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6.10.2 Eligibility Criteria for Veterans Supplement

Last amended 
1 January 2022

What is Veterans Supplement?

Veterans supplement consists of two elements:

  • a payment made under section 118A of the VEA, previously the Pharmaceutical Allowance; and
  • a payment made under section 118B of the VEA, previously the Telephone Allowance.
Who is eligible for Veterans Supplement under section 118A? 

To be eligible to receive veterans supplement under section 118A a person must be:

  • in receipt of disability compensation payment from DVA, or
  • in receipt of an orphan's pension, or
  • eligible for an orphan's pension but not receiving that pension because they are receiving a living allowance under certain study and education assistance schemes, or
  • another Repatriation Health Card (Gold Card or White Card) holder, or
  • a Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Card (Orange Card) holder

and be:

  • in Australia, or
  • within the first 26 weeks of a temporary absence from Australia  


and not be:

  • in receipt of an income support payment from DVA or Centrelink.

Clients that are automatically provided a White Card for Non-Liability Health Care mental health treatment upon transition from the ADF will only become eligible for Veterans Supplement once they use the White Card for treatment.

Who is eligible for Veterans Supplement under section 118B?

To be eligible to receive veterans supplement under section 118B a person must be:

  • eligible for EDA; or
  • eligible for TPI; or
  • eligible for the disability compensation payment at the rate of which is increased under subsection 27(2);
  • eligible for a war widow/widower pension and be under qualifying age;

and be

  • in Australia; or
  • within the first 26 weeks of a temporary absence from Australia and not be in receipt of:
    • an income support payment frm DVA or Centrelink; or
    • energy supplement under Part VIIAD of the VEA or Part 2.25B of the SSA; or
    • MRCA supplement.
Dual eligibility for Veterans Supplement

A person may have dual eligibility for both elements of veterans supplement because they meet the eligibility criteria under both sections 118A and 118B. In such cases, the person is paid at twice the fortnight rate (or the high rate) of veterans supplement.  Where a person is eligible under one but not both of these sections, their fortnightly rate of veterans supplement is referred to as the low rate.    



Interaction with other payments

A DVA or Centrelink income support recipient is not eligible for VS as an equivalent payment is made with their income support pension or benefit.  Some Gold Card holders may also receive veterans supplement at the low rate.      

The veterans supplement was introduced on 20 September 2009 as part of the Government's Secure and Sustainable Pension Reform package. It is a fortnightly payment that replaces pharmaceutical allowance and/or telephone allowance for compensation recipients who are not in receipt of an income support supplement. There are two rates, the veterans supplement low rate and the veterans supplement high rate. The low rate replaces one of the allowances and the high rate replaces both. The low rate is indexed every January to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The high rate is always twice the amount of the low rate.



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.


The Department of Veterans' Affairs.

A form of pension that is paid to a child of a veteran where the veteran has died as a result of war service or defence service.  The child may be the natural or adopted child of the veteran or any other child who was wholly or substantially dependent on the veteran.



The Repatriation Health Card - For All Conditions is gold in colour and frequently referred to simply as the “Gold Card”.  The card entitles its holder to obtain health care and related services for all the person's identified health care needs, whether they are war-caused or not.

The Repatriation Health Card - For Specific Conditions (White Card) entitles its holder to treatment of 'accepted' disabilities, ie injuries, illnesses or diseases accepted by the Repatriation Commission as caused by war or other forms of eligible service. 

Depending on eligibility, Australian veterans may also be entitled to treatment of:

  • pulmonary tuberculosis (whether war caused or not) ;
  • malignant cancer (neoplasia) (whether war caused or not); and
  • any mental health condition (whether war caused or not);

where DVA has accepted a claim for treatment for those conditions.

Once the application for treatment only is approved by the Repatriation Commission a White Card is issued indicating that the Commission has accepted responsibility for the treatment of these conditions. 

Treatment for any unidentified condition that arises within 15 years of an eligible period of service is available to all veterans, members of the Defence Force, or peacekeepers with an eligible period of service.  The treatment is available once the application is approved by the Repatriation Commission and a White Card is issued. Treatment coverage continues until the condition is diagnosed and a decision is then made as to whether the now identified condition is service related or not.  Treatment is continued for those identified conditions accepted as service related.  Treatment ceases for those rejected as service related.



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 form of pension that is paid to the partner of a veteran where the veteran has died as a result of war service or eligible Defence ServiceWar widow's/widower's pension is also paid to the partner of a veteran whose death was not war caused if the veteran was a ex-prisoner of war or if the veteran was receiving Extreme Disablement Adjustment (EDA) Rate, Special Rate (T&PI) or a rate increased in respect of certain war-caused injury or disease.