This page explains how pension rates are determined.
Most cases under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) fall into one of two categories:
- An Entitlement Case – this is about whether disease, injury or death has been caused by service.
- An Assessment Case – this is about how much pension should be paid for incapacity from injury and or disease that has already been accepted as caused by service.
There are three levels of pension that can be payable:
- A percentage of the General Rate of pension. This is paid in multiples of 10% up to 100% (for current rates, see Disability Pension and War Widow(er)’s Pension Rates and Allowances)
- The Extreme Disablement Adjustment; and
- Earnings related pensions (the Intermediate Rate and the Special (TPI) Rate).
The Guide combines a medical impairment rating (for physical and functional loss) with a lifestyle rating (effects of accepted disabilities on mobility, personal relationships, home/work activities and leisure activities) to give an assessment of degree of incapacity.
In assessing a General Rate of pension, the Guide to the Assessment of Rates of Veterans’ Pensions (GARP) must be applied. You can obtain a copy of GARP.
The VRB must understand how your accepted disabilities have affected you in your daily life from the time you made your claim to the date of your hearing. Some of the questions asked at your hearing may be about how your medical problems limit your ability to perform everyday functions and how your accepted disabilities restrict your social, recreational and occupational activities.
To be eligible for the Extreme Disablement Adjustment (EDA) you must:
- be 65 or over
- have a degree of incapacity of 100%; and
- be ineligible for the Special (TPI) or Intermediate Rates of pension.
To qualify for EDA, you must be assessed under GARP as meeting certain minimum levels. The VRB Members use GARP to assess how your medical problems limit your everyday functions and how your accepted disabilities restrict your lifestyle. This usually involves a number of detailed questions.
To be granted a Special (TPI) or Intermediate Rate of pension you must first have a degree of incapacity of at least 70%. In addition, the Special Rate is normally payable to veterans who are incapacitated for work by their accepted disabilities to the extent that they cannot work more than 8 hours a week in any kinds of work for which they have the skills, qualifications or experience. The Intermediate Rate is normally payable to those who are incapacitated for 20 or more hours of work per week.
In addition, you must have been prevented from continuing to undertake a particular type of work due to your accepted disabilities alone. That is, if there are any factors other than the effects of accepted disabilities contributing to stopping you working, these pensions may not be payable. Stricter tests apply if you turned 65 years before you made your claim.
To apply these tests, VRB Members will have to know such things as:
- when and why you left your work
- what other work you might have done
- what, if any, other disabilities you may have that have not been accepted as caused by your service, and how they affect your ability to work.
You should bring your copy of the Departmental Report which was sent to you by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and any other papers that may support your case.
The following may help in preparing for your hearing:
- Doctors’ reports - if there is any concern that the available medical information is inaccurate or out of date, a further medical report should be obtained (e.g. if audiograms or spirometry tests are more than six months out of date, the VRB Registrar can ask DVA to obtain these types of medical reports at DVA’s expense)
- Records relating to your work history and your efforts to seek work, if applicable
- Your tax returns should be provided if you were self-employed, in a partnership, a joint business venture, or involved in a business run by a family company or trust to which you have a connection.
It is important that you send copies to the VRB as early as possible before your hearing. If your representative has these documents, you should make sure that he or she has sent copies to the VRB.
Veterans’ Review Board
Phone: 1800 550 460
VRB Email: contact [at] vrb.gov.au
VRB Website: www.vrb.gov.au