Glossary | Service Eligibility Assistant, Additional Information, Understanding Service Eligibility Instruments

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Glossary

This page contains a short overview of each of the following service types:

Qualifying Service is the type of service required to access income support payments under the VEA.  Qualifying service during World Wars I and II was generally service where a person engaged in operations against the enemy and, while doing so, incurred danger from hostile forces of the enemy. Post-World War II qualifying service is broadly equivalent service, but the test is not applied individually (except in the case of Allied and Commonwealth Veterans) and instead service in certain areas during certain periods, or on certain operations (such as Submarine Special Operations), is formally determined to meet similar criteria. This takes the form of allotment for duty in operational areas included in Schedule 2 of the VEA, and from 1997, declarations of warlike service. All warlike service (before or after the introduction of the MRCA on 1 July 2004) is qualifying service. Members of the Australian Defence Force, certain civilians, and certain veterans who served with the forces of Allied and Commonwealth countries can have qualifying service. Requirements for qualifying service are set out in section 7A of the VEA.

Operational Service is required for access to compensation for service-related injury, disease or death under Part II of the VEA, using the more generous ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ standard of proof. It also provides access to Non Liability Health Care (NLHC) treatment for cancer and tuberculosis over and above the mental health treatment standardly provided through NHLC provisions. Operational service includes warlike and non-warlike service and other service that is broadly equivalent in nature to warlike and non-warlike service, and is set out in sections 6 to 6F and Schedule 2 of the VEA. While some operational service is also considered qualifying service, there are also a number of instances of operational service which do not meet the requirements for qualifying service.  With only very few exceptions, only members of the Australian Defence Force and certain civilians can have operational service.

Hazardous service is service specifically determined to be hazardous by the Minister for Defence via an instrument under section 120(7) of the VEA.  It is one of the types of service that provides access to compensation for service-related injury, disease or death under Part IV of the VEA, using the more generous ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ standard of proof.  Determinations of hazardous service have historically usually been made in relation to service during peacetime that involves activities exposing individuals or units to a degree of hazard above and beyond that of normal peacetime duty.  This can include things such as mine avoidance and clearance, weapons inspections and destruction, Defence Force aid to civil power, Service protected or assisted evacuations and other operations requiring the application of minimum force to effect the protection of personnel or property, or other like activities. For more detailed information see hazardous service.

Peacekeeping service is service with a Peacekeeping Force that has been described in Schedule 3 of the VEA (up to 1994) or designated by the Minister by formal declaration under section 68(1) of the VEA. A force is generally designated as a Peacekeeping Force if it is raised for service outside Australia in a peacekeeping capacity or in a monitoring or observation capacity in a situation that may lead to an outbreak of hostilities. To be considered a member of a designated Peacekeeping Force, an individual must have been appointed or allocated to the Force.  Since the introduction of warlike and non-warlike service in 1997, operations which by their nature could be described as peacekeeping have instead typically been classified as non-warlike service.  This has continued to apply since the MRCA commenced in 2004. Peacekeeping service is one of the types of service that provides access to compensation for service-related injury, disease or death under Part IV of the VEA, using the more generous ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ standard of proof. For further information see Peacekeeping Force.

Non-warlike service is a service type that applies to both the VEA and MRCA.  It is service determined by the Minister for Defence to be non-warlike, in the form of a legislative instrument, under section 5C(1) of the VEA and/or section 6(1)(b) of the MRCA. Under the VEA it is also considered operational service.  Non-warlike service generally involves military activities short of warlike operations where there is a risk associated with the assigned tasks and where the application of force is limited to self-defence.  Non-warlike service provides access to compensation for injury, disease or death under Part II of the VEA or Chapter 4 of the MRCA, using the more generous ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ standard of proof. For more information see non-warlike service.

Warlike service is a service type that applies to both the VEA and MRCA.  It is service determined by the Minister for Defence to be warlike, in the form of a legislative instrument, under section 5C(1) of the VEA and/or section 6(1)(a) of the MRCA. It generally involves military activities where the application of force is authorised to pursue specific military objectives and there is an expectation of casualties. Warlike service provides access to compensation for injury, disease or death under Part II of the VEA for service before 1 July 2004 or under Chapter 4 of the MRCA for service from 1 July 2004, using the more generous ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ standard of proof. It also provides access to income support under Part III of the VEA, for service both before and after 1 July 2004.  Warlike service is considered to be both operational service and qualifying service under the VEA. For more information see warlike service.

Defence service under section 68(1) of the VEA includes certain effective full-time service of three years or more during peacetime (mostly limited to service before 7 April 1994). Hazardous Service and British Nuclear Test Defence Service are also considered defence service.  Defence service that is not hazardous service or British Nuclear Test Defence Service provides access to compensation for service-related injury, disease or death under Part IV of the VEA, using the civil standard of proof, also known as ‘balance of probabilities’. Defence service is also a term used by the MRCA, with a separate and unrelated meaning.  As described under section 6(1)(d) of the MRCA, defence service refers to all types of service covered by the MRCA.

British Nuclear Test defence service is a type of service under the VEA specifically limited to service during nuclear testing undertaken by the British in Australia and on islands off the mainland of Australia in the 1950s and early 1960s.  British Nuclear Test Defence Service is described in section 69B of the VEA. It is one of the types of service that provides access to compensation for service-related injury, disease or death under Part IV of the VEA, using the more generous ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ standard of proof.  It has no equivalent under the MRCA, as it is specific to a point in time not covered by that Act.

Peacetime service is a type of service set out under section 6(1)(c) of the MRCA.  It encompasses all service recognised under the MRCA that is not considered to be warlike or non-warlike, and provides access to compensation for service-related injury, disease or death under the MRCA using the civil standard of proof, also known as ‘balance of probabilities’.

Eligible war service is described in section 7 of the VEA. It generally includes operational service as well as certain non-operational service within Australia and as an Australian Mariner during World Wars I and II.  While operational service is considered to be eligible war service, it is possible for service to be eligible war service but not operational service.  There is no equivalent MRCA service type as it is tailored to the unique conditions of the two World Wars, which are not covered by the MRCA. Eligible war service that is not also operational service provides access to compensation for service-related injury, disease or death under Part II of the VEA using the civil standard of proof, also known as ‘balance of probabilities’.