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4.2 War Widow's/Widower's Pension Eligibility

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Last amended: 1 July 2008

    

VEA ?

Section 13 VEA Pension eligibility (veterans and their dependants)

Section 70 VEA Pension eligibility (members of the Defence Force or Peacekeeping Force and their dependants)

VEA ? (go back)

What is the purpose of war widow's/widower's pension?

War widow's/widower's pension is compensation for the widow or widower (including a partner) of:

whose eligible service has caused or contributed to their death.

Eligibility to apply for a war widow's/widower's pension

An application for a war widow's/widower's pension may be made by a widow or a widower of a person who has eligible service covered by the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986.

Eligibility criteria

A war widow's/widower's pension may be granted if the person who had eligible service covered by the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986:

  • has had death determined as [glossary:war-caused:] or defence-caused, or
  • died as a result of an injury or disease which is accepted as [glossary:war-caused:] or defence-caused, or
  • had been receiving:
  • had been a former Australian prisoner of war.
Composite assessment war widow

A composite assessment war widow is a war widow who receives both a war widow's pension from DVA and an overseas pension which is similar in nature to the war widow's pension paid by DVA. In this circumstance, the war widow's pension paid by DVA is reduced on a dollar for dollar basis by the overseas pension.

Composite assessment war widows may include an EATS war widow, being the widow of an Empire Air Training Scheme airman. These war widows are paid a war widow's pension by Great Britain. Where an EATS war widow is also eligible for a war widow's pension from DVA, the DVA payment is similarly reduced dollar for dollar by the overseas pension.

Pension granted automatically in some cases

    

An application form is not required in certain cases in which a war widow's pension is granted automatically.    

What happens to the pension on re-marriage?

    

Since 29 May 1984 a war widow/widower is entitled to continue to receive war widow's/widower's pension regardless of remarriage. Prior to 29 May 1984 a war widow's pension had to be relinquished on remarriage and a remarriage gratuity was paid.

From 1 January 2002 war widows whose pensions were cancelled only because the widow re-married or married on or before 28 May 1984 are entitled to have their war widow's pension reinstated.

Other benefits associated with war widow's/widower's pension

Recipients of war widow's/widower's pension receive a [glossary:Repatriation Health Card for all conditions:] (Gold Card), entitling them to a range of health care for all conditions.     

A funeral benefit may be payable to assist with the cost of the funeral for a veteran whose death has been accepted as war-caused.     

An Income Support Supplement (ISS) may be payable to war widows/widowers who satisfy the income and assets tests and residency requirements.     

More ?

Income Support Supplement Eligibility

Chapter 3.2

More ? (go back)

See Also


A widow is a woman who was:

  • the partner of a person immediately before the person died; or
  • legally married to a man and living with him immediately before he died; or
  • legally married to a man and living separetely and apart from him on a permanent basis, immediately before he died.

A widower is a man who was:

  • the partner of a person immediately before the person died: or
  • legally married to a woman and living with her immediately before she died; or
  • legally married to a woman and living separetely and apart from her on a permanent basis immediately before she died.

For the purposes of Part VI of the VEA, a reference to a veteran is taken to be a reference to:

  • a veteran as defined in subsection 5C(1) of the VEA;
  • a member of the Forces as defined in subsection 68(1) of the VEA; or
  • a member of a Peacekeeping Force as defined in subsection 68(1) of the VEA.

For the purposes of Part VII of the VEA, according to subsection 5C(1), veteran means a person (including a deceased person):

  • who is taken to have rendered eligible war service, or
  • in respect of whom a pension is, or pensions are, payable under subsection 13(6) and
  • in Part III and Part VIIC of the VEA includes a person who is:

 

 

A person who was during World War 2:

  • a master, officer or seaman employed under agreement, or an apprentice employed under indenture, in sea-going service on a ship registered in Australia that was engaged in trading between a port in a State or Territory and any other port, or
  • a master, officer or seaman employed under agreement, or an apprentice employed under indenture, in sea-going service on a ship registered outside Australia who was, or whose dependants were, resident in Australia for at least 12 months immediately before he or she entered into the agreement or indenture.

