There is a wide range of support available for ADF members and their families.
As a permanent resident of Australia you will be able to access the Department of Human Services which delivers a range of social and health related payments and services to the Australian community including support for families, childcare, job seekers, people with a disability and migrants.
Australia also has a national, tax-funded health scheme called Medicare . Medicare provides access to medical and hospital services for all Australian residents and certain categories of visitors to Australia. Once permanent residency is established, a partner (if applicable) of an ADF member must apply for a Medicare card for themselves and their dependants.
The ADF member is covered by the medical and dental system as part of the conditions of service.
The national ADF Family Health program is available to all ADF recognised dependants, irrespective of location. The program offers access to free basic health care for recognised dependants of ADF members. Families can be reimbursed for visits to a general practitioner, all Medicare-recognised services, and a range of allied health care services such as dental care, optometry and physiotherapy. For more information or to download application forms, visit the National ADF Family Health Program website.
Defence Community Organisation (DCO) offers a broad range of programs and services to assist Defence families make the most of the opportunities and challenges that come with the military way of life. You should become familiar with and utilise the services DCO offers you and your family.
ADF members and their families can receive support from a social worker or family liaison officer, as well as assistance for dependants with special needs, crisis and emergency assistance, education support for children and assistance for members leaving the ADF. DCO can also link families to community groups and local services.
DCO also provides the Partner Employment Assistance Program (PEAP), designed to assist partners to gain employment. Partners of ADF members are able to apply for assistance under this program once the minimum four years service (either in a foreign defence force or combined with service in the ADF) is met.
For more information on services and programs explore the website or contact the Defence Family Helpline.
For support, help, or advice at any time, the Defence Family Helpline, 1800 624 608, operates on a 24 hour 7 days a week basis and is staffed by qualified human services professionals, including social workers and psychologists.
To have your family recognised by Defence as having a dependant with special needs, you will need to undertake a recognition process. You can call the DCO Helpline on 1800 624 608 for more information and support. The Defence Special Needs Support Group (DSNSG) provides support to families who have a dependant with special needs. You can establish contact by email - firstname.lastname@example.org or visit DSNSG for further information.
You should consult the ADF Financial Services Consumer Council publication 'You and Your Money in Australia' to ensure that you have an understanding of your general obligations and entitlements regarding your financial matters. The publication contains very useful information on citizenship, tax, health care, retirement benefits, insurance, banking, housing, buying a car, social security, child support, foreign country pension schemes, universities, wills and estates, powers of attorney and more. Visit the ADF Financial Services Consumer Council - Transferring to the ADF from Overseas for more information.
Defence Families of Australia (DFA) is the official Defence organisation that represents the views of Defence families to Government and Defence on the needs of the ADF family. DFA consults with Defence's own support agencies, such as DCO and the National Welfare Coordination Centre, but acts only as an advocate, not as a support provider. ADF families can contact DFA to represent them regarding an individual situation or to advocate an issue concerning many families.