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Continuous Period

10 years Continuous Period



A Commonwealth veteran, Allied veteran or Allied mariner applying for service pension must, in addition to being an Australian resident and residing in Australia, have at any time, been an Australian resident for a continuous period of at least 10 years [Sections 36(2) VEA and 37(3) VEA refer].     

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An exception to the 10 year residency requirement exists for Commonwealth veterans, Allied veterans and Allied mariners if, for service pension purposes they are considered to be:

  • the person became permanently incapacitated for work while an Australian resident;
  • the person's permanent incapacity for work was not brought about with a view to obtaining a service pension or a social security pension; and
  • the person does not have an enforceable claim against any person, under any law or contract, for adequate compensation in respect of the permanent incapacity; or

A concession to the ten year requirement can be applied where a person has multiple periods of residency, each of which is less than ten years.

A service pension is an income support payment broadly equivalent to the social security age and disability support pensions. It may be paid once a veteran or partner has reached the nominated age or is incapacitated for work.

An Australian resident is a person who:

  • resides in Australia; and
  • is one of the following:
  • an Australian citizen;
  • the holder of a permanent visa;
  • the holder of a special category visa who is likely to remain permanently in Australia;
  • the holder of a special purpose visa who is likely to remain permanently in Australia.

Australia is defined in the Acts Interpretations Act 1901 and includes the following territories and Islands:

  • Christmas Island
  • Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Subsection 5Q(1) of the VEA provides specifically that the definition of Australia includes the external territories for many VEA purposes including Part III, IIIAB, some parts of Part IIIB, Parts IIID, VIIA, VIIC and sections 52ZO, 58A, and 132.  Norfolk Island is currently the only external territory of Australia. For the above VEA sections, which cover service pension, [glossary:income support supplement:118], pension bonus, pension loans scheme, Veterans supplement, pension supplement and Commonwealth Seniors Health Card purposes it is considered to be part of Australia. The test of residing in Australia does not by itself satisfy the full definition of Australian Resident, as residency also requires Australian citizenship or the holding of a specified visa.

Papua New Guinea and Nauru have both previously been external territories of Australia.  Lord Howe Island and Macquarie Island, formerly regarded as separate islands, are now part of mainland NSW and Tasmania respectively.



A former refugee means a person who was a refugee but does not include a person who ceased to be a refugee because his or her entry permit or visa was cancelled.