If you have been physically or psychologically injured as a result of your defense service (including reservists and cadets), you may be able to claim for military compensation. If you were a prisoner of war, you may be able to claim even if you were/are a civilian. In this article, we provide a broad overview of some of the types of military compensation available for service-related injury or disease.  This article does not cover military compensation for dependents of people who have been in service.

Types of military compensation

The law sets out many different types of military compensation available for a service related injury or disease.  Military compensation paid for service-related injury, disease or death may include service pensions, disability pensions, payments for permanent impairment or incapacity and prisoner of war payments. Military compensation payments may be ongoing or one off. Military compensation can cover issues arising from your injury or disease, such as your:

  • permanent impairment;
  • inability to carry out any work;
  • need to have help running your household;
  • need to have carers; and
  • healthcare needs.

There are special military compensation payments available for former Australian prisoners of war including prisoners of war who were civilians at the time. The entitlements from the Military & Rehabilitation Commission and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) can overlap.  This means that military compensation that you are able to claim may be offset against any other military compensation you are currently receiving for the same incapacity.


The type of military compensation you are eligible for and the amount will depend on many factors including:

  • the length of your service;
  • when you carried out your service;
  • the type and extent of your injury; and
  • how and when your injury was sustained.

You can find out information about your entitlements from the DVA.  If you are a current serving member, you can make an appointment to speak to your On Base Advisory Service (OBAS).  Staff of the OBAS regularly visit 44 bases around Australia.  Your OBAS is located in the Defense Health Center or health precinct. To help you determine whether you are entitled to military compensation, you may be able to use the Entitlement Self Assessment questionnaire on the DVA’s website: https://www.dva.gov.au/esa/wizard?execution=e1s1 Only the following people are eligible to use the questionnaire:

  • a member or former member of the Australian Defense Force including Reserves and Cadets;
  • a Commonwealth or allied veteran including eligible civilians and peacekeepers;
  • a former Australian or allied mariner; or
  • a dependent (including partner / spouse or child) of the persons above.

How to apply

To apply for military compensation, you can fill out the correct form and submit it to the DVA.  Many service related organisations will have representatives who can help you fill our your military compensation claim forms. Alternatively, you can seek expert legal advice to ensure that your claim form is correctly completed.  It is advisable to obtain independent specialist medical advice to help you claim for your full entitlements.

Acceptance/Rejection of Claims

If your military compensation claim is accepted, then payments will be made by electronic funds transfer into your bank account.  If your claim is fully or partially rejected, you can contact the Director of the Legal Advising and Dispute Resolution of the DVA, the Commonwealth Ombudsman or get independent legal advice.

Next steps

There are many different types of military compensation available to people who have been injured or incapacitated in Australia’s defense forces.  Similarly, the family members may be able to claim military compensation for the death of a current or former members of the defense forces.   If you believe that you should be able to claim military compensation, then your first point of call will be to look at the information on the DVA’s website.  You are also welcome to call Owen Hodge Lawyers for an obligation free discussion of your situation. Call us today at 1800 770 780 or contact us via ohl@owenhodge.com.au to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced lawyers.

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