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Clothing Allowance

Legislative Authority

Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986
Section 97


Stated Current Purpose/Intent

To compensate an eligible veteran, member of the Forces, member of a Peacekeeping Force or Australian mariner for exceptional wear and tear of, or damage to, clothing.


Current Eligibility Criteria

The eligible person must be in receipt of a Disability Compensation Payment for incapacity from a war-caused or defence-caused incapacity as follows:

  • one leg and one arm amputated;
  • one leg or one arm amputated;
  • both legs or both arms amputated;
  • one leg amputated, causing essential hip disarticulation;
  • blinded in both eyes; or
  • an injury or disease of another kind, which causes exceptional wear and tear of, or damage to, clothing.



  1. The rate payable depends on the type of incapacity.


Date of Introduction

November 1959


Original Purpose/Intent

In the period 1953-1958, representations by the Returned Service League sought the introduction of allowances, to certain categories of members, to compensate for abnormal deterioration of clothing resulting from a service-related disablement and/or the treatment thereof.

Initially resolutions of the League referred to the effects on clothing of "oils, ointments, or other substances used in the necessary treatment of accepted war disabilities".  Later resolutions referred to the damage caused by the wearing of surgical aids and appliances.

In 1958, the Commission agreed in principle that a range of allowances was warranted to meet these needs. The scheme was introduced in November 1959.

In 1967, the allowance was extended to blinded veterans who damaged their clothing because of their lack of sight.


Significant Changes in Criteria or Purpose Since Introduction


From 1 July 1994, the SWPA Act and Regulations were repealed and Australian mariners became eligible under the VEA on the same basis as veterans.


Standards used to determine blindness under the VEA were brought into line with those used by Department of Human Services and other government agencies.  This meant that the blindness standards for a veterans to be classified as permanently blind changed from a visual acuity of less than or equal to 3/60 in both eyes to a visual acuity of less than or equal to 6/60 in both eyes.

If a veteran is granted Disability Compensation Payment in respect of incapacity as described in column 1 of the table in sub-section 97(1), clothing allowance should be granted at the same time.  In any other case, the veteran should apply for the allowance in writing.