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13.2.1 Eligibility under the VCES

Last amended 
1 January 2022

13.2.1 Eligibility under the VCES

See paragraph 2.1 of the VCES Instrument

A person is eligible for VCES benefits if they are an eligible child as defined in section 116 of the VEA. An eligible child is someone who is:

under 16; or

between 16 and 25, undertaking full-time education


the child of a veteran or a present or past member of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) who is receiving (or was receiving prior to their death) a disability compensation payment:

at the special rate (formerly known as T&PI)

at the extreme disablement adjustment (EDA) rate

at an increased rate because of multiple amputations, or multiple amputations and blindness in one eye; or

the child of a veteran or a present or past member of the ADF whose death was war-caused or defence-caused; or

the child of a veteran who was an Australian prisoner of war and is now deceased.

Also eligible are students whose veteran parent had operational service but whose death was not war–caused or defence-caused and who have also lost their other parent. This loss may be through death or where the surviving parent is not maintaining them.

Under section 116(4) of the VEA, a child who is 25 years or older is still an ‘eligible child’ where:

  1. before an eligible child attains the age of 25 years, approval is given under the VCES for the child to undertake a course of education or training;
  2. the child attains the age of 25 years before completing that course; and
  3. the child continues, after attaining the age of 25 years, to undertake that course for the purpose of completing it.

This provision should be limited to courses beginning in the next immediate semester (eg. A 24 year old student cannot inform that they intend to study in one year’s time) and does not apply if the student changes courses after commencing. The student must be enrolled in the course prior to turning 25, even if the course doesn’t commence until after the student turns 25.

Eligibility exemptions under VCES

A child of a veteran in receipt of Temporarily Totally Incapacitated (TTI) Pension is not eligible to be classified as special rate pensioners when considering eligibility under the VCES. Eligibility for the VCES is limited to the children of deceased veterans or veterans receiving pensions under section 24, subsection 22(4) or items 1,2,3,4,5, or 6 of the table at subsection 27(1) of the VEA. TTI is provided for under section 25.