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Document Eligibility for children of Vietnam veterans assessed as ‘vulnerable’

A student who is the child of an Australian Vietnam veteran (or who is or has been dependent on an Australian Vietnam veteran) but who does not qualify under any of the above criteria may be eligible in certain circumstances if they are considered to be ‘vulnerable’. The student will need to be assessed by an appropriately qualified professional and will need to be approved as ‘an eligible child’ by the Repatriation Commission.

Children of Vietnam veterans who can be identified by a suitably qualified professional as being at risk or vulnerable may be eligible to receive benefits under the VCES. In 2000, eligibility was extended to this group of students as a result of a study into the death by suicide of children of Vietnam veterans. The report analysed findings from the Vietnam Veterans' Health study which identified a higher incidence of suicide among Vietnam veterans' children than in the general community. The report showed that many children of Vietnam veterans were entering the 25-29 year age group which falls within the age group identified by the National Suicide Prevent Strategy as a high risk group within the general community.

The Government's response to the Health Study included extending access to the VCES to include Vietnam veterans' children who are identified as being vulnerable to risk factors, as outlined in Departmental Instruction C32/2000 - Veterans’ Children Education Scheme - New eligibility under VEA sub-section 116(1)(e). Please note that children of allied veterans who fought in Vietnam are not eligible for the VCES, as an allied veteran does not meet part 6C of the definition of a "veteran with Vietnam service" as required by DI C32/2000.