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16 Maintaining Incapacity Payments for Veterans Studying Pilot

Last amended 
3 August 2023

This Chapter is retained for information purposes only, as the Pilot ceased on 30 June 2023. 

Policy Statement 

Veterans engaged in approved full-time study under a DVA-funded rehabilitation program and receiving incapacity payments were supported by a pilot program, which ceased on 30 June 2023.



Legislative authority for this measure is contained in the following Acts and Instruments:



This pilot provided an eligible former member of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with incapacity payments based on 100% of their normal pre-injury earnings, where that member was engaged in a DVA rehabilitation program and, as part of that program, was undertaking full-time study to assist them in securing ongoing meaningful employment after their ADF service.



Incapacity payments are economic loss compensation payments for a loss of earnings as a result of a service-related condition. Typically incapacity payments “step down” to 75% (or a higher percentage depending on hours worked of pre-injury earnings after a period of 45 weeks in payment.

Step-up to Incapacity Payments for Veterans Studying was a 2018-19 Budget measure funded as a pilot program from 1 November 2018 until 30 June 2022.

A continuation of the Pilot, renamed Maintaining Incapacity Payments for Veterans Studying Pilot, was announced as part of the March 2022-23 Federal Budget. The pilot was extended until 30 June 2023. All eligibility criteria and requirements remained unchanged.

The pilot was applicable under both the DRCA and MRCA.



The Pilot ceased on 30 June 2023. Prior to that date a person was eligible if they:

  • were a former ADF member;
  • were participating in DVA’s rehabilitation program; and
  • had full-time study approved as part of their rehabilitation plan; and
  • were eligible to receive incapacity payments.

Clients were expected to maintain compliance with their rehabilitation program, including studying full-time, to remain eligible for the pilot. Clients needed to continue to meet required benchmarks for study units and complete the course of study within a pre-agreed timeframe.

Approval of full-time study was determined according to DVA’s tertiary education policy framework.



 What education and training courses were considered as ‘study’ for the Pilot?

The following types of education and training were considered to be study:

  • secondary education, where the course of study is either an accredited senior secondary certificate of education (or equivalent) or a preparatory course for the purpose of enrolling in a related award course; and
  • tertiary education courses within the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) at the following levels: Certificate level (Certificate I-IV), Diplomas, Advanced Diplomas/Associate Degrees, Bachelor-level degrees, and Graduate Certificates/ Diplomas.

Institutions offering these courses included:

  • Technical and Further Education (TAFE) colleges;
  • Higher education institutions (e.g. university); and
  • Accredited Registered Training Organisation (RTO).


What was meant by ‘full-time’?

If an eligible person was undertaking study, they were considered to be full-time if over the study period (for example, a semester) they were enrolled in at least three-quarters of the normal amount of full-time study that would be expected for the course in that study period.

The normal amount of full-time study for a course over each study period was defined by the institution or body conducting the course. This was the study load that a full-time student would typically undertake in respect of the course.

If a definition of full-time study was not available through the institution or body, then the normal amount of full-time study was the average amount of full-time study that a person would have to undertake for the duration of the course, in order to complete it in the minimum amount of time.


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