Minister Responds to DRA on Reservists who Served in the Solomon Islands eligibility for NLHC

From: The Hon Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Veteran Affairs & Minister for Defence Personnel

14 April 2017

Major General Jim Barry
Immediate Past President
Defence Reserves Association


Dear Major General Barry

Thank you for meeting with me on 17 February 2017 to discuss matters concerning the Defence Reserves Association. Further to our discussion, you asked whether Reservists, who had served in the Solomon Islands would be eligible for Non-Liability Health Care (NlHC).

The deployments to the Solomon Islands are considered operational service under the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986. Those with operational service (including Reservists) are eligible for NLHC for:

  • cancer;
  • pulmonary tuberculosis;
  • post traumatic stress disorder;
  • anxiety disorder;
  • depressive disorder;
  • alcohol use disorder; and
  • substance use disorder.

Separate to this, from 1 July 2016, the Australian Government expanded eligibility for NLHC treatment of the five mental health conditions listed above, to all current and former members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with any period of continuous full-time service.

This means that all those who have served in the ADF permanent forces, and any Reservist with any period of continuous full-time service, are now eligible for NLHC for these mental health conditions, regardless of when they served, for how long, or the nature of that service.

The new arrangements also allow easier access for individuals, as they no longer need to complete an application form, but may instead email or phone through their requests for NLHC treatment.

In addition to this, a diagnosis of one of the above conditions is no longer required prior to being approved for NLHC treatment. Instead, a diagnosis from a general practitioner, psychiatrist or clinical psychologist must be provided to the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) within six months of approval. This allows time for a thorough mental health assessment and diagnosis process, and for treatment to commence. Once a diagnosis of one or more of the above mental health conditions is provided, treatment approval
becomes permanent.

If you would like to know more, please contact DVA on 133254 (metropolitan callers) or 1800555254 (regional callers) or email NLHC@dva.gov.au.

I look forward to continuing the productive relationship with your organisation to support Reservists.

Yours sincerely

Hon Dan Tehan MP


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