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Partner Receiving Pension or Benefit from Centrelink



General rule


If one member of a couple is paid income support by DVA and the other by Centrelink, the department that is paying pension to the surviving member of the couple is responsible for calculation and payment of the bereavement payment.




An exception to the general rule applies where a veteran who is paid disability pension and service pension dies, and he or she is survived by a partner who is paid a social security pension or social security benefit. In this situation, the bereavement payment made in respect of service pension or benefit is managed by Centrelink and the Disability Pension Bereavement Payment is managed by DVA.    

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Impact of DFISA on bereavement payments



If DFISA was payable to the deceased just prior to death, any bereavement payment payable in respect of that person will be increased to take account of the DFISA amount that person was receiving. This occurs whether the bereavement payment is made under the SSA or the VEA.    

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Social security payments payable at nil rate



Some people may be subject to the provisions of subsection 23(1D) in the SSA and be in receipt of a nil rate of social security payment and receiving DFISA. A person in this situation is entitled to the usual provisions, obligations and benefits applicable to a recipient of the relevant social security payment, including any bereavement payment provisions.    

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Section 53J VEA - Authority to pay bereavement payment in respect of social security recipient

Section 98A VEA - Authority to pay disability pension bereavement payment

VEA → (go back)

Disability Pension Bereavement Payment

Section 8.2.4

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Bereavement Payments and DFISA

Section 5.9.5

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Section 53J(d)

Section 53J VEA

VEA → (go back)

Centrelink is a Government service delivery agency responsible for delivering a range of Commonwealth Government services (including social security pensions and allowances) to the Australian community through a network of more than 400 Centrelink offices.

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.

Disability pension, for the purposes of service pension and income support supplement, means:

  • a pension paid 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].

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.

The term social security pension is defined in Section 5Q(1) VEA to mean:

  • age pension;
  • disability support pension;
  • wife pension;
  • carer payment;
  • pension PP (single);
  • sole parent pension;
  • bereavement allowance;
  • widow B pension;
  • mature age partner allowance;
  • special needs pension.

As benefits (pensions) may change, for the most current definition access this link to the Social Security Act 1991



The term social security benefit is defined in Section 5Q(1) of the VEA to mean:

  • widow allowance;
  • youth allowance;
  • austudy payment;
  • newstart allowance;
  • sickness allowance;
  • special benefit;
  • partner allowance;
  • mature age allowance;
  • benefit PP (partnered);
  • parenting allowance.

As benefits (pensions) may change, for the most current definition access this link to the Social Security Act 1991



Defence Force Income Support Allowance (DFISA) is an income support payment to be made by DVA to people whose income support payment under Social Security Law is reduced, or not payable, because of the impact of adjusted disability pension. DFISA is 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.



Social Security Act, 1991.

Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986.