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Relevance of Domicile


Last amended: 14 July 2022





For service pension purposes, Australian domicile at the time of enlistment, is established in order for the Commonwealth veteran, Allied veteran or Allied mariner to gain entitlement to medical treatment at departmental expense. In the case of Disability Compensation Payment[glossary:,:] domicile establishes entitlement to claim Disability Compensation Payment and related medical benefits.     

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The domicile test applies in respect of operational service performed during the world wars and also to post-World War 2 operational service in operational areas. The operational areas for post-World War 2 service are included in Schedule 2 of the VEA.


A person's domicile is that country in which he or she has, or is considered by law to have, his or her permanent home. While a person may have no home, or a home in more than one country, the law requires him or her to have only one domicile. Temporary moves from a country do not change a person's domicile.

Who can establish Domicile

Before 1 July 1982, a person could not generally establish his or her own place of domicile before the age of 21 years and therefore took the domicile of his or her father. In addition a female, on her marriage, took the domicile of her husband.

Since 1 July 1982, a person may establish an independent domicile at 18 years of age and a married female has the capacity to acquire her own domicile.     

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Example:   Someone who does have Domicile

A young man born in 1916 of parents domiciled in Australia, left Australia in 1938 at the age of 22 years to study in England. When war was declared, he temporarily suspended his studies and served with the British Army for the duration of the war. After the war, he completed his university course and upon graduation returned to Australia.

As he was 22 years of age when he left Australia, he was no longer covered by the domicile of his father. However, as the purpose of the trip was to undergo a course and as he did not intend to make England his permanent home, he retained his Australian domicile prior to the service.

Example:   Someone who does not have Domicile

A young man was born in Australia while his father was working in Australia. Whilst the young man was still a child, his father returned to England taking the family with him. In 1939 at the age of 19 years the young man enlisted in the British Army and served with the army for the duration of the war.

As the young man was still a minor at the time he enlisted, his domicile must be taken from that of his father, being England. He therefore did not have an Australian domicile.



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.

Disability compensation payment (known before 2022 as disability pension), for the purposes of service pension, income support supplement and veteran payment, means:

  • a pension paid by way of compenstion for incapacity from war caused conditions, or peacetime, peacekeeping or hazardous service caused conditions (other than a war widow's or orphan's pension); or
  • temporary incapacity allowance; or
  • any other payment in respect of incapacity or death resulting from war or war-like operations in which the Crown has been engaged (usually paid by another Commonwealth country).

Please note that the Disability Compensation Payment is legally a pension by way of compensation under the VEA so that concessional benefits under state, territory and local government legislation to pensioners/pensions under the VEA are not denied.