You may find that the Australian Government websites have comprehensive information and you may need a little help with navigating vital support, if you are a veteran and would like to speak to someone regarding your individual needs,
AV Connect recommends that you contact the relevant departments:
This page, like all the pages on the AV Connect website are not to be construed as advice and you should be linking to the legislative instruments and policies to read in full. We recommend that you contact DVA for any questions and or seek to gain advice from a trained advocate that has insurance. The information are an overview and extracts only.
Veterans’ Legislation Reform Consultation Pathway
Submissions for the Veterans' Legislation Reform Consultation Pathway close on May 12.
The proposed pathway seeks to reform the veterans’ entitlement legislation. The Pathway for consultation anticipates:
New claims under existing schemes will cease after a transition period, from which point all new veteran claims will be dealt with under an improved Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act (MRCA) as the sole ongoing Act. The MRCA currently services the majority of claims.
All benefits under existing schemes will continue unaffected, with only new claims or claims relating to deteriorated conditions to instead be covered by the single ongoing Act.
The consultation process will inform the way forward for government to simplify veterans’ legislation. The proposed effective date of 1st July 2025 for the new reformed legislation.
4 Acts which provide compensation coverage for current and
former members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF)
Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986
Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988
Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004, and
Defence Act 1903 (DA).
DVA administers the VEA, the DRCA and the MRCA.
The VEA covers compensation payments for the following types of ADF service:
peacetime service (after completion of 3 year qualification period) - from 7 December 1972 to 6 April 1994. Members who enlisted before 2 May 1986 and were still serving after 7 April 1994 are also covered
all periods of operational service, peacekeeping service and declared hazardous service prior to 1 July 2004, and
warlike or non-warlike operations in East Timor, Afghanistan or Iraq or in any other similarly declared operation prior to 1 July 2004.
The DRCA is the compensation legislation that applies to current and former members of the ADF with conditions linked to service prior to 1 July 2004.
The MRCA applies to a person's injury, disease or death if the injury is sustained, the disease contracted or the death occurs on or after 1 July 2004 and the injury, disease or death related to defence service on or after 1 July 2004.
MRCA SRDP Former ADF members paid (or entitled to be paid) incapacity payments under the MRCA, who have a minimum level of impairment, are unable to work more than 10 hours per week, and for whom rehabilitation is unlikely to increase their capacity to work, will be offered a choice between a tax free SRDP payment for life or remaining on incapacity payments payable to age pension age. The maximum SRDP under MRCA is a periodic payment that is equivalent to the VEA Disability Compensation Payment at the Special Rate.
Veterans who were not in the ADF at 1 July 2004 continue to be covered under the VEA or the DRCA. People who are already entitled to compensation under the VEA, or who become entitled to compensation because of injury or disease sustained or suffered BEFORE 1 July 2004, are still entitled to receive compensation payments either through the VEA or DRCA.
Social Media pages that connect Veterans through discussions about ADF and DVA entitlements
These social media pages encourage interactions between fellow Veterans to discuss current issues and ask questions about their individual circumstances. All answers/opinions shared by the pages are of their own. AV Connect is not affiliated, and we are not responsible or liable for any discrepancies, if any provided on those pages. We strongly advise that you check any responses with the ADF, DVA, or governing body directly .
Have you considered the below while claiming?
DVA has free mental health care which means that you do not need to prove that your ADF service caused mental conditions, and DVA will cover your mental health treatment. They may cover the cost through their Non-Liability Health Care (NLHC). Learn more via their link
DVA may provide you with a payment while you wait for them to approve your claim for a mental health condition under the MRCA or DRCA. The Veteran Payment is an interim payment that you may receive while DVA assesses your claim.
Statements of principles (SOPs)
Statements of Principles (SoPs) are used in determining claims for liability for injuries, diseases and deaths under both the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) and the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA).
Statements of Principles (SOPs) are determined by the RMA, and are legislative instruments and have the same legal effect as any legislation passed by Parliament. SOPs exclusively state what factors must exist to establish a causal connection between particular diseases, injuries or death and service.
The RMA decides whether there is sound medical-scientific evidence that indicates that a particular kind of injury, disease or death can be related to operational service, peacekeeping service or hazardous service. In order for there to be a reasonable hypothesis connecting such an injury or disease or death with service, it must be possible that a causal connection between a factor in the relevant SoP and service can be established. If this is the case a SoP will be determined for that condition setting out:
* the factors that must as a minimum exist, and
* which of those factors must be related to service rendered by a person.
There are two SoPs for each medical condition, one for operational and war-like service and one for other eligible service. This is because the different types of service attract different standards of proof for determining claims. These standards of proof are the:
* reasonable hypothesis for operational service, or hazardous service, and
* balance of probabilities for eligible war service or defence service.
