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4.1.2 Eligibility Requirements for Disability Pension

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Last amended: 16 April 2003

What is disability pension?

    

VEA ?

Section 5Q(1) VEA Disability Pension

Section 5C VEA Australian Mariner

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A disability pension is paid as compensation for injuries or diseases caused or aggravated by war service or certain defence service on behalf of Australia.

What service is required for entitlement to claim for disability pension?

    

VEA ?

Section 13 VEA Eligibility for pension (veterans and Mariners)

Section 70 VEA Eligibility for pension (Defence and Peacekeeping Forces)

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To be eligible for disability pension, a person has to have rendered one of the following types of service:

Note: Defence service commences from 7 December 1972 and ceases on 7 April 1994 except for members with unbroken continuous full time service between 22 May 1986 and 7 April 1994 inclusive.

What is a war-caused/defence caused injury or disease?

    

VEA ?

Section 9 VEA

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A disease or injury is taken to be war caused if the injury suffered or disease contracted resulted from:

  • an occurrence that happened while the veteran was rendering operational service, or
  • any eligible war service rendered, or
  • an accident that occurred while travelling (during eligible service) but not in the course of duty, i.e., a journey to a place for the purpose of performing duty, or away from a place having ceased to perform duty.    
    More ?

    Causal Connection of Injury or Disease with Service

    Chapter 4.4

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Injury or disease aggravated or contributed to by service

    

An existing condition can be considered war caused, if, in the opinion of the Commission, the disease or injury was contributed to, or aggravated by eligible war service. Where a veteran has not rendered operational service, the period of eligible war service, which contributed to, or aggravated the injury or disease, needs to have been for six months or longer. If a veteran has rendered operational service, the six months minimum period of eligible war service does not apply:

  • while the veteran was rendering eligible war service, but was not as a result of that service, or
  • before the commencement of the period, or last period of eligible war service.

It does not apply if the aggravation of an injury or disease resulted from:

  • the veteran's serious default or wilful act, or
  • a serious breach of discipline committed by the veteran.     
    More ?

    Causal Connection of Injury or Disease with Service

    Chapter 4.4

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Accepted conditions

Claims for an injury or disease to be recognised as being war-caused or defence-caused (ie, 'accepted conditions[glossary:':]) are determined in accordance with the Statements of Principles issued by the Repatriation Medical Authority [glossary:(:]RMA).    

More ?

Medical Connections with Service

Chapter 4.5

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Disability pension, for the purposes of service pension and income support supplement, means:

  • a pension paid for incapacity from war caused conditions, or peacetime, peacekeeping or hazardous service caused conditions (other than a war widow's or orphan's pension); or
  • temporary incapacity allowance; or
  • any other payment in respect of incapacity or death resulting from war or war-like operations in which the Crown has been engaged [usually paid by another Commonwealth country].

A payment to make amends for loss or injury to a person or property, or as a recompense for some deprivation (such as compensation to the owner for compulsory acquisition of their property).

Warlike service is defined in Subsection 5C(1) VEA to mean:

  • service in the Defence Force of a kind determined in writing by the Minister for Defence to be warlike service.

See also definition of war like operations.

A member of the Defence Force who has served for a continuous period of effective full-time service of not less than three years between the period 6 December 1972 and 7 April 1994 has rendered defence service.  Refer to section 68 of the VEA for the full definition.

 

 

Australia is defined in the Acts Interpretations Act 1901 and includes the following territories and Islands:

  • Christmas Island
  • Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Subsection 5Q(1) of the VEA provides specifically that the definition of Australia includes the external territories for many VEA purposes including Part III, IIIAB, some parts of Part IIIB, Parts IIID, VIIA, VIIC and sections 52ZO, 58A, and 132.  Norfolk Island] is currently the only external territory of Australia. For the above VEA sections, which cover service pension, [glossary:income support supplement:118], pension bonus, pension loans scheme, Veterans supplement, pension supplement and Commonwealth Seniors Health Card purposes it is considered to be part of Australia. The test of residing in Australia does not by itself satisfy the full definition of Australian Resident, as residency also requires Australian citizenship or the holding of a specified visa.

