Service Pension

A Service Pension provides a regular income for people with limited means.  A Service Pension can be paid to a veteran on the grounds of age or invalidity, and to eligible partners, widows and widowers.  It is subject to an income and assets test.

The Age Service pension is paid to veterans five years earlier than the Aged Pension paid by Centerlink.  The Invalidity Service Pension may be granted at any time if the required criteria are met.

The Service Pension is paid fortnightly, based on daily entitlements.  The rate of Service Pension is adjusted twice yearly, in March and September, in line with movements in the cost of living and/or the average wage.

A Service Pension is payable to eligible veterans, their partners, widows and widowers.  For Service Pension purposes, a veteran is a person who has qualifying service.  The criteria for qualifying service is not the same as war or defence-caused disability pension requirements.

Eligible veterans include:

  • Australian veterans;
  • Commonwealth veterans;
  • Allied veterans;
  • Australian war-time mariners; and
  • Allied mariners.

You are eligible for the Service Pension if you are a veteran who:

  • has qualifying service - generally those who have served in operations against the enemy and incurred danger from hostile forces; and
  • meets the residency requirements - that is, a resident of Australia, present in Australia at the time of lodging the claim for service pension.  Commonwealth, Allied veterans and mariners must have been an Australian resident for at least 10 years, although there are some exceptions.
  • is of service pension age -60 years for males and 55.5 for females; or
  • is permanently blind or is permanently unable to work and meets the criteria of permanent  incapacity to work.

You cannot receive a Service Pension from the Department of Veterans' Affairs in addition to an Age Pension or any other social security pension or benefit (except child-related payments) from Centrelink.

Income and assets may make the individual ineligible for a Service Pension, and you must meet the income and assets test.

Partner Service Pension may be paid to partners who are:

  • legally married to and living with a veteran;
  • legally married to but separated from a veteran;
  • living in a marriage-like relationship with a veteran and the veteran is receiving or is eligible to receive the Service Pension.

Partners are eligible if they:

  • are at least 50 years of age; or
  • have dependent children; or
  • the veteran receives the T & PI disability pension.

Partner Service Pension is also payable to widows and widowers of veterans who were receiving or were eligible to receive Service Pension at the time of the veteran's death.

There are a number of allowances payable to eligible pensioners:

  • Pharmaceutical Allowance - payable to all service pensioners to assist with the cost of prescriptions;
  • Rent Assistance - payable to service pensioners who pay private rent for their accommodation, subject to minimum rent limits;
  • Remote Area Allowance - payable to service pensioners who live in designated remote areas of Australia;
  • Telephone Allowance - payable to service pensioners who are telephone subscribers;
  • Child-related Payments - paid by Centrelink to service pensioners with dependent children.

After you apply for Service Pension, DVA will determine your qualifying service and then work out how much Service Pension you will receive, depending upon your income and assets.

When a decision is made, you will be notified in writing.  This will include the date of grant and the amount of Service Pension you will receive.  Your Pensioner Concession Card will be issued at the same time.

DVA will also advise if you are eligible for a Gold Card for medical treatment.  If you are eligible, the Gold Card will be posted separately 4 to 6 weeks later.

If your claim for Service Pension is not approved, or you are not happy with the rate of the Service pension, you have the right to ask that DVA review the decision.  You must do this within three months of receiving the letter notifying you of the decision.  The decision will be reviewed by a Reviewing Officer.  Your request for a review must set out in writing your reasons for seeking the review. 

 If you are unhappy with any aspect of the Review Officer's decision, you may apply in writing to the Administrative Review Tribunal (previously the Administrative Appeals Tribunal) for a review of that decision.  Your application should set out in writing the reasons for your appeal, and should be lodged within three months of receipt of the Review Officer's decision.

When applying for a Service Pension you must supply your Tax File Number as well as other relevant proof of identify documents such as birth certificates and marriage certificates.

We strongly recommend that if you are going to make a Service Pension claim, you should consult an ex-service organisation, (that you have confidence in), who have pension officers that have competed the Training Information Program, (TIP).

For further information on applying for the Service Pension, contact your nearest DVA office or visit their web site at and look up fact sheet IS 01

The Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia can assist any veteran of any conflict, their widow/er's and children by providing advice and assistance in regard to all pensions matters.  Simply contact your nearest sub-branch.


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