A little more information:
How are SoPs made?
The Repatriation Medical Authority (RMA) decides the SoPs after extensive investigations of the medical literature and research available worldwide. They are then gazetted in the Australian Government Gazette and tabled in both Houses of Federal Parliament. They become effective from the date they are signed by the Chairman of the RMA and remain law unless either House of the Australian Parliament disallows them. Veterans and ex-service organisations can ask the RMA to make a new SoP if one does not already exist, or to review a SoP if they believe that there is additional information available. This additional material needs to be sound medical-scientific evidence rather than a personal medical report or passages from a textbook.
How are SoPs used?
SoPs provide a list of factors causally related to a particular medical condition. SoPs alone determine what factors can be said to cause a medical condition that is the subject of a claim for disability compensation payment. A veteran or dependant can look at the list of factors and see if any might be applicable to their particular circumstances. Decision-makers must decide whether any of the factors in the SoP for the condition being investigated apply to the person making the claim. If one of the factors applies then the decision-maker must see if it is also connected to the service of the serviceman or servicewoman.
GARP refers to one of two different instruments: GARP V or GARP M. GARP V is the fifth edition of the Guide to the Assessment of Rates of Veterans’ Pensions used to assess Disability Compensation Payment under the VEA.
GARP M, or the Guide to Determining Impairment and Compensation, is a specially adapted edition of GARP V that is used to assess compensation claims under MRCA.
The DRCA PI Guide is the Guide to the Assessment of the Degree of Permanent Impairment 2023, used to assess compensation claims under DRCA.
How is the lifestyle effect assessed?
GARP looks at four components of a veteran’s life that may be affected by war-caused or defence-caused incapacity or impairment:
recreational and community activities
employment and domestic activities.
The DRCA PI Guide also looks at four components of a veteran’s life that may be affected by war-caused or defence-caused incapacity or impairment:
pain and suffering
loss of amenities
loss of expectation of life.
A table under each component sets out descriptions of the levels of effect that war-caused or defence-caused incapacity or impairment might have on a veteran’s lifestyle. A rating is then allocated to each level.
Under the GARPs, the ratings selected from each table are added together, and the total is divided by four to arrive at the overall lifestyle rating.
Under the DRCA PI Guide, a weighted formula is applied to the ratings selected from each table to arrive at a total rating. That rating is then converted to a percentage.
Overview of Calculations/Impairment Points
DRCA and MRCA compensation payments include incapacity payments for economic loss, permanent impairment (PI) payments for non-economic loss and a Special Rate Disability Pension (SRDP) payment (under MRCA).
If you have an injury or disease which is accepted as related to your ADF service (i.e. an accepted condition) then you may be entitled to receive compensation from DVA if:
you have a resulting impairment; and
the impairment is likely to continue indefinitely; and
your injury or disease has stabilised.
PI compensation is paid in respect of any permanent physical and/or mental impairment in combination with any lifestyle restrictions resulting from your accepted conditions.
All accepted conditions are combined, using a combined values table, to arrive at a total impairment rating on a scale from zero to 100 points. The impairment rating will then be combined with a lifestyle rating, from zero to seven, to determine the compensation payable.
An interim payment of compensation for permanent impairment can be made where the impairment is 10% or more but a final assessment of the degree of impairment has not been made (e.g. because the degree of impairment is not yet stable). An interim payment of permanent impairment (PI) compensation can be made under section 75 of the MRCA
NOTE: Section 69 of the MRCA requires that PI compensation is not payable unless a person's WPI constitutes 10 IPs. IPs from more than one accepted condition can be combined to meet the 10 IP requirement.
DVA strongly recommends that you seek advice from a suitably qualified financial adviser and lawyer, especially if you have a determination of 50 impairment points.
Compensation is payable for an impairment resulting from an injury which is permanent. In the DRCA, “permanent” means “likely to continue indefinitely” (subsection 4(1) of that Act). For the purpose of determining whether an impairment is permanent under the DRCA, DVA must have regard to all of the matters in subsection 24(2) of that Act, namely the following:
the duration of the impairment;
the likelihood of improvement in the employee’s condition;
whether the employee has undertaken all reasonable rehabilitative treatment for the impairment;
any other relevant matters.
An impairment will generally be regarded as permanent when the recovery process has been completed, that is, when the full medical treatment has been achieved.
The principles of assessment are:
Evaluation of whole person impairment is a medical appraisal of the nature and extent of the effect of an injury or disease on a person’s functional capacity and activities of daily living. Therefore, the impairment tables in Division 1 are based on the concept of “whole person impairment”, which is drawn from the AMA Guides.
