Where to access disability support as a veteran

Where to access disability support as a veteran

For ex-service personnel disability support can be provided by the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) or the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), depending on the person’s eligibility for funding and their preferences.

Key points

  • People with disability who have served in the armed forces can receive support through the Department of Veterans' Affairs or the NDIS
  • Both options offer a wide range of supports, services and funding
  • It can help to know which agency to contact for any specific supports you need as the DVA and NDIS won’t fund the same things at the same times

If you or someone in your family are a veteran it can be helpful to know exactly where to go to get the disability support you need, so that you can navigate the system more easily.

DVA versus NDIS

Everyone who has served in Australia’s armed forces, as well as some war widows and widowers, can receive some form of support through the DVA - whether that’s access to information, supports or services.

This is regardless of whether the person has a disability or not, although there are extra eligibility criteria for the disability supports provided by the DVA.

People who qualify for DVA disability support may also be eligible for the NDIS if they meet the eligibility criteria.

While you can have services and supports funded through both the DVA and the NDIS, you can’t double up on any funding provided by one source.

For example, if the NDIS already funds a support worker for you for an hour a day, the DVA won’t fund a second hour of the same support.

But it is also up to you whether you choose to receive that hour of support work through a DVA service or the NDIS.

Both systems have different purposes and different specialities, so it is your choice which system you want to receive each of your supports through - keeping in mind that NDIS plans and funding still need to be approved for you to be able to access those services.

DVA instead of NDIS

Veterans can receive DVA disability support while they wait for an NDIS application to be processed, so that they are not going without the support they need until they are able to get NDIS funding.

Some people who are not eligible for the NDIS will also be able to receive disability support from the DVA, for example veterans who are over 65 and did not apply to the NDIS before they reached the cut off age.

There are some additional services that the DVA will fund but the NDIS will not, especially in the area of health.

The NDIS does not fund health care or general mental health support if it is unrelated to a person’s disability as it leaves this responsibility to the health system. The DVA will fund some of these mainstream health supports though and veterans can have the costs of health care such as dentistry covered if they have a DVA card.

Some DVA services do have funding caps, and these may be lower than what you are able to get funded in a NDIS plan, depending on your circumstances.

Where should you start?

As the way DVA services and the NDIS interact can be very different in each case, it is difficult to know who you should contact about services if you currently don’t receive any, if you want to change the services you receive or if you need additional support.

The DVA suggests calling 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372) to speak to someone at the DVA in each of these situations, so they can connect you with your next point of contact.

However, if your question relates specifically to any existing NDIS supports you have, your plan or your NDIS funding, it is probably best to speak to your NDIS contact - likely a plan manager, support coordinator or Local Area Coordinator.

Have you ever received services from the Department of Veterans' Affairs? Tell us about your supports in the comments below.

Related content:
How to apply for the NDIS
What disability supports can I access as a veteran?
Receiving the best care in hospital when living with a disability

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