top of page

Widow/Widower or other Dependent of a Deceased Veteran


A brief History

Throughout Australia, many struggled to adjust to lives without their partners as they had become war widows due to the war, they battled the loss of support which included both financial and emotional.  The war pension for widows of privates was set initially at only £1 per week, and that meant that many had become dependent on family or charities to help.  Some remarried, some spent their lives looking after their children with the help of Repatriation Department allowances towards their education.   The War Widows’ Guild from 1945 became a formidable lobby group, influencing government on issues regarding war widow’s pensions, education, benefits, and health care.  A war widow's pension had to be relinquished on remarriage and a remarriage gratuity was paid. Many of the benefits that war widows have today are a result of the valour of those early guild members.  

Since 29 May 1984 a war widow/widower is entitled to continue to receive war widow's/widower's pension regardless of remarriage. 

war widows pension pymts history.jpg
war widows pension history.jpg

What are the Act References & entitlements

ALWAYS consult DVA & Services Australia for detailed information relating to your individual circumstances

Simple terms

An explanation in simple terms:

A War Widow(er) Pension is a compensatory payment to the widow(er) and/or child(ren) of a veteran who died as a result of eligible war service.   A widow(er) can apply for this pension where they were legally married to, or in a de facto relationship with, an Australian veteran immediately before the veteran's death.  For a child to be eligible for this pension, they must be a natural or adopted child of the veteran, and aged either under 16 years of age, or under 25 years of age if they are undertaking full time study.


In certain circumstances, the War Widow(er) Pension will be paid automatically without regard to whether the veteran's death was as a result of war service or eligible war service. Such circumstances, for example; include where the veteran was an ex-prisoner of war, or was receiving a disability pension at a special rate. NOTE: When a veteran, former member, cadet or reservist passes away, their Veteran Gold Card is not transferred to the surviving partner or any other dependant. If the surviving partner or any other dependant is entitled to the Veteran Gold Card, they will receive their own. In other circumstances, a person must apply for the War Widow(er) Pension by completing the relevant claim form, which can be obtained by contacting the Department of Veterans' Affairs on 1800 555 254 or via the Department of Veterans' Affairs website.


Payment summary information through the Department of Veterans' Affairs.

More information:   War Widow's/Widower's Pension:

Chapter 4.1 Disability Compensation Payment Eligibility

Chapter 4.2 War Widow's/Widower's Pension Eligibility

Chapter 4.3 Orphan's Pension Eligibility

Chapter 3.2 Income Support Supplement (ISS) Eligibility

Chapter 8.3 Funeral Benefits

Chapter 7.1 Treatment at Departmental Expense

Chapter 2.1 Claims

National Redress Guide

Multiple Claims:  War Widows pension and compensation offsetting

The Rehabilitation Appliances Program (RAP) | Department of Veterans' Affairs (

White Structure

Acute Support Package

The Acute Support Package provides short-term, targeted support to build the family’s ability to manage challenging situations, both at the time the support is provided and into the future. 


DVA may support you to access their Acute Support Package :

Widowed partners:

  • under 65 years old at the time eligibility is determined; and

  • a War Widow(er) under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA), a Wholly Dependent Partner under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA) or a partner under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related claims) Act 1988 (DRCA) whose veteran partner’s death was related to service; including suicide; and

  • the veteran’s death was less than two years ago.

Annastacia Palaszczuk (Former MP) had collaborated with the Australian War Widows Queensland to implement the very first "War Widows Day" in Queensland.  In 2023 the day was celebrated by the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.

Why 19th October? Today represents the anniversary of the birthday of Jessie Vasey, Founder of the War Widows Guild.

What will the annual "War Widows Day" in Queensland on the 19th October represent? We will continue to remember and honour the widows and widowers of those who served defending our country.

War Widows Day
19th October annually

gold card.jpg
  • receiving the War Widow(er)'s Pension

  • a wholly dependent partner, eligible young person or other dependent who is eligible for compensation for the veteran’s death under MRCA

  • eligible for the Orphan's Pension

  • a dependent child of a deceased veteran whose death is not accepted as war-caused, if the veteran had operational service and you are not being cared for by your remaining parent

The Veteran Gold Card covers: 

  • medical and surgical care

  • medical consultations and procedures that the MBS covers

  • medical services and surgical procedures the MBS lists and which a health care professional performs in public and private hospitals and day surgery facilities

  • medical specialist services the MBS lists

  • medication reviews

  • Approval can be sought for medical services that the MBS does not list


When DVA must approve care.

The Veteran Gold Card may also cover: 

Coordinated Veterans’ Care (CVC) Program

It is important to remember that you may need to have an assessed clinical need.

When buying prescription items, you will need to pay $6.80 for each item until you reach your Safety Net Threshold for the calendar year.  From 01/07/2022 the Safety Net threshold will be $244.80.


A person who has a Veteran Gold Card can also get:

The following providers can refer you for allied health treatments

  • general practitioners (GPs)

  • medical specialists

  • hospital discharge planners

  • other health care professionals as part of a hospital discharge


It is important to remember that you may need to have an assessed clinical need.

