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Veterans' Vocational Rehabilitation Scheme (VVRS)

Legislative Authority

Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986
Sections 115A - 115L

Veterans’ Vocational Rehabilitation Scheme Instrument 1997 No.5


Current Eligibility Criteria

Most people with eligible service under the VEA can apply for assistance under the VVRS.  This includes the following types of service:

  • Operational;
  • Peacekeeping;
  • Hazardous;
  • Eligible Defence Service (generally means at least three years continuous full time service during the period 7 December 1972 to 6 April 1994); and
  • British Nuclear Test Defence service (between certain periods from 1952 to 1965).


Commonwealth veterans, allied veterans or allied mariners in receipt of invalidity service pension can also apply to the VVRS for assistance.


Date of Introduction

1 December 1997


Original Purpose/Intent

Under the VVRS, the Repatriation Commission will provide a range of services for veterans to find, or continue in, suitable paid employment, with a particular emphasis on those separating from the Australian Defence Force, and assisting those veterans whose jobs are in jeopardy. VVRS services include advice on job-seeking, assistance with updating or upgrading skills (including help to gain recognition for on-the-job training) and assistance with finding work.

Pensioners who receive disability pension at the special or intermediate rate will retain all their ancillary benefits such as treatment, whilst participating in the VVRS. The reduction applied to these disability pensions equates to 100% of the general rate plus a percentage of the difference between that general rate and either the special or intermediate rate (whichever the veteran was receiving) for the first two years of employment as a result of participating in the VVRS. Over the next five years, while remaining in employment, the pension is gradually reduced to 100% of the general rate.

If the veteran leaves the workforce for any reason, including retirement, they will return to the rate of disability pension they were receiving prior to participating in the VVRS.

Recipients of invalidity service pension who participate in the VVRS will remain subject to the normal income and assets tests, but only 50% of their wages from remunerative work will be taken into account for the purposes of the income test in the two-year period after they commence remunerative work as the result of undertaking the program. Over the following five years, the other 50% of gross earnings from employment is progressively taken into account, at a rate of 5% every six months. The eligibility of invalidity service pension recipients for ancillary benefits will continue to be linked to their satisfying the normal income and assets tests.


Significant Changes in Criteria or Purpose Since Introduction