Multiple impairments: A single injury may give rise to multiple loss of function. When more than one table in Division 1 applies to a single injury, separate scores are allocated to each functional impairment. The scores are combined using Table 14.1 (Combined values chart). This is also in relation to a Double assessment.
Provision may be made under subsection 25(1) of the DRCA for interim assessment and payment of compensation. Assessment for an interim payment will apply mainly in cases undergoing active treatment where the final outcome of the treatment is not known but a minimum permanent impairment can be measured. Ensuring that further treatment will not reduce the impairment, which must be at least 10%.
The concepts of “employability” and “incapacity” are not included in the assessment of impairment and non-economic loss. Incapacity is influenced by factors other than the degree of impairment and is compensated by weekly payments which are in addition to these payments.
Payment of a lump sum amount of compensation under the DRCA for permanent whole person impairment does not affect other compensation entitlements under DRCA. For example, compensation entitlements for incapacity for work, household and attendant care services and medical expenses related to a compensable injury can still be paid after such a lump sum is awarded. You might also be entitled to a further lump sum payment of compensation under the DRCA if the degree of permanent impairment increases after an earlier lump sum is paid.
There are ‘offsetting’ provisions to prevent your being compensated under the DRCA and also under the VEA for the same incapacity or service-related death of a member. Any lump sum you may receive under the DRCA might affect any Disability Compensation Payment or Income Support Pension you receive under the VEA.
When DVA advises you of an entitlement to permanent impairment compensation, you will be provided with an election form enabling you to indicate your choice to institute action for damages under Common Law. Under limited circumstances, if permanent impairment compensation (non-economic loss) becomes payable to you, you will receive a DVA letter asking for you to advise the Department in writing if you intend to institute an action or proceeding against the Commonwealth for damages for that non-economic loss. There are restrictions that may affect your outcome with this payment.
DVA provides detailed and further claims information. This is NOT the full content. This is just a brief overview to direct you in the right direction and to have a basic understanding of the permanent impairment information. Please use all the links to the full context of information and to see other claimable components and assessments.
This is not a guide for advice. You should always seek advice from a qualified and insured financial advisor, advocate or lawyer.
"Guide to the Assessment of Rates of Veterans' Pensions" (GARP)
DVA description "The GARP is used to assess the extent of incapacity from war caused or defence caused injury or disease for the purposes of determining the rate of pension."
Extract from the Policy "GARP is the legislative instrument used by decision-makers to determine the amount of Disability Compensation Payment to pay a veteran in respect of incapacity from war-caused or defence-caused injuries and diseases. It looks at the medical impairment suffered as a result of war-caused disabilities and the effect on the veteran's lifestyle. Its provisions are binding on the Repatriation Commission, the Veterans' Review Board and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal."
criteria against which the degree of incapacity of the veteran resulting from war-caused injury or disease, or both, shall be assessed, and
methods by which the degree of this incapacity, shall be expressed as a percentage.
Assessment of degree of incapacity
The two elements of the assessment of the degree of incapacity using GARP are:
medical impairment, and
GARP refers to one of two different instruments: GARP V or GARP M
GARP M, or the Guide to Determining Impairment and Compensation, is a specially adapted edition of GARP V that is used to assess compensation claims under MRCA.
Service Eligibility Assistant
The Service Eligibility Assistant contains legislative instruments relating to service under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) and Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA), and associated information. While many service requirements are set out within the main text of the Acts, some service types, locations and periods, and the individuals and units who are known to have rendered certain types of service, are instead set out in legislative instruments. The following types of legislative instruments relate to service under the VEA and/or MRCA:
Determinations of warlike, non-warlike and hazardous service
Declarations of peacekeeping forces
Instruments of allotment for duty in an operational area
Instruments of assignment for operational service under VEA section 6D(1)(a)
Determinations relating to people other than members of the forces who are:
Declared members or deemed to be members of the Defence Force; or
Deemed to have rendered continuous full-time service as members of the Defence Force.
Available instruments can be viewed via the Service Eligibility Assistant either by region or by operation. Some instruments are not publicly available because they contain personal details of individuals. All recent instruments are also available at www.legislation.gov.au.
Balance of Probabilities (BOPs)
The term balance of probabilities is often used to describe the reasonable satisfaction standard of proof. The Delegate must decide whether the evidence provided is more probable than not to be true.
Standard & Onus of Proof
The MRCA sets out two standards of proof that apply in determining claims for liability. These are the “beyond reasonable doubt” standard of proof and the “reasonable satisfaction” standard of proof.y
The VEA contains provisions specifying the standard of proof required before a decision on a case involving pension can be made. The standard required is known as reasonable satisfaction.
