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Orphan's Pension

Legislative Authority

Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986
Section 8 (liability provisions)
13 (eligibility of children of veterans and mariners)
Section 18 (duties of Commission in relation to pensions)
Section 19 (determination of claims and applications)
Section 30A to 30P and 74 (limitation due to payment of other compensation)
Section 30(2) (rate)
Section 70 (eligibility of children of Defence and Peacekeeping Forces)
Section 120 (standard of proof)
Section 120A and 120B (Statements of Principles)


Stated Current Purpose/Intent

To compensate the eligible dependent children of a deceased veteran, member of the Forces, member of a Peacekeeping Force or Australian mariner.


Eligibility Criteria

Orphans of an eligible person:

  • whose death was war-caused or defence-caused;
  • who died as a result of a war-caused or defence-caused disability;
  • who had been receiving:
    • a special rate pension;
    • an EDA; or
    • an increased rate of pension for certain amputations or certain amputations and blindness described in items 1 to 8 of section 27 of the VEA; or
  • who was a former Australian prisoner of war; or
  • a veteran or mariner, who has rendered operational service, whose death was not war-caused, and the child is not being maintained by a parent, adoptive parent or step-parent.


The child must have been wholly or substantially dependent on the person, immediately prior to the person's death.  If the child is between 16 and 25 years old he or she must be:

  • receiving full-time education at a school, college or university;
  • not receiving VCES, Austudy or other education assistance from the Commonwealth; and
  • not receiving a disability support pension from Services Australia, or another Commonwealth allowance.



  1. Orphan's pension is not affected by other income except payments in the nature of compensation. In respect of the death of a veteran, all pensions payable to a dependant may be limited by the amount of compensation paid, or the assessed fortnightly equivalent.  Where two or more pensions are subject to these provisions, an orphan's pension is to be limited before a war widow(er)'s pension.


Date of Introduction



Original Purpose/Intent

The original intention has not changed.


Significant Changes in Criteria or Purpose Since Introduction


The dependency criteria have eased since 1920 when the claimant must have been dependent on the veteran at some time in the 12 months immediately preceding the date of enlistment or appointment.


Under the Repatriation Act 1920, eligibility had been restricted to those dependants of veterans whose death was war-caused.

1993From 1 January 1993, automatic grant of orphan’s pension was extended to cases where a veteran was a prisoner of war at the time of operational service and the death of the veteran was not war-caused.

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.


Automatic grant of orphan's pension was extended to cases where the veteran died as a result of disability already accepted as being war-caused or defence-caused.