Eligibility under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986

 
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Eligibility under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986

Not all serving or ex–service personnel and their dependants are eligible to claim benefits under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986. Only those who have rendered ‘eligible war service’, ‘peacekeeping service’, or ‘defence service’ may have entitlement to receive benefits.

Subject to certain restrictions, nearly all members and ex–members of the Australian Defence Force since 3 January 1949 are eligible to make a claim under Commonwealth employees’ compensation legislation (Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988, Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation Act 1930, Compensation (Commonwealth Government Employees) Act 1971).

In some cases there will be eligibility under both the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 and the Commonwealth employees compensation legislation, in other cases, there will be restrictions on the application of one or the other. In any case, there are offsetting provisions in the legislation to minimise the risk to the Commonwealth of payment of double compensation.

Essentially, a number of different types of eligible service are relevant for different Parts of the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (the Act).

Part II of the Act concerns pensions for incapacity from war-caused injury, war-caused disease, or for war-caused death. The relevant type of service for Part II is ‘eligible war service’, which may include ‘operational service’. If a person has rendered ‘operational service’, they get certain forensic advantages in the determination of their claims, including a more beneficial standard of proof and additional means by which the Commonwealth might be liable to pay pension.

Part III of the Act concerns service pensions (equivalent to the age pension) for persons who have rendered ‘qualifying service’. Most people, but not everyone, who has rendered ‘operational service’ would have rendered ‘qualifying service’. Certain Commonwealth of Nations and other allied countries’ service personnel have rendered qualifying service, but are not taken to have rendered eligible war service or defence service.

Part IV of the Act concerns pensions for incapacity from defence-caused injury, defence-caused disease, or for defence-caused death. The relevant types of service for Part IV are ‘defence service’ (which may include ‘hazardous service’) and ‘peacekeeping service’. Like ‘operational service’ under Part II, if a person has rendered ‘hazardous service’ or ‘peacekeeping service’, they get certain forensic advantages in the determination of their claims, including a more beneficial standard of proof and additional means by which the Commonwealth might be liable to pay pension. A person is not taken to be rendering ‘defence service’ while they are rendering ‘peacekeeping service’.

This table sets out the kinds of eligible service in the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986:

Part of Act

Pension

Eligible service type

Part II

Disability pension, Dependant’s pension
(widow, widower, orphan)

Eligible war service

  • operational service is a category of eligible war service
    • warlike service and non-warlike service are subcategories of operational service

Part III

Service pension
(age, invalidity, partner)

Qualifying service

  • warlike service is a category of qualifying service

Part IV

Disability pension, Dependant’s pension
(widow, widower, orphan)

Defence service

  • a member of the Defence Force can render hazardous service without otherwise having rendered defence service. Hazardous service is regarded as defence service.

Peacekeeping service

  • both civilians (usually police) and members of the Defence Force can render peacekeeping service. Peacekeeping service is not defence service.

Adapted from Veterans Law I Study Guide, Southern Cross University, 2003,
by Bruce Topperwien, Dip Law (BSAB) LLM (Public Law) (ANU).


Chapter 10 of the Report of the Review of Veterans' Entitlements (PDF, 71 Kb) provides an explanation of service eligibility.


This page was last updated on 30 March 2006