Reasonable hypothesis (RH)
The RH test applies to liability claims relating to warlike and non-warlike service. Where a person hypothesises a causal connection between the claimed condition and the circumstances of their service.
The support, services and information DVA provides includes:
help returning to civilian life
home care assistance
help with housing
Are you in the process of a medical discharge from the ADF? there are comprehensive amounts of information and documentation that you may need to take into account.
It is important, that if you have sustained a disease or injury as part of your service, to lodge a claim with DVA, as soon as you are able to, prior to being medically discharged.
There are a few medical classifications when discharging from the ADF (ADF Medical Employment Classification Scheme (MECS) and these are :
MEC1: Fully employable and deployable;
MEC2: Employable and deployable with restrictions;
MEC4: Employment transition;
MEC5: Medically Unfit for Further Service (Separation),
- Sub-classification MEC J51 - Not Employable on Medical Grounds
- Sub-classification MEC J52 - Not Employable on Medical Grounds
Note: If you have been assessed as MEC4, your medical information may have been referred to the Medical Panel Review Board (MECRB), who will likely make a decision if a medical discharge is appropriate under the circumstances presented to them. It is important that, as soon as practical, for you to consider your options, including seeking advice and assistance with submitting a claim to DVA.
The system is complex therefore it is important that you research and reach out to a qualified personnel or professional to see what benefits you may be entitled to and what legislation you are covered by.
Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme (CSC)
If you are medically transitioned from the ADF, it is responsible for:
providing you with a Transition Health Examination (THE) and a DM042; and
with your consent, providing CSC with information about your medical and service history. Once the transition decision has been made, CSC becomes responsible for the Invalidity Classification process.
While CSC provides superannuation Invalidity Benefit payments if you are unable to undertake civilian employment after serving in the ADF, DVA provides compensation for ADF-caused injury in the form of incapacity payments.
CSC is responsible for determining if an Invalidity Benefit is payable following your transition date from the ADF. This is decided through a classification process where your medical impairment is classified as Class A, B or C. Members classified as a Class A or B will receive an Invalidity Benefit payment.
What are the impairment classes?
Class A - Generally, Class A means that you are severely impacted by your impairments and would be largely restricted working within relevant civilian employment due to the nature of your impairment/s.
Class B - Class B means you have the capacity for some relevant civilian work at the time of your transition, but suffer moderate incapacity.
Class C - Class C means that you have been deemed as not fit for ADF duty, but have the capacity to work within your relevant civilian employment with minimal restriction.
There is a right of appeal or review for most veterans matters. These include internal review by the Commission and external review by the Veterans’ Review Board (VRB) and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). The review before the Commission, the VRB and the AAT reconsiders the decision with the evidence before the Commission, and any evidence received subsequently, and the reviewer reconsiders all aspects of the decision including the law, the facts and any relevant policy. Review by the Commission and the VRB is relatively informal. Advocates, but not legal practitioners, can appear at the VRB as a support for the veteran.
Veterans Review Board
VRB states "We are a specialist tribunal that delivers justice to veterans, current serving members and their families. We take a fresh look at decisions about veterans’ entitlements and compensation and, as independent decision-makers, we can assist in resolving disputes fairly, justly, informally, economically and quickly"
The VRB holds a hearing to review your case. You may choose to be represented at the hearing, at your own expense, by anyone other than a legal practitioner or a person legally qualified. A legal practitioner may help you prepare your case prior to the hearing. As a matter of policy the Commission does not appear at the VRB.
Generally, you can take to the VRB, as long as they do not hold a qualification:
* a friend or family member
* an advocate
* a person from an ESO.
What decisions can the VRB review?
The VRB can only hear cases where the law gives them the authority. The VRB has stated that the types of decisions that they most commonly review involve:
* Claims to accept liability or entitlement for a service injury, disease or death
* Applications for increase in disability pension
* Compensation for permanent impairment or incapacity for work
* Claims for war widow(er)’s or orphan’s pension
The law does not allow the VRB to review decisions made under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA).
If you are unsure whether the VRB is able to review your case, you can talk to them on 1800 550 460 or visit their contact page for additional contact information.
Time limits to review
Death or incapacity of a veteran: you have 12 months from the date you receive notice of the decision. However, we can only pay maximum arrears if you apply within 3 months of receiving notice of the decision. This means that you should apply for your review as soon as possible. The rate of pension or a claim for attendant allowance: you have 3 months from the date you receive notice of the decision.
For any decisions made under the MRCA, you must appeal within 12 months from the date you receive notice of the decision. You must state why you disagree with the decision.
If you do not agree with the VRB’s decision. If you are not satisfied with the VRB’s decision, you may appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Review by the AAT is more formal, however the veteran may be represented, including by a legal practitioner.