What is free mental health care for veterans
We can provide free treatment for all mental health conditions through non-liability health care. There is no need to establish that these conditions were caused by your service.
Who can receive it
You can receive treatment for any mental health condition if you are a current or former member of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), including reservists, with at least one day of continuous full-time service (CFTS).
Reservists without CFTS may be eligible for mental health treatment if they performed Reserve Service Days, such as:
- Disaster Relief Service
- Border Protection Service; or
- involvement in a serious service-related training accident
What you can receive
If you are eligible, you will receive a White Card which allows you to access free treatment for any mental health conditions.
Your White Card will cover all required mental health treatment. Treatment may be provided by a:
- general practitioner (GP)
- medical specialist
- occupational therapist (OT)
- social worker
- hospital; or
- specialist PTSD program
You do not need to wait until your card arrives to start treatment. You can show your healthcare provider a digital version of your card on your mobile phone through MyService.
If you are charged for treatment while waiting for your card, keep your receipts and claim it back.
Your White Card also gives you access to cheaper prescriptions for the conditions that your card covers. You may be eligible for a Veterans Supplement to help towards the cost of medicines.
Your White Card covers treatment in Australia, but not overseas.
How you claim
If you automatically received a White Card after transitioning from the ADF, you can access mental health treatment straight away. You do not need to apply.
If you don’t have a White Card for mental health conditions, you can:
Proof of Identity (POI) documentation may be required.
To access treatment for mental health conditions, you don't need a diagnosis. Start by making an appointment with your general practitioner (GP).
Your GP will talk with you about your symptoms and your wellbeing, and help you work out your next steps. They may refer you to a specialist.
If you need help finding a GP, you can use the Health Direct website to find one.
What to tell us
If anything changes that could affect your entitlements, you need to let us know within 14 days (or 28 days if you receive the Remote Area Allowance or live overseas).
You need to tell us if you receive a bill for treatment covered by us. Do not pay your health provider directly. We will pay for services on your behalf.
Things you should know
- All counselling services need to be provided by a qualified professional.
- Your White Card covers treatment in Australia only, not overseas.
- Your GP can refer you to a mental health specialist.
Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986
What other help is available
Open Arms - Veterans & Families Counselling
Provides 24-hour free counselling and support to you and your family.
A health and wellbeing portal that provides resources for you and your family.
Veteran Health Check
A health check with your GP that can help optimise physical and mental health and wellbeing and connect you with support after you transition from the ADF.
Counselling package for families
Counselling provided through the Family Support Package to help your family manage challenging life situations.
A regular payment to help with the cost of medicines.