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Electing Not to Receive DFISA (ceased 2022)

Last amended 
25 February 2022

DFISA was removed 1 January 2022.  This is for historical reference only.    



Election not to receive DFISA

As DFISA was an automatic entitlement, there was no process for claiming payment. However, a person may have elected not to receive DFISA. The election must have been made in writing and could have been withdrawn at any time.

Impact of election

The date of effect for the election was the day after the written request was received by DVA. After that date, no DFISA payments accrued. The election continued until it was formally withdrawn. Electing not to receive DFISA did not impact the person's income support payment in any way.

Election where no amount of income support payment was payable

Where a person was receiving social security income support at a nil rate, and subsection 23(1D) of the SSA applied, their status as a social security recipient continued even if they elected not to receive DFISA. A person in this situation continued to be a social security recipient for the purposes of obligations, concessions, pension bonus scheme, etc. for as long as their qualification for the social security payment continued.    

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Where a person's rate of ABSTUDY or DAFF income support allowance was reduced to nil and they elected not to receive DFISA-like payment the person lost entitlement to the benefits and concessions associated with the income support payment and were no longer subject to obligations related to the primary payment.

Withdrawing election

If a person decided to withdraw the election not to receive DFISA, the withdrawal had to be in writing. DFISA became payable only from the day after their withdrawal was lodged with DVA.

Retrospective increase in adjusted disability pension

A retrospective increase in adjusted DP resulted in an overpayment of income support payments for the person and the person's partner. Where a person had elected not to receive DFISA, and had not withdrawn this request prior to the date of effect of the adjusted DP increase, arrears of DFISA were not payable for any time prior to the date of effect of the election withdrawal.



The information below is for historical reference only.

Defence Force Income Support Allowance (DFISA) ceased on 1 January 2022 because adjusted disability income became exempt income under the Social Security Act 1991.  It was an income support payment paid by DVA to people whose income support payment under Social Security Law was reduced, or not payable, because of the impact of adjusted disability pension. DFISA was the difference between the person's existing entitlement, and what the entitlement would have been had adjusted DP been exempt, but was assessed in the calculation of rent assistance.



The date of effect, or effective date, is the day on which a certain incident or 'event' begins affecting a pension assessment.

The Department of Veterans' Affairs.

Social Security Act, 1991.

Aboriginal study assistance scheme means:

  • the ABSTUDY scheme, or
  • the Aboriginal Overseas Study Assistance Scheme.

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

From 1 January 2022, DFISA-like payments ceased.  The information below is for historical reference only.

The Defence Force Income Support Allowance-like (DFISA-like) payment was an ISP under regulations made under the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986. DFISA-like payment may have been payable to a person whose:

  • income support payment was administered by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), or
  • living allowance made under ABSTUDY

was reduced or not payable because of adjusted disability pension ADP.



On 1 January 2022, both DFISA and the Disability Income Rent Test were removed.   Thus the term Adjusted Disability Pension was made redundant.  The following is for historical reference only.

Section 118NA of the VEA defined adjusted disability pension as:

  • disability pension (known as disability compensation payment from 2022) paid under Parts II or IV of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA); and
  • permanent impairment payments and special rate disability pension paid under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004.

Adjusted disability pension did not include war widow's/widower's pension, or payments made by other governments to compensate for war or service related injuries.



A person's 'partner' is someone who is a member of a couple with that person.