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One of the benefits of ADF Cover is to provide for your family if you die while serving in the ADF. While you are serving in the ADF, you will also be covered for death caused by natural reasons and from non-service-related injuries or events.

Here we outline important information about death benefits, including:

  • nominating a beneficiary
  • when death benefits are payable
  • death benefits payable while you are receiving an Invalidity pension.

For information about what happens to your accumulated super benefits if you die, contact your super fund. ADF Super members can visit the ADF Super website.

Nominate a beneficiary

Death benefits payable through ADF Cover are paid to any surviving eligible spouse and/or eligible children in the first instance. There are strict eligibility requirements that need to be satisfied before a person is deemed to be an eligible spouse or eligible child.

If you don’t have an eligible spouse or any eligible children, you can nominate beneficiaries who you would like to receive your ADF Cover death benefits if you die. This is a non-binding nomination which means CSC may exercise its discretion in considering your nomination.

The ADF Cover nomination is only considered for those members who are not survived by a spouse or eligible child. In the event that you are survived by a spouse or eligible child, the determination will be made in accordance with the legislative provisions rather than your nomination.

If you are not survived by a spouse or eligible child, the lump sum benefit is payable to the executor of your Will or the administrator of your estate.

It is important to note that your beneficiaries for ADF Cover can be different to any beneficiaries you nominate in relation to your superannuation (that is, through ADF Super or any other superannuation fund you have chosen).

Complete the Beneficiary nomination form.

ADF Cover death benefits

A death benefit is payable if a covered member of the ADF dies.

A covered ADF member is a person who is under age 60 and a member of the permanent forces or a continuous full time reservist. The person may be either an ADF Super member, or would have been an ADF Super member except that the member chose an alternative fund for contributions from the ADF.

Death benefits are payable in the following order to:

  1. the surviving spouse and eligible children
  2. the eligible children, if there is no surviving spouse
  3. nominated beneficiaries who are listed in the member's Will and dependent on the member just before the member's death, if there is neither a surviving spouse nor dependant eligible children, or
  4. the member's estate, if the benefit is not payable to anyone else.

Death benefits paid to a spouse

Generally, the benefit amount is a lump sum of 25% of the amount the member would have earned if they had continued to serve in the ADF until age 60. This is calculated using the salary for ADF Cover purposes payable at the time of death.

If the lump sum is payable to a spouse, he or she can choose to convert it to a pension.

The base rate of the spouse’s pension will be calculated by:

Member’s prospective years of service to age 60 x salary for cover purposes at time of death x 1.5%

Death benefits paid to eligible children

Pension supplement for eligible children

If a member is survived by an eligible spouse and an eligible child or children, a supplementary pension is payable for each eligible child.

The annual rate of the supplementary pension is calculated in accordance with the following formula:

Basic rate of the spouse’s pension


Relevant child supplement percentage

Child supplement percentages

Number of children


One child


Two children


Three or more children


Benefit payable where there is no eligible spouse

If a member dies without an eligible spouse, a death benefit lump sum is payable to the eligible children. The lump sum is calculated using the following formula:

Member’s prospective service to age 60


Current value of member’s salary for cover purposes



This can only be paid as a lump sum (not a pension), and it will be divided among the eligible children.

Important definitions related to death benefits

Who is a surviving spouse?

A surviving spouse is defined as:

  • a person who had a marital or couple relationship with the invalid or member at the time of death, or
  • the person previously had a marital or couple relationship with the invalid or member but was legally married to the invalid or member, and
  • was wholly or substantially dependent on the invalid or member at the time of death.

What is a marital or couple relationship?

A marital or couple relationship is defined as one where the surviving partner:

  • ordinarily lived with the invalid or member on a permanent and bona fide domestic basis, whether or not the person was legally married to that other person:
  • for a continuous period of at least three years, or
  • less than three years but where the trustee, having regard to the relevant evidence, is of the opinion that the person ordinarily lived with the invalid or member on a permanent and bona fide domestic basis.

Who is an eligible child?

An eligible child is defined as a person:

  • under 18 years of age, or
  • at least 18 but under 25 years of age, and
  • receiving full-time education at a school, college or university or other full-time education approved by CSC, and
  • who was wholly or substantially dependent on the invalid or member when he or she died.

Leaving the ADF

If you leave the ADF, you are no longer covered by ADF Cover. As a result, a death benefit is no longer payable. However, dependants can still claim a deceased member's accumulated super benefit through ADF Super (or other super fund).

Small pensions converted to lump sums

If the total amount of a pension is less than $5,000 per year, it must be converted into a lump sum. The value of the small lump sum is 16.5 times the annual rate of the pension.