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  1. Many conditions of service differ depending on whether a member has any recognised dependants. This Part summarises the following.

    1. The dependant categories a member is assigned.

    2. Who dependants are.

  2. This Part is a guide only. Dependants and dependant categories are recognised against specific criteria. These are listed in Chapter 1 Part 3 Division 2. All decisions about a member's dependants will be made against the rules in Chapter 1, not the descriptions in this Part.

8.1.1 Definitions

8.1.2 Emergency situation

Categories of member – dependants

  1. Members will be placed in one of three categories.

    1. Members with dependants (MWD).

    2. Members with dependants (unaccompanied) (MWD(U)).

    3. Members without dependants (MWOD).

  2. The categories are used to determine what conditions of service the member is eligible for.

  3. The terms have the following meanings.

    1. Member with dependants means the member has in their household people who meet the definition of dependant. They need to be providing a home for them at the posting location, and live in it with at least one dependant.

    2. Member with dependants (unaccompanied) means the member provides a home for dependants, but is unable to live with the dependants for Service-related reasons.

      Example: he member is required to serve at another location and the dependants are unable to move for recognised reasons such as health, or employment or educational commitments.

    3. Member without dependants means the member does not qualify under one of the other two categories above.

      Example 1: A married couple are both members. One member is at sea, and the other lives in. Neither member is providing a home for the other. They both must be classified as members without dependants. This is despite them both having a spouse.

      Example 2: A member is divorced, and has a child who lives with their other parent. The member makes regular child support payments and is in regular telephone and email contact with the child, but visits are only occasional. The member does not maintain a home for the child for 90 or more nights a year. The child does not meet the definition of a dependant. The member is classified as a member without dependants.

  4. The full definition of dependant categories can be found in Chapter 1 Part 3 Division 2.

Recognition of dependants



  1. A member's dependants are any of the following:

    1. Their partner, even if they are not financially dependent. There is more information about partners in the next Part.

    2. Their dependent children who are under 21 years. There is no means test on child income. Their partner's children are also covered. Older children may be dependants if they have a disability.

    3. In some circumstances, a person acting as a guardian or housekeeper, if the member has a dependent child and no partner (or their partner is an invalid, or absent on ADF duty).

    4. Other persons recognised as dependants by the CDF under Chapter 1 Part 3 Division 2. Members need to apply and request special consideration of their particular circumstances.

  2. A dependant must normally live with the member.

  3. The full definition of dependants can be found in Chapter 1 Part 3 Division 1.

  4. If a member seeks recognition of persons other than a partner, children or guardian/housekeeper as dependants, they must do the following.

    1. Apply through their unit or administration centre of their respective service.

    2. Include a supporting statement addressing why they should be considered a dependant.

    3. Provide any documentation or evidence which supports the application.

      Example: Proof of guardianship, medical reports on the health of an elderly parent.

Applying for dependant category status

  1. A member's family circumstances may change over time. The member may need to change their category.

  2. Members must ensure that an accurate record is kept of their marital status and number of children. They must seek special approval for de facto marriage and approval of other persons as dependants in special circumstances.

  3. Members must inform their unit or administration centre if family circumstances change. This may require a change in their category.

  4. Because many conditions of service depend on their category, a member who fails to do this might be wrongly paid. This may be an offence.

Pay and conditions manual

Visit the Afghanistan Inquiry website for information and welfare support regarding The Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force’s (IGADF) Afghanistan Inquiry.