Free mental health care for veterans

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Information on free mental health care, who is eligible and how to get treatment.

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What it means

Free mental health care means you do not have to pay for your mental health treatment. You do not need to prove that your ADF service caused these conditions. We cover the cost through Non-Liability Health Care (NLHC).

To get free treatment, you need to have a Veteran White Card that covers mental health.

Veteran Gold Card holders are already eligible for mental health treatment.

Before you make an appointment, you also need to make sure that the mental health provider will accept a Veteran Card for payment.

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Who is eligible

Current and former full-time members of the ADF can get free mental health treatment. This includes reservists who have at least one day of continuous full-time service (CFTS).

CFTS is defined as:

  • full-time service in the permanent forces of the ADF
  • a reservist who has been formally designated to be on full-time service by Defence
  • a reservist who has been called out for full-time service by the Governor General under the Defence Act.

CFTS does not include training conducted as reserve service days.

Reservists without CFTS may still be eligible if they have either:

  • Disaster Relief Service
  • Border Protection Service
  • involvement in a serious service-related training accident.
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What we cover

Mental health treatment under NLHC may be provided by a:

  • GP
  • psychologist
  • psychiatrist
  • occupational therapist (mental health)
  • social worker (mental health)
  • hospital
  • Trauma recovery - posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) program
  • DVA-approved alcohol or other drug community-based program.

If you need medication, you might be able to get help with the cost through:

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How to get treatment

You need a Veteran White Card that covers mental health treatment.

How to check if your White Card covers mental health treatment

You can do this through MyService:

  1. Log in and go to ‘Your card’.
  2. Click on ‘View card details’.
  3. Click on ‘Conditions listed’.

You should see either:

  • ‘All mental health conditions – treatment only’
  • a specific mental health condition with ‘Treatment Only’ or ‘Treatment’ next to it.

Or you can:

How to add mental health cover to your White Card

You can either:

You might need to provide proof of identity documentation.

Talk to your GP

When you’re ready, make an appointment with your GP to discuss your mental health.

Your GP will talk with you about your symptoms and your wellbeing, and help you work out your next steps. They may refer you to a mental health care provider.

Make sure you or your GP confirms that the provider will accept your Veteran White Card for payment.

If you need help finding a GP, you can use the Health Direct website to find one.

When you can start treatment

You can still start eligible treatment if we have approved your application and you’re waiting for either:

  • your physical card to arrive
  • the condition to be added to your digital Veteran Card on MyService.

 You just need to show the healthcare provider your NLHC acceptance letter.

If you are charged for an eligible treatment during this time, keep your receipts and:

  • complete an application for reimbursement claim form
  • email it to medtreat [at] dva.gov.au.

If your NLHC application is approved, we can reimburse you for eligible treatment costs incurred up to 3 months before the date we received your claim. This includes eligible treatment-related travel expenses.

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Things you should know

Before you start any treatment, please be aware that:

  • your Veteran White Card does not cover NLHC treatment overseas
  • you need to confirm that a provider will accept your Veteran Card as payment before making an appointment.
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What to tell us

If you are eligible for NLHC and you receive a bill for mental health treatment that we cover, do not pay it yourself. Let us know about it as soon as you can.

If anything changes that could affect your entitlements, you need to let us know within:

You can either:

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