DVA mentions treatment cycles.  It means that referrals to allied health services are valid for up to 12 sessions of treatment or 1 year, whichever ends first. Clients can have as many treatment cycles as their GP decides are clinically necessary.   


DVA also stated that you can also have:

  • a separate treatment cycle for each allied health service you need; and

  • treatment cycles for different allied health services at the same time

The following services are listed on DVA site as covered by the treatment cycle

Exceptions to the treatment cycle Treatments

Some allied health treatments are not included in the treatment cycle:

TPI clients

The treatment cycle does not apply to clients with a Totally and Permanently Incapacitated (TPI) Gold Card when a GP refers them to either:

  • physiotherapy

  • exercise physiology services


The treatment cycle will apply if the GP refers a TPI client to other allied health services, such as:

  • occupational therapy

  • podiatry

  • psychology

Alternative Therapy

  • acupuncture 

  • massage techniques 

DVA Does not cover the following but not limited to alternative therapies 

  • acupuncture and acupressure

  • aromatherapy

  • equine therapy

  • homeopathy

  • hypnotherapy and hypnosis

  • massage or therapeutic touch

  • meditation

  • music therapy

  • reflexology and relaxation therapy

  • reiki

  • tai chi

  • yoga

Direct Support Services for Widows/widowers

There are War Widows offices in ACT, NSW (representing Tas), QLD, SA, WA

Non-profit organisation which is dedicated to the well-being of widows/widowers whose partners have died as a result of their war or hostile service for Australia. 

There are Legacy offices in ACT, NSW, NT, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA & London

Non-profit organisation committed to ensuring no widow of a deceased veteran will ever face life’s challenges alone.

Partners of Veterans Australia offices in NSW, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA 

Non-profit organisation that supports partners.

TPI offices in ACT, NSW, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC

All State and Territory Associations have qualified Welfare Officers who are able to assist with DVA Services and health and well-being.

First Light 

Non-profit charity organisation that connects young widowed people from all background and relationship structures to resources, programs and a community that will support them through the overwhelming task of re-building their world after the loss of the life they knew and the future they'd planned for.

White Structure

Home Care Services

DVA provides a range of services to support War Widows and Widowers, to maintain independence, health, safety, and wellbeing and to continue to live in the home.  Veteran’s Home Care services include Personal Care, Domestic Assistance, Respite Care, and some Home and Garden Maintenance.   Eligible DVA clients may contact the relevant VHC Assessment Agency directly to determine Home Care eligibility.

Once you have determined your eligibility and what supports you may be able to access, your service provider can assist you with the coordination, implementation, and provision of supports.  

NOTE (DVA information): If your loved one dies

If a veteran was receiving domestic help or home and garden maintenance when they die:

  • you may be able to continue with these services for up to 12 weeks; or

  • if you submit a claim for a War Widow/er’s Pension with us during the 12-week period following the death of the veteran, these services may continue until we notify the VHC Assessment Agency of the claim determination date


To continue domestic help or home and garden maintenance, if you do not submit a claim for a War Widow/er’s Pension, you need to have been living with the veteran immediately before their death, and you are:

  • a spouse of the deceased veteran

  • a child of the veteran

  • an adult child of the veteran with a serious disability; or 

  • an adult child of the veteran who was a full-time carer of the veteran immediately prior to the veteran’s death

For more information: 

Contact your VHC Assessment Agency on 1300 550 450

White Structure

Prepare for retirement

tractor & Caravan.jpg

Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT)

ACAT assesses the medical, physical, cultural, psychological and social care needs of frail older persons to help them access a range of Australian Government-subsidised aged care services.

Main Entry Point to Aged Care

The main entry point to aged care for Veterans, War Widows(ers) and all Australians who need aged care advice, information, services and support is through My Aged Care.   Some of the services supported through My Aged Care is Home care and Residential Care.

Prepare to change to age pension

From the DSP

Age Pension with DVA

Gold Card holders may be entitled to services from DVA as well as myagedcare, provided the same service is not being accessed from both providers for example you cannot request cleaning from both DVA and myagedcare

Support for rural and remote areas My Aged Care

A little more understanding who is who in the Aged Care Circle & services


The Regional Assessment Service (RAS) provides personalised assessments to assess eligibility for aged care services. RAS helps people to maximise their independence and remain at home.


The Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) assesses the needs of older people. It makes recommendations for government-funded care and support, including: Home care services (such as Home Care Packages) Aged care homes.

WHAT is the difference between RAS and ACAT?

When you are looking for aged care services, both RAS and ACAT organisations conduct assessments.

RAS will determine if you are eligible for Commonwealth Home Support Program Services, generally if you only require low-level support to stay independent at home.   ACAT provides a more comprehensive assessment, if you require more complex, regular support.  They  will assist you to apply for aged care and determine if you require a Home Care Package, short-term care or an aged care home. 


If you’re able to manage, but need support with a few tasks at home, you might be eligible for support through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP).


If you need many care and support services on an ongoing basis to help you live independently, a Home Care Package (HCP) may be more suitable. This will provide a package of care and services and go beyond what the CHSP can provide.

Elderly couple

Aged Care Guide

Over 6000 aged care providers.  Comprehensive information and guide

Legal and financial advice

More Information

One of our other topics may assist further.

bottom of page