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7.1.1 Overview of Treatment at Departmental Expense

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Last amended: 17 May 2004

Treatment at departmental expense

The Repatriation Commission may provide, arrange or accept financial responsibility for the cost of treatment of eligible veterans and their dependants at departmental expense. The eligible person may or may not be in receipt of a pension or have suffered a war-caused injury.

Repatriation health cards

Repatriation health cards are used throughout Australia to obtain appropriate treatment. Repatriation health cards are issued where a:

  • determining authority decides that an injury or disease is war-caused, or
  • pension (including a service pension) is granted at, or increased to, a certain level qualifying the recipient for treatment benefits, or
  • delegate approves treatment benefits that do not involve the payment of pension.

There are two types of health cards:

Note: Gold Card holders can obtain the range of pharmaceutical items available under the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) for all their medical conditions. White Card holders can obtain appropriate pharmaceuticals under the RPBS for their accepted disabilities.

Treatment benefits for income support pensioners

Income support pensioners are eligible for a Gold Card, subject to the treatment income/assets reduction limit (IARL). Blind pensioners retain Gold Card eligibility regardless of their income or assets.    

Who can obtain a Gold Card

A Gold card is issued to veterans of Australia's defence force who meet the eligibility criteria. Some veterans of Commonwealth or allied forces with qualifying service and some dependants of veterans are also eligible for a Gold Card.    

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Repatriation Health Card for All Conditions (Gold Card)

7.1.2/Repatriation Health Card for All Conditions (Gold Card)

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Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Card (Orange Card)

From 1 January 2001, an RPBC (Orange Card) entitles eligible British Commonwealth and allied veterans and mariners to pharmaceutical benefits for most conditions. The card is for pharmaceuticals in Australia only and cannot be used overseas or for any medical or other health care treatment. The range of pharmaceutical items available under the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) is much wider than the range available under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). The card is for pharmaceuticals only and does not entitle the holder to receive any treatment benefits.    


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

 

 

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 dependant of a veteran (including a deceased veteran) is:

  • the partner;
  • non-illness separated spouse;
  • widow(er) (other than a widow(er) who marries or remarries); or
  • a child of the veteran.

The income/assets reduction limit is the maximum amount by which a veteran's rate of service pension can be reduced and qualify for the Gold Card under subsection 85(5). When a veteran receives a reduced rate of service pension, the veteran may be eligible for treatment until such time as their 'reduction-for-ordinary-income', or their 'reduction-for-assets', exceeds the IARL.

The IARL is indexed twice a year, on 20 March and 20 September.

The income/assets reduction limit is the maximum amount by which a veteran's rate of service pension can be reduced and qualify for the Gold Card under subsection 85(5). When a veteran receives a reduced rate of service pension, the veteran may be eligible for treatment until such time as their 'reduction-for-ordinary-income', or their 'reduction-for-assets', exceeds the IARL.

The IARL is indexed twice a year, on 20 March and 20 September.