War Widows & Orphans: What Does Your DVA Gold Card Entitle You To?
As of September 2021, there are 43,227 war widows and war orphans receiving income support or compensation from the DVA. As part of their support, war widows or war orphans that are entitled to DVA pensions are also entitled to a DVA Gold Card, opening up a wide range of assistance services with daily life, health and wellness, and generally optimising their quality of life every day.
While it’s one thing to possess a DVA Gold Card, understanding what the card entitles you to, how you can access these services, and learning about differences or restrictions in entitlements can be difficult and cumbersome to find and access. Here’s a look into the Gold Card for war widows and war orphans to help ensure you are getting the support you need without missing out on the benefits you’re entitled to.
DVA Gold Card For War Widows & Orphans: Is There A Difference?
Unlike DVA White Cards which have additional eligibility criteria that you must meet for specific services, meaning that entitlements may differ between White Card holders, all DVA Gold Card holders have identical entitlements and benefits under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA). This means that all of the information provided about Gold Card entitlements applies equally to war widows and war orphans as it does to war veterans.
DVA Gold Card Entitlements
Your Veteran Gold Card covers you for clinically required medical treatments and services in Australia for all medical conditions. You can access the treatments and services listed below at no cost if you see a provider who accepts your Gold Card, which you can check before making an appointment. There are few instances where out-of-pocket costs may apply, such as for high-cost dental items such as bridges and crowns.
Your fully covered services, when medically necessary, include:
Hospital Or Day Procedure Treatments
Should you need to be hospitalised and stay overnight, or have an in-hospital procedure over a single day, the DVA will cover the expenses associated with this.
Treatment Provided By An Allied Health Professional
You are covered for accessing allied health care such as physiotherapy to help with physical injury or pain, dietetics to support good nutrition habits, exercise physiology to help you maintain or improve your strength and function, podiatry to address foot problems, and many more.
Treatment Provided By A General Practitioner Or Specialist
Anytime you need to see a doctor for ongoing healthcare, a check up, or a specific health concern, you’re covered. This includes referrals that your doctor may make to specialists for further investigations or treatments.
Six-monthly dental checkups, any treatment needed as a result of these checkups, and appointments for tooth pain or other concerns are included in your cover. The only exceptions are if you exceed the annual limit of $2,643.25 per calendar year for specific high-cost items like bridges and crowns.
Treatment Provided By An Eye Care Professional
If you’re worried about your vision or start experiencing problems or disturbances, you’re covered with your Gold Card. This includes no-cost glasses every two years - both frames and lenses.
The DVA can fund approved community nurses to provide in-home care including:
- assessing your needs and developing a care plan
- providing care to meet assessed clinical needs
- working with other health care providers
Medical Imaging (X-Rays, Ultrasounds & More)
Any medical imaging, like x-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans and MRIs are covered when indicated as necessary by a medical professional.
Blood Tests And Other Pathology Services
Blood tests, urine sample analysis and other pathology services are included in your cover.
Mental Health Services
Mental health concerns are taken very seriously and a wide range of services and support is offered to Gold Card holders at no cost. Post-traumatic stress disorder was the second largest accepted condition for DVA care in 2021 after tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Depressive disorders were not far behind on the list.
Other services that are either free or may have a small co-payment include medical aids and equipment such as walkers, as well as travel to and from medical appointments and care services.
When paying for prescription items for any health concern where the medication has been deemed a need from a medical provider, your DVA Gold Card means that you only pay approximately $6.60 - $6.80 for each item until you reach your Safety Net Threshold for the calendar year, after which there is no further cost. You can find out how much your threshold is here.
There are also a wide range of concessions available to Gold Card holders. These differ by state, and you may need to confirm your eligibility with the specific organisations. In Queensland, for example, concessions include:
- Public transport concessions including Queensland Rail travel
- Australia post discounts - up to 40%
- Telstra discounts
- Rates subsidy
- Water subsidy
- Vehicle concessions including motor vehicle registrations and GST exemptions
For information about the concessions available in your specific state, see here.
Accessing DVA Services
To help DVA members access their services, DVA has set up an online platform called MyService, which is linked to your MyGov account and you can access from your computer or smartphone. This lets you keep track of claims and access some new services. Other services will need a referral from your GP after conducting an assessment to determine that you have a clinical need for a specific service.
Despite the availability of MyService, accessing DVA services still feels confusing and overwhelming for many people who prefer a one-on-one approach to ensure they are heard, understood and the full range of treatment options are considered by a knowledgeable professional - as opposed to potentially being overlooked when trying to manage their entitlements themselves. This is where Veteran Benefits Australia provides a personalised, caring and fully-funded service that connects veterans, war widows and war orphans to the services they need and entitled to.
Aside from ensuring that you aren’t missing out by not being familiar with the ins and outs of the system, we also have a large and supportive Australian veteran community for you to join with over 23,000 members.
To get started, fill in our contact form and a member of our team will reach out.