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4.3 Orphan's Pension Eligibility
Last amended: 1 July 2008
What is the purpose of orphan's pension?
To compensate the eligible dependent children of a deceased:
Eligibility Criteria in respect of the parent
To qualify a child of a veteran for orphan's pension, the child's parent must have been an eligible person who:
- had death determined as [glossary:war-caused:] or defence-caused; or
- died as a result of an injury or disease which is accepted as war-caused or defence-caused; or
- had been receiving:
- a Special Rate pension,
- an Extreme Disablement Adjustment, or
- a disability pension at the Temporary Special Rate; or
- a disability pension at the Intermediate Rate; or
- a disability pension, at an increased rate due to being an amputee or blinded; or
- was a former Australian prisoner of war; or
- was a veteran who has rendered operational service, whose death was not war-caused, and the child is not being maintained by a parent, adoptive parent or step-parent.
Eligibility criteria in respect of the child
The child must have been wholly or substantially dependent on the eligible person, immediately prior to the person's death. If the child is between 16 and 25 years old he or she must be:
- receiving full-time education,
- not receiving benefits under the Veterans' Children Education Scheme (VCES), Youth Allowance or other education assistance from the Australian Government, and
- not receiving a disability support pension from Centrelink or another Australian Government pension or allowance.
Other benefits associated with orphan's pension
Children of veterans whose death has been accepted as war-caused may be entitled to Veterans' Children Education Scheme (VCES) benefits.
Orphan's Pension Eligibility
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 Commonwealth veteran, or
- an allied veteran, or
- an allied mariner.
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.
Section 10 of the VEA, defines a child of a veteran or a deceased veteran as:
- a child of whom the veteran is the father or mother, or a child adopted by the veteran or the veteran and his/her partner, or
- any other child who is wholly or substantially dependent on the veteran, or
- any other child who was immediately before the death of the veteran, wholly or substantially dependent on the veteran, and
- if the veteran parent is a deceased female, is not being maintained by a parent, adoptive parent or step parent of the child.
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.
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 10(3) of the VEA, where a veteran is liable to maintain a child under a law of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory, the child shall be deemed to be wholly or substantially dependant on that veteran.
Centrelink is a Government service delivery agency responsible for delivering a range of Commonwealth Government services (including social security pensions and allowances) to the Australian community through a network of more than 400 Centrelink offices.