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Automatic Grant of ISS During the Bereavement Period


Last amended 17 June 2009

Bereavement payment where survivor receives automatic grant of ISS

The information provided in this section outlines the bereavement guidelines and effective dates relating to automatic grants of income support supplement (i.e. where a veteran dies and the surviving partner is eligible for automatic grant of income support supplement and war widow's/widower's pension).    

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Effective date for income support supplement grant

The date of effect for the grant of income support supplement depends on whether section 53K VEA or section 53L VEA applies to the survivor after the partner's death.

If the survivor's single rate of pension after the death of their partner is...

the applicable VEA provision is...

and the effective date for ISS grant is...

greater than the couple's combined pre-death rate of pension

section 53K VEA

day 2 of the bereavement period (same day as grant of war widow's/widower's pension).

less than the couple's combined pre-death rate of pension

section 53L VEA

the day after the end of the 98 day bereavement period.

Note: Section 53L of the VEA will apply to the great majority of cases.

Tax Status of Payments made after bereavement

Under the date of effect guidelines, if the survivor was receiving partner service pension (PSP) prior to the death of the veteran, the tax exempt bereavement payment and the taxable ongoing payment made to the survivor during the 98 day bereavement period are shown in the table below. These examples represent the daily rates applicable.

Payment Type

Section 53L VEA

Section 53K VEA

Bereavement payment

Veteran's partnered rate of pension
x 98 days

Veteran's partnered rate of pension
x 98 days

Taxable payment

Survivor's partnered rate of pension
x 98 days

(Survivor's re-assessed single rate of pension
minus veteran's partnered rate of pension)
x 1 day,


(ISS minus veteran's partnered rate of pension)
x 97 days.

Payment of war widow/widower pension



In all cases where the income support supplement and war widow's/widower's pension (WWP) grant are automatic, WWP is granted from the day after the death of the veteran.    

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Legislative references

The grant of war widow's/widower's pension is not effective until the day after death.    


The income support supplement (ISS) eligibility depends on being a war widow/widower, therefore ISS is not payable until the day after death.    


The bereavement period starts on the day of death.    


Survivor receives a non-automatic grant of ISS

The details about non-automatic ISS grant and date of effect are provided in another topic.    

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Automatic grant of ISS for certain persons exempt from requirement to lodge a claim

2.1.2/Service Pension and Income Support Supplement Claims

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Certain dependants to be automatically paid pension

Section 13A(2) VEA

VEA ? (go back)

Dates of effect for new claims and increases in payments

Section 11.2.2

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ISS is an income support payment that may be paid to eligible war widows and widowers under the VEA and persons receiving wholly dependent partners' compensation under the MRCA, and who satisfy the means tests. It is an indexed rate, increased twice-yearly in March and September in line with changes to the cost of living and/or average wages. Income Support Supplement (ISS) legislation commenced on 20 March 1995. It is a payment created to replace the ceiling rate income support age, carer, wife and disability support pensions, paid to war widows/widowers by Centrelink.



For the purposes of Part VI of the VEA, a reference to a veteran is taken to be a reference to:

  • a veteran as defined in subsection 5C(1) of the VEA;
  • a member of the Forces as defined in subsection 68(1) of the VEA; or
  • a member of a Peacekeeping Force as defined in subsection 68(1) of the VEA.

For the purposes of Part VII of the VEA, according to subsection 5C(1), veteran means a person (including a deceased person):

  • who is taken to have rendered eligible war service, or
  • in respect of whom a pension is, or pensions are, payable under subsection 13(6) and
  • in Part III and Part VIIC of the VEA includes a person who is:



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

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.


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

Bereavement period, as defined in section 53H of VEA, in relation to a person's death, means the period of 98 days starting on the day on which the person died.



A bereavement payment is an amount payable in respect of a deceased pensioner that represents a continuation of the pensioner's entitlement for a period following the death (the bereavement period).

The payment can be made as:

  • a lump sum in advance, or
  • a continuation of the deceased person's pension instalments, or
  • a combination of both, or
  • a portion of the rate of pension payable to the surviving member of a couple identified as a separate amount only for taxation purposes.