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12.2.1 Participation in the VVRS by veterans in receipt of certain pensions
This topic relates to section 2.1 of the VVRS Instrument.
Certain veterans who are in receipt of:
- disability pension at the special rate or the intermediate rate; or
- the invalidity service pension;
may participate in a vocational rehabilitation program under this Scheme.
Chapter 2 in the VVRS Instrument provides the rules for participation in the VVRS and the criteria by which applications and proposed vocational rehabilitation programs are to be assessed.
Safety Net Provisions
If a veteran currently receives a DVA pension and finds work through the VVRS, they will not receive less income than they would have received without that employment. The safety net only applies to veterans being paid the special rate (T&PI), intermediate rate and invalidity service pension. This protection is provided by legislation in section 115D and section 115G of the VEA.
Special and intermediate rate pensions are paid because of an inability to work and will be affected if a veteran finds paid employment through participation in the VVRS. A veteran in receipt of an intermediate rate pension will be gradually reduced over a seven-year period to one hundred per cent of the general rate. A veteran in receipt of a special rate pension who is working between 8-20 hours per week will be gradually reduced over a seven year period to one hundred percent of the intermediate rate. However, the special or intermediate rate pension status and all ancillary benefits are retained.
The invalidity service pension is subject to income and asset tests. However, for participants on the VVRS, fifty per cent of gross employment earnings is held in the income test for the first two years. Over the following five years there is a gradual increase until one hundred per cent of employment earnings is held in the income test.
Veterans withdrawing from the workforce for any reason, including normal retirement, will return to the rate of disability pension applicable prior to participation in the VVRS. Special or intermediate rate pensions will be restored.
Eligibility for the invalidity service pension will be retained for seven years while participating in the VVRS. After that time, any re-application for invalidity service pension must be assessed according to the eligibility criteria.