This is an (income and assets tested) income support pension, similar to the Age or Disability Support Pensions paid by Centrelink. The Service Pension is paid to:
- a male veteran who has qualifying service (which in general covers overseas service during hostilities or where there was danger from hostile forces) and has reached the age of 60 years or is permanently incapacitated for work
- a female veteran who has qualifying service and has reached the age of 55 years or is permanently incapacitated for work
- the wife of a service pensioner
- certain people who provide constant care and attention to severely handicapped veterans receiving the Service Pension
The Service Pension may be paid not only to veterans who served in the Australian Forces, but in certain circumstances to veterans of British Commonwealth and allied forces who have been Australian residents for a continuous period of 10 years; and to Australian, Commonwealth and allied mariners who served in World War II. Working out just what service qualifies a person for the Service Pension can sometimes be a complex matter. If in doubt, contact the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
The rates of payment for the Service Pension are the same as for the Age Pension. It is subject to the same income test, including the test applying to pensioners who have reached 70 years of age.
'Income' has the same meaning as for the Age Pension, except that for Service Pension purposes, any Disability Support Pension the claimant receives is disregarded. An applicant for a service pension is subject to the same assets test as for the Age Pension.
The wife of a service pensioner is eligible to receive a Service Pension. The term 'wife' includes a woman living with the pensioner as his wife although not legally married to him. If the husband dies, she can still continue to receive her married rate pension, subject to the income and assets tests. However, if she is qualified to receive an Age, Disability Support Pension or a Widow Allowance from Centrelink, it would usually be to her advantage to transfer to that social security payment as she would receive a higher single rate.
Applicants must fill in a claim form available from branch offices of the Department of Veterans' Affairs. The claim form states what documents are needed (e.g. marriage certificate, birth certificate, evidence of income etc.). Pensions are payable to a bank account, credit union or building society, every 12 weeks in arrears.
To be granted a Service Pension, a person must live in their usual and settled place in Australia. However, once entitlement has been established, the pension (but not supplementary assistance) may be paid anywhere in the world.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.