How do I become recognised as a partner?
A more contemporary and simplified process for the way Defence recognises registered and de facto relationships has been introduced. The updated policy and procedures will ensure alignment with community expectations and legislative expectations requirements.
All couples must now provide a minimum of one piece of evidence to support recognition of their relationship.
There is no longer a mandatory waiting or cohabitation period before a couple can apply for recognition providing they usually live together.
The policy for recognising children as dependants of ADF members has also been enhanced, starting 1 July 2016. The key changes to the policy relate solely to long-term foster children and expanding the coverage of dependants based on the member’s future arrangements.
Changes to the Dependants Determination take effect 1 July 2016.
The Pay and Conditions Website provides detailed information sheets about the new policy.
There are two separate steps in the process:
- recognition of the relationship, and
- determination of the categorisation and benefits that apply to a member.
Married couples and couples with state-based relationship registration should complete web-form AD150 ADF Personal Data and submit their marriage or relationship certificates as evidence.
De facto couples should complete the Application for Recognition of a De Facto Relationship form and attach a minimum of one piece of evidence, which might be a rental agreement, joint bank account or utility bill. The evidence provided should show that that a couple lives together on a genuine domestic basis.
An approving authority must accept the member's statement unless it is reasonable to believe there is a need for more information.
Long-term foster children under the care of an ADF member are now referred to as children with a permanent court order, aligning with current community standards. These children are now covered by Defence policy.
Members must inform their Commanding Officer if their family circumstances change within 14 days. Defence may change a member’s relationship status at any time if incorrect information is provided, and the member may be subject to additional administrative or disciplinary action.
For more information on the changes to this policy, please visit the Pay and Conditions website.
Why is the Next of Kin so important?
All ADF members are required to list a Next of Kin in the Defence Human Resources Database, PMKeys. If there is no recognised partner, Next of Kin may be an unrecognised partner, parent or friend.
Next of Kin are entitled to Defence support in the event of an emergency. It is extremely important to ensure that Next of Kin information on the PMKeys Database is up to date, including current addresses and phone numbers.
Remember to call the National Welfare Coordination Centre on 1800 801 026 to update your details if you go on holiday during the ADF member’s deployment period.
How can I access a Defence base?
Access any base in Australia (subject to security requirements of the base) with a National Defence Families Access Card. Ask your serving member to download the required form from the Defence Restricted Network. You will also need a print out from PMKeys stating that you are a dependant of that member. The member’s unit security officer will need to then sign the form. Then your serving member can make an appointment, which both of you must attend in order for your photo to be taken and the card issued, with their local Defence Support and Reform Group (DSRG, the consolidated service delivery organisation for Defence) customer service centre.
Can family members choose to not go to a new posting locality?
ADF members who are required to relocate on posting have the opportunity to choose geographical stability for their families. This means that families may elect to remain in their current location, while the ADF members proceed on their new postings unaccompanied.
The ADF member is then classified Member With Dependants (Unaccompanied) or MWDU.
Families have many reasons for choosing not to move to a new location with the member such as schooling for the children, a partner continuing current employment or staying close to family support.
Choosing to go MWDU is a significant family decision and there are many factors to consider.
Access the DCO website to view their fact sheet about MWDU.
View www.defence.gov.au/dco/ > Resources > Downloads
Call the Defence Family Helpline on 1800 624 608 if you would like to make an appointment with a DCO Social Worker.
Same Sex Couples
In October 2005, the Australian Defence Force amended some of its regulations to ensure parity of treatment between heterosexual de facto and married couples, same-sex couples and people in other close interdependent relationships.
The changes affected policies on:
- on and off-base accommodation;
- relocation expenses and travel benefits;
- leave entitlements personal and carers leave policies;
- education and training.
Since 2008, the ADF also gives equal access to superannuation and death benefits for same-sex partnerships.
Defence LGBTI Information Service
DEFGLIS is an organisation of Regular, Reserve and civilian members of the Australian Defence Organisation who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, intersex and transgender (LGBTI).
Next of Kin
The ADF requires members to list a family member as Next of Kin (NOK). In the event of an emergency during regular employment, exercise or deployment, the ADF will contact the Next of Kin. Relevant support services will be offered to the Next of Kin during deployments and emergencies. If you are the Next of Kin for your son or daughter, ensure they have updated your details, including phone numbers and addresses in the Defence human resources system PMKeys, particularly before a deployment.
A full range of support services and entitlements are extended to Recognised Dependants of ADF Members. Usually the standard definition of Recognised Dependants refers to de facto partners, spouses and children.
Parents can be classified as Recognised Dependants in certain cases with the approval of the Chief of the Defence Force. For example, a person acting as a guardian or housekeeper may be approved under the recognition process if the member has a dependent child and no spouse or interdependent partner. Approval may also granted if the spouse or partner is an invalid or absent for service reasons.
A parent may also be considered to be recognised as a Dependant where the parent lives with the member, receives substantial financial support from the member and/or personal care from the member.
See the section on how to become a recognised dependent for more information.
Units and ships support the family of deployed ADF members through a designated welfare officer or commander.
Some units and ships issue newsletters and organise information sessions, farewells, social events or welcome home events before, during and after deployments to give families information on deployment missions and support services. Parents are welcome to join these functions on most occasions.
In some locations the Defence Community Organisation run information workshops and social events for families of deployed members. Parents are welcome to join these events on most occasions.
Defence Family Helpline
Parents can call the Defence Family Helpline on 1800 624 608 or email DefenceFamilyHelpline@defence.gov.au for a response within 24 hours.
The Defence Community Organisation has also produced several fact sheets for parents.
View www.defence.gov.au/dco > Resources > Downloads
Lateral Recruit Families
Overseas Recruit Families Information and Support is an Australian support group for families of ADF members which have been recruited following experience in foreign defence forces.
Defence Community Organisation provides a broad range of support services to the families of Reserve members, particularly when the Reservist is on continuous full-time service or away on deployment or exercise. View their website for more information.
The Reserve Assistance Program can provide counselling face-to-face, by telephone or email or over the internet if the appropriate equipment is available. To access the Reserve Assistance Program contact a counsellor on 1300 361 008.
Members on full-time service (Continuous Full Time Service, or Permanent Force members) should seek assistance through their local garrison health facility. For advice on access to services after hours these members should call 1800 IMSICK.
For more information on Defence’s Mental Health Programs visit http://www.defence.gov.au/health/dmh/i-dmh.htm.
Defence Reserves Support (DRS)
DRS provides a link between the ADF, employers and the community.
Reserves Information on PACMAN – the ADF Pay and Conditions Manual
Defence Transition Support Services
This website has a listing of ADF Transition Centres around Australia and an overview of services available. Transition Case Workers in each centre oversee matters such as removals to home locations for ADF members which are eligible.
View the Defence Community Organisation website to access information such as the ADF Transition Handbook and the dates of Transition Seminars.
http://www.defence.gov.au/dco/ > Moving Back Into Civilian Life
Researchers sometimes ask Defence Families of Australia to advertise their projects to Defence families. We only support research projects that have both organisational and ethical approval from the Department of Defence. To ask about obtaining this approval, please contact the Department of Defence’s Directorate of Strategic People Research at the following email address: email@example.com