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If you are discharged due to invalidity, the benefits that you're entitled to vary.

On this page, you will find information about Invalidity benefits, including:

  • ADF Cover invalidity benefits
  • how Invalidity benefits are calculated
  • how an Invalidity pension is paid
  • interim benefits
  • reclassification of an Invalidity classification
  • reconsideration of a classification decision
  • situations where you're not eligible for invalidity cover.

If an injury prevents you from ever returning to work, you can also apply to access your accumulated super benefit from ADF Super (or your elected superannuation fund) on grounds of permanent incapacity.

After reading this information, find out how you can make a claim.

Invalidity benefits

If you are discharged from the ADF because you are medically unfit for service you can apply for Invalidity benefits, which are paid as a pension. You will be assessed based on your incapacity for future work in civilian employment.

Our assessment considers the types of employment that a person with your qualifications, skills and experience could reasonably undertake.

Once we have made an assessment, you will be classified as one of the following:

  • Class A - your incapacity for civilian employment is assessed as at least 60%.
  • Class B - your incapacity for civilian employment is assessed as at least 30% but less than 60%.
  • Class C - your incapacity for civilian employment is assessed as less than 30%.

If you are classified as Class A or B you will receive an Invalidity pension from ADF Cover.

If you are classified as Class C you won't receive an Invalidity pension.

How is my invalidity pension calculated?

An ADF Cover Invalidity pension is made up of two components: the basic annual rate of pension plus a top up amount.

Your pension amount also depends on the number of years of qualifying service, which is the number of continuous years of service in the permanent forces or as a continuous full-time reservist.

The basic annual rate is payable for life (subject to classification review) and the top up is payable until age 60. When you reach age 60 you'll be able to access any preserved superannuation benefits.

Basic annual pension calculation

The basic annual pension rate is calculated as:

Prospective years of service to age 60 x salary for cover purposes at time of discharge x Incapacity factor

Top up pension calculation

The top up annual pension rate is calculated as:

Years of qualifying service x salary on discharge x Incapacity factor

Incapacity factors are as follows:

  • Class A – the incapacity factor is 2.2%.
  • Class B – the incapacity factor is 1.1%.

Your salary for cover purposes is generally your base rate of salary plus any service allowance, higher duties allowance and/or trainee allowance that you are receiving on the date of your discharge.

Example 1: John's Class A Invalidity pension

John joins the Army at age 18, and is medically discharged at age 25. John is classified as Class A invalidity. At the date of discharge, John’s salary was $100,000. John’s prospective service to age 60 is 35 years. His period of qualifying service is 7 years. John is entitled to both a basic pension and a top up pension.

John’s basic pension:

35 x $100,000 x 2.2% = $77,000 pa

John’s top up pension:

7 x $100,000 x 2.2% = $15,400 pa

The total amount John will receive while he is under age 60 as a result of his incapacity is $92,400 pa, indexed to CPI.

When John is 60 his top up pension will stop, leaving only his basic pension amount. However, as he has now reached his preservation age John can now access his accumulated super benefits.

Example 2: Emma's Class B Invalidity pension

After joining the Navy at age 19, Emma is medically discharged at the age of 42 because of a training accident. Her salary was $83,000 when she was discharged. Emma's prospective service to age 60 is 18 years. Emma's period of qualifying service is 23 years. She is entitled to both a basic pension and a top up pension.

Emma's basic pension:
18 x $83,000 x 1.1% = $16,434 pa

Emma's top up pension:
23 x $83,000 x 1.1% = $20,999 pa

The total amount Emma will receive while she is under age 60 as a result of her incapacity is $37,433 pa, indexed to CPI.

When Emma turns 60, her top up pension will stop, leaving only her basic pension amount. As she has reached preservation age, she'll now be able to access her accumulated super benefits.

Need help figuring out your invalidity pension?

If you want to know what your pension would be if you were discharged for invalidity, contact us and we'll help you estimate your pension amount.

How are my invalidity benefits paid?

All invalidity pensions are paid fortnightly. If your total invalidity pension is less than $5,000 per year it must be converted into a lump sum. The value of the small pension lump sum is 16.5 times the annual rate of the pension.

How do you determine my classification?

The classification process starts after we receive your completed application and supporting documents.

We will classify you based on the extent to which your condition makes you incapable of civilian employment. We consider the types of employment that you could do based on your qualifications, skills and experience.

When your appropriate civilian employment has been determined, your incapacity for that employment is then assessed. Your entire in-service medical file, as well as any other medical evidence provided, will be taken into account. If we need you to undertake additional medical examination to make a decision, we will cover the cost.

After all the evidence and medical reports have been examined, you will be classified as Class A, B or C.

Can I get any interim benefits?

If more information is required to determine whether your level of incapacity is at least 60%, but we assess that your incapacity is at least 30%, you may be eligible for an interim Class B benefit.

If you are found eligible, you will get a pension at the Class B rate until we obtain the additional required information. The interim Class B classification doesn't affect the final determination, which could be a Class B, or the higher classification of Class A.

Can my classification change?

If you are classified as Class A or Class B, your classification will first be reviewed within 12 to 36 months after the first classification. Additional reviews will also be conducted from time to time.

If the level of your incapacity, skills, qualifications or work experience changes, you may be reclassified. If so, your pension payment will change to reflect your new classification from the date the decision of your new classification is made.

If you are receiving a Class B pension, or you have been reclassified as Class C from Class A or B, you can generally ask for a review at any time up to age 65 if you think your condition has deteriorated.

If you are initially classified as Class C, this is not reviewable. However, you can ask for a reconsideration of the classification within 30 days of receiving the decision.

What if I don't agree with the decision?

If you disagree with the classification decision we have made, you may apply for reconsideration within 30 days of receipt of the decision.

Requests for reconsideration must be made in writing by completing an Application for reconsideration of decision form.

Are there situations when I'm not eligible?

You are not eligible for an Invalidity benefit from ADF Cover if your discharge or retirement:

  • occurred within your first two years of service and was caused, or substantially contributed to, by a physical or mental condition that you already had on entry and which was not materially aggravated by your service
  • was wholly due to an intentional act for the purpose of obtaining an Invalidity benefit
  • was caused, or substantially contributed to, by an event that occurred while you were absent without leave and the event occurred more than 21 days after that absence started.

If I'm injured but not discharged, will ADF Cover pay my medical expenses?

No. We only cover the cost of medical appointments associated with determining an Invalidity claim.

What if I return to the ADF?

If you are receiving an invalidity pension and subsequently return to the ADF, your level of incapacity will be reviewed and your pension will stop.

It is important to understand that your previous invalidity pension will never be reinstated.

Are benefits income tested?

No, your Invalidity pension isn't affected by other income or benefits. However, if you receive other payments (for example Repatriation, Compensation or Social Security payments), these payments may be adjusted because of your Invalidity pension.

Permanent incapacity

If an injury prevents you from ever returning to work, or you are suffering from a terminal illness, you can make a claim to access your super benefit. Contact your superannuation fund for more details.

ADF Super members should visit the ADF Super website.