Refer to section 5C of VEA for a full definition.

 

 

A member of the forces is a person who served in the defence force for a continuous period that commenced after 7 December 1972 and has the type of service required in sections 69, 69A and 69B of the VEA.

“Member of a Peacekeeping Force means a person who is serving, or has served, with a Peacekeeping Force outside Australia as an Australian member, or as a member of the Australian contingent, of that Peacekeeping Force."

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.

 

 

The criteria for “defence-caused death" are contained in section 70 of the VEA

These include provisions that:

  •       the death of a member of a peacekeeping force will be defence caused if it resulted from an occurrence that happened while the member was rendering peacekeeping service,
  •       the death of a member of the Forces or member of a Peacekeeping Force or person who has rendered hazardous service will be defence-caused if:

(a)the death arose out of, or was attributable to, any defence service, or peacekeeping service or hazardous service of the member,

(b)the death resulted from an accident that occurred while the member was travelling, during any defence service, peacekeeping service or hazardous service of the member but otherwise than in the course of duty, on a journey to a place for the purpose of performing duty or away from a place upon having ceased to perform duty; (note exceptions in subsection 70(8), or

(c)the death is to be deemed by subsection 70(6) to be defence-caused, or

(d)the injury or disease from which the member died,

(i)              was suffered or contracted during any defence service or peacekeeping service or hazardous service of the member, but did not arise out of that service, or

(ii)was suffered or contracted before the period, of defence service or peacekeeping service or hazardous service of the member and, in the opinion of the Commission, was contributed to in a material degree or was aggravated.

(e)the injury or disease from which the member died has been determined to have been a defence-caused injury or defence-caused disease.

 

 

The criteria for “defence-caused death" are contained in section 70 of the VEA

These include provisions that:

  •       the death of a member of a peacekeeping force will be defence caused if it resulted from an occurrence that happened while the member was rendering peacekeeping service,
  •       the death of a member of the Forces or member of a Peacekeeping Force or person who has rendered hazardous service will be defence-caused if:

(a)the death arose out of, or was attributable to, any defence service, or peacekeeping service or hazardous service of the member,

(b)the death resulted from an accident that occurred while the member was travelling, during any defence service, peacekeeping service or hazardous service of the member but otherwise than in the course of duty, on a journey to a place for the purpose of performing duty or away from a place upon having ceased to perform duty; (note exceptions in subsection 70(8), or

(c)the death is to be deemed by subsection 70(6) to be defence-caused, or

(d)the injury or disease from which the member died,

(i)              was suffered or contracted during any defence service or peacekeeping service or hazardous service of the member, but did not arise out of that service, or

(ii)was suffered or contracted before the period, of defence service or peacekeeping service or hazardous service of the member and, in the opinion of the Commission, was contributed to in a material degree or was aggravated.

(e)the injury or disease from which the member died has been determined to have been a defence-caused injury or defence-caused disease.

 

 

The Extreme Disablement Adjustment is the equivalent of 150% of the General Rate. It is payable to very severely incapacitated veterans of 65 years & over who do not qualify for the Special or Intermediate Rates.

 

 

A double amputee is a person in receipt of a disability pension, increased by one of items 1-8 of section 27 of the VEA.

 

 

A person may be regarded as permanently blinded in both eyes where:

  • there is a total loss of sight; or
  • visual acuity after correction with suitable lenses is less than 6/60 in both eyes on the Snellen Scale; or
  • where, in the written opinion of an ophthalmologist, the visual field deficits and/or combination of deficits results in a visual impairment which is the equivalent of a corrected visual acuity measure of less than 6/60 in both eyes.

The Commission Guideline CM5829: Determining 'permanently blind', 'no useful sight' and 'blinded in both eyes' may be instructive in making a blinded/blindness determination.

 

The Repatriation Health Card - For All Conditions is gold in colour and frequently referred to simply as the “Gold Card”.  The card entitles its holder to obtain health care and related services for all the person's identified health care needs, whether they are war-caused or not.