent suicide
- support from a network of peers
- free and confidential counselling
Depending on your personal circumstances, you could be eligible for a range of payments and benefits. We offer:
- regular pension payments
- extra allowances to top up your income
- to pay for health services
- support to help you in and around your home
Submit a claim
If your service was the cause of any health condition, you should submit a claim as soon as possible.
Finding out if we cover your conditions will make it easier and faster for you to get the help you need.
You can submit a claim:
You do not have to wait for us to approve your claim before you can get help.
If your claim was for a mental health condition, you might qualify to receive the Veteran Payment
If your claim was for at least 1 of these conditions, we will pay for a professional to treat you.
Get financial support
While you are waiting for us to accept your claim, you might be able to access the Veteran Payment
The Veteran Payment provides short-term financial support to:
- people who have lodged a claim for a mental health condition
- partners of people who have lodged a claim for a mental health condition
You can get help from ex-service organisations (ESOs). These are organisations that can help you to:
- lodge your claims with us
- find an advocate
- prepare for the civilian workforce
- connect with other former serving members and their families
Our page on ESOs has a list of these organisations.
Information on the Defence Website can also help you to make the move.Back to top
Partnership with Defence
Defence is responsible for providing care and support to serving members.
We are responsible for providing care and support to:
- war-widowed partners
- dependents of former serving members
- former serving members who are sick or injured
We are also responsible for payments and benefits to eligible serving members
DVA and Defence agreed in 2013 to share these roles as we work together to support you and your family.
What Defence tells us
Defence will tell us when a member:
- passes away during service
- is seriously wounded or injured in service
- discharges on medical or administrative grounds
- starts the transition to civilian life
- transitions from the ADF
How we reach out to you will depend on the situation. For example, if you are seriously wounded or injured, a DVA officer will contact you. When you start the process to leave the ADF, we will send you a letter or email with the services that you may receive.
Early Engagement Model
Defence and DVA have created an Early Engagement Model (EEM). The EEM helps us to reach out to ADF members while they are still serving.
It allows us to offer you support and services from the time you enlist.
Veteran Transition Strategy
The Veteran Transition Strategy, the first of its kind, was released by the Australian Government on 22 August 2023.
The Strategy is a joint initiative between Defence, the Department of Veterans' Affairs and the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation — agency partners in the Joint Transition Authority.
The Strategy aims to align transition stakeholders with a shared vision for what it means for a veteran and their family to transition well.
The Next Stage
You might not need help now but you might need it down the track. We have created an easy-to-read brochure to help inform you of the services available to you and your family during and after your transition back to civilian life.
You can read more and print your copy from The Next Stage publication page
Our page on free mental health care for veterans has more information about this.Back to top