The Disability Pension is a compensatory payment for incapacities resulting from injury or disease which have been accepted as being war-caused or defence-caused. To be eligible for a Disability Pension, the circumstances surrounding the cause or aggravation of a veteran's injury or disease must satisfy criteria set out in a Statement of Principle issued by the Repatriation Medical Authority (RMA). These statements exclusively define under what circumstances the Repatriation Commission can determine a disability to be war or defence-caused. The RMA will only decide that certain factors related to a veteran's war or defence service can cause an injury or disease if there is sound scientific medical evidence to support the link.
Eligible service includes service in World War I and World War II; with the Interim Forces; and where the veteran was allocated duty in a prescribed area in Korea, Malaya and Vietnam in certain periods, or in peacekeeping forces, or where the veteran was not so allocated but was injured as a result of action by hostile forces. Deciding what is 'eligible service' can sometimes be a complex matter requiring detailed study of the Veterans Entitlements Act 1986 .
'Pension' is assessed using the Guide to the Assessment of Rates of Veterans' Pension (GARP) and is payable at:
- the General Rate, from 10 per cent to 100 per cent, according to the degree of impairment and the effect on a veteran's lifestyle
- above the General Rate at Special (or Totally Permanently Incapacitated (TPI) Rate) or Intermediate Rates, in certain circumstances if war or defence-caused disabilities prevent or substantially affect a veteran's capacity to work, or
- above the General Rate at the Extreme Disablement Adjustment (EDA) Rate, if the veteran is not in receipt of the Special Rate pension, is over 65 and suffering substantial incapacity because of their war or defence-caused disabilities
There is no income or asset test for Disability Pensions. Medical and hospital treatment through the repatriation system is provided for all disabilities accepted as related to service.
A claim for Disability Pension should be made on a form available from the Department of Veterans' Affairs. Generally, a claimant will have to undergo a medical examination by a repatriation local medical officer and may be referred to a specialist for examination. The department will normally require the following information:
- their own records of the applicant's service, including service medical records
- reports from doctors who have treated the applicant since discharge
- where appropriate, medical reports from employers and insurance companies.
The decision on an applicant's claim is made by a determining officer of the Repatriation Commission who decides whether there is a disability, whether it is service-related and, if so, the rate of pension that is appropriate, see appeals.
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