Simplifying and improving the Disability Pension

Changes are being made to the Disability Pension to simplify payments and improve access to rent assistance for Disability Pension recipients and their families.

There are three main changes that you will see from 1 January 2022.

Firstly, the Disability Pension will be renamed the Disability Compensation Payment.  This better reflects the purpose of the payment, and will help to prevent confusion with the Disability Support Pension paid by Services Australia. There will be no change to veterans’ entitlements or payments as a result of the name change.

Secondly, the renamed Disability Compensation Payment and Permanent Impairment Payments and Special Rate Disability Pension will become exempt from the Social Security Act income test. The changes are reflected in the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 and the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004.

This will simplify payments to Disability Compensation Payment recipients and their families who also receive an income support payment under the Social Security Act, removing the need for the top-up Defence Force Income Support Allowance payment. It will simplify the way income support payments are calculated and administered by DVA and Services Australia.

Veterans and their partners who receive payments under the Social Security Act will receive at least the same amount of income support as before – just from one agency (Services Australia or DVA) rather than two (Services Australia plus DVA).

Thirdly, the Disability Income Rent Test is being removed. That’s because the Rent Test results in severely disabled veterans and their families receiving less rent assistance than those with lesser disabilities, because of the amount of compensation the veteran receives.

As a result, some veterans and their families paying private rent may receive an increased rate of Commonwealth Rent Assistance; or become eligible for Rent Assistance if they also receive Service Pension, Income Support Supplement or Veteran Payment; or have a net increase in their Social Security payment.

If you think you might benefit from the changes to eligibility for rent assistance, please update your rental details online using MyService via myGov.  If this is not possible, please contact DVA via phone 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372) or email GeneralEnquiries [at] dva.gov.au. You will need to provide evidence of the rent you are paying.

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