Papua New Guinea and Nauru have both previously been external territories of Australia.  Lord Howe Island and Macquarie Island, formerly regarded as separate islands, are now part of mainland NSW and Tasmania respectively.

 

 

Warlike service is defined in Subsection 5C(1) VEA to mean:

  • service in the Defence Force of a kind determined in writing by the Minister for Defence to be warlike service.

See also definition of war like operations.

Non-warlike service is defined in Subsection 5C(1) to mean:

  • service in the Defence Force of a kind determined in writing by the Minister for Defence to be non-warlike service.

Non-warlike service includes operations with a limited objective and casualties could occur but are not expected. The only force allowed is in self-defence.

Operational service is generally service performed:

  • outside Australia,
  • during war like operations in which Australian Defence Forces were involved, and
  • in areas where the incurred level of risk is considered above that of normal peacetime conditions.

Refer to section 6 of the VEA through to 6F of the VEA for a full explanation of operational service.

According to subsection 68(1) of the VEA, peacekeeping service means service with a Peacekeeping Force outside Australia and includes:

  • any period after a person's appointment to the Peacekeeping Force during which the person was travelling outside Australia for the purpose of joining the Peacekeeping Force, and
  •       any period (not exceeding 28 days) of authorised travel outside Australia after the person has ceased to serve with the Peacekeeping Force.

 

 

According to subsection 120(7) of the VEA, Hazardous service is service in the Defence Force of a kind determined by the Minister for Defence to be hazardous service.

 

Hazardous service includes activity that exposes individuals or units to risks above the normal peacetime and training duties such as bomb and mine clearance, aid to civil power or protected evacuations.

 

 

A member of the Defence Force who has served for a continuous period of effective full-time service of not less than three years between the period 6 December 1972 and 7 April 1994 has rendered defence service.  Refer to section 68 of the VEA for the full definition.

 

 

Eligible war service is:

  •  operational service, or
  •  continuous full-time service (not being operational service) as a member of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) during World War 1, or
  •  continuous full-time service (not being operational service) as a member of the Australian Defence Force during World War 2, being service that commenced before 1 July 1947, or
  •  continuous full-time service (not being operational service) as a member of the Interim Forces during World War 2, being service on or after 1 July 1947, or
  •  been employed on a ship as an Australian Mariner during World War 2, to 29 October 1945.

Section 7 of the VEA provides a full definition of eligible war service.

 

 

Continuous full-time service in relation to a member of the Defence Force means that a person must have served on a continuous full-time basis, as opposed to a part-time basis.

A period of continuous full-time service is required by a member of the Defence Force if they are to be considered as having eligible war service, operational service or defence service and access to the benefits associated with those forms of service.

According to subsection 5D(1), disease means:

  • any physical or mental ailment, disorder, defect or morbid condition (whether of sudden onset or gradual development), or
  • the recurrence of such an ailment, disorder, defect or morbid condition,

but does not include:

  • the aggravation of such an ailment, disorder, defect or morbid condition, or
  • a temporary departure from:

the normal physiological state, or

the accepted ranges of physiological or biochemical measures,

that results from normal physiological stress (for example, the effect of exercise on blood pressure) or the temporary effect of extraneous agents (for example, alcohol on blood cholesterol levels).

According to subsection 5D(1), an injury means any physical or mental injury (including the recurrence of a physical or mental injury) but does not include:

  • a disease, or
  • the aggravation of a physical or mental injury.

According to Section 179 of the VEA, the Commission is a body corporate under the name of Repatriation Commission.

 

 

An accepted condition means an injury or disease that has been determined under the VEA to be war-caused or defence-caused.

 

 

The RMA is a panel of five medical and scientific experts appointed by the Minister for Veterans' Affairs after consultation with the ex-service and veteran community.

The role of the RMA is:

 

 

The RMA is a panel of five medical and scientific experts appointed by the Minister for Veterans' Affairs after consultation with the ex-service and veteran community.

The role of the RMA is: