Date amended:

Legislative Authority

Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986
Section 45A (eligibility)
45B to 45R (payability, claims)
Schedule 6 (calculation of rates)

Stated Current Purpose/Intent

To provide income support for war widows and widowers.

Current Eligibility Criteria

A person is eligible for an income support supplement (ISS) if the person:

  • is receiving a war widow(er)'s pension under the VEA, or compensation as a wholly dependent partner under the MRCA; and
  • is an Australian resident; and
  • is residing in Australia.
  1. The ISS is an income support payment and as such is subject to the income and assets tests.
  2. The ceiling rate of ISS was frozen at $120.10 per fortnight on introduction.  Changes were made later to make ad hoc increases to the frozen ceiling rate and then to index the ceiling rate.
  3. Prior to the introduction of ISS, war widows and widowers could receive income support under the Social Security Act 1991 .  The war widow(er)'s pension was income for the social security payment which generally resulted in a payment of $120.10 per fortnight (frozen since January 1986).
Date of Introduction

20 March 1995

Significant Changes in Criteria or Purpose Since Introduction

From 1 July 1995, the Government introduced changes to the age at which war widows and widowers can be granted ISS.  The earliest age a war widow/er can become eligible will be lifted in six-monthly increments every two years from 55 to 60 years over the period, 1995-2014.


Carer service pension was transferred to DSS.  Some cases were saved and remained with DVA, including some ISS carer payments.  No further grants at DVA.


On 1 July 2000, the ceiling rate was increased to $124.90 with the introduction of the GST related pension supplement.


Legislation was passed allowing the previously frozen ceiling rate of ISS to be indexed twice yearly (March and September) in line with increases in the percentage increase to the maximum rate service pension. The first increase applied from 20 September 2002.

Legislation was passed which allowed a claim for ISS, received after the date of receipt of war widow(er)'s pension, to be payable on and from the date of receipt of war widow(er)'s pension, providing that the pensioner was receiving a social security benefit or pension which was cancelled, and would have been eligible for ISS for the period between.

SCH6-B2 of the VEA, which allowed for an ISS recipient who is partnered (partner receiving neither pension nor benefit) to be treated as not being a member of a couple, was repealed.


From 1 January 2005, rent assistance became payable in addition to the ceiling rate.


Legislation was passed removing the qualifying age, dependent child, or partnered (partner getting pension) eligibility criteria for ISS.  The category of ISS (invalidity) is retained as the payment is non-taxable if received by a war widow/er who is under pension age.


20 September 2009 the ceiling rate of ISS is increased by the amount of the utilities allowance and telephone allowance previously paid quarterly.

2015Income test change: from 1 January 2015, income deeming applies to asset-tested income streams (long term) that are account‑based.  Products held on, and those in receipt of income support since, 31 December 2014 are grandfathered from the change.

From 1 July 2019, new income streams category Asset-tested Lifetime, for which means test includes:

  • 60% of income and asset from 'assessment day'; and
  • 30% of asset from 'threshold day'.