Misleading advertising about veteran healthcare by third-party organisations

Veterans and their families are being advised to avoid engaging with misleading advertisements by third-party referral organisations, about veteran healthcare.

15 July 2020

A young man exercising on a rowing machine in a gym. There is a blue circle with the DVA logo on it with the words: Don’t fall for false ads. Australian Government — Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) is currently running a campaign to advise DVA clients to avoid engaging with misleading advertisements about veteran healthcare entitlements being run by third-party ‘referral’ organisations.

DVA continually strives to assist veterans and their families navigate DVA’s services and provide critical information regarding DVA’s service providers, allied health practitioners and specialists.

In order to protect the financial interests and privacy of our veteran clients, as well as support those organisations and health providers who do the right thing, DVA has been working to identify and address misleading advertisements by marketing companies directed towards veterans in relation to their DVA health care entitlements.

These organisations market healthy lifestyle services purportedly funded by DVA and receive a commission from service providers for any referrals they provide. They are not health care providers and do not have any affiliation with, or receive payment from, DVA.

In particular, DVA is concerned with the following types of practices:

  • Unauthorised use of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms and DVA’s entitlement card logos which may suggest an association or relationship with DVA that does not exist;
  • Advertisement of healthy lifestyle services, such as yoga and meditation, which are not covered by DVA and may result in out-of-pocket costs to veteran clients;
  • Collection of DVA clients’ sensitive personal information; and
  • Potentially misleading statements which suggest services will be covered by DVA without considering the veteran client’s circumstances.

There are strict DVA guidelines relating to advertisements that all DVA allied service providers and third-party marketing organisations must comply with.

Examples of non-compliant language that marketing agents use to induce veterans to engage services (both covered and not covered by DVA) include the following representations:

  • ‘free to DVA clients’
  • ‘fully funded by DVA’
  • ‘complimentary services’
  • ‘no fees’
  • ‘DVA pays’

Veterans are advised to be cautious of:

  • Any advertisements and representations made by marketing organisations who are unaffiliated with DVA and may offer services which are not covered by DVA; and
  • Disclosing their personal information to any non-health care professional.

DVA remains focused on not exposing veterans to financial liability due to misleading advertising. DVA is here to support the veteran community and their health providers.

Further information

For DVA social media coverage about third party advertising, please visit:

For allied health providers seeking information about compliant DVA advertising guidelines, please refer to the DVA Notes.