Defence Force and Veterans’ Funerals

Financial help with Australian Defence Force and Veteran’s funerals

Last updated: 28 November 2016

Funeral benefits for those in active service

Australia’s Department of Defence provides up to $12,500 to cover the funeral costs of an active member of its permanent forces, and, depending on certain circumstances, members of the reserves.

It can be paid to a dependent or legal representative to cover costs ranging from the coffin or casket and burial or cremation, through to the funeral director’s fee, floral tributes and headstone. Full information is available through the Department of Defence's website.

Funeral benefits for veterans

Australia’s Department of Veterans’ Affairs administers a one-off funeral benefit of up to $2,000 to help cover the funeral costs of certain eligible veterans and their dependents.

This may include a war veteran or member of the Australian Defence Force who was was receiving a special rate disability pension at the time of their death, a former prisoner of war, a veteran whose death was service caused, died in hardship, or who was receiving DVA treatment or care through the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) or the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004. The DVA fully outlines its eligibility criteria for Funeral Benefit claims in an online form through which you can make an application for funeral benefit.

Funeral benefit may also be claimed to meet funeral costs of a dependant widow or widower, child aged under 16, or aged under 25 and still in education, whose loved one died in need and whose death was service-related.

If you have claimed funeral benefit, but need additional help in covering the cost of transferring your loved one back home from the hospital or treatment centre where they died, the DVA may also consider covering the funeral director’s transportation fees.

If your loved one was receiving a pension or benefit from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs or Centrelink, the relevant agency should be notified of the death within 14 days.

Bereavement payment for partners and dependants

Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for a one-off bereavement payment to help you with some of your immediate financial costs. To qualify, your loved one’s service must fall within the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) or the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA). The DVA advises that there is no bereavement payment for those with service under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRCA).

A dependent partner (or if none, the dependent child, or children) of a serving or former member may claim a bereavement payment if their loved one was entitled to receive certain incapacity and disability payments at the time of his or her death (provided this was not already claimed in the form of a lump sum). The payment is equal to 12 instalments of the weekly benefit that your loved one claimed, or was eligible to claim.