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The Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Scheme (DFRDB) is available for eligible serving members of the Australian Defence Force.

  • Opened on 1 October 1972

  • Closed to new members on 30 September 1991

  • DFRDB is a Defined Benefit scheme. This means your benefit is calculated based on a formula.

The following information outlines the general workings of the fund and is not intended for preserved members, pensioners or those with a spouse account or associate benefit.
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How it works

As a DFRDB member, your benefit depends on your completed years of service and super salary at retirement. If you’ve completed more than 20 years of effective service, you’ll be entitled to a lifetime fortnightly pension, also referred to as ‘retirement pay’.

Learn more about How it works

You and your employer make contributions

  • Unless you’ve reached 40 years of effective service, you’re required to make member contributions each fortnight from your after-tax salary.
  • These contributions are paid at 5.5% of your super salary, and you can’t vary this contribution rate.
  • Employer productivity contributions are 3% of your super salary, and are paid by the ADF on your behalf.
  • Both member and productivity contributions are paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
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Boost your savings

As a contributing DFRDB member, you also have access to a MilitarySuper Ancillary Membership. A MilitarySuper ancillary account may be able to accept contributions that aren’t permitted to be paid into DFRDB, such as salary sacrifice and spouse contributions. You can add extra money to your super by making before and after-tax contributions, or consolidating your super by transferring money from other super funds, to a MilitarySuper ancillary account.

Learn more about Boost your savings
Retirement or transition

Leaving the ADF?

If you retire or transition to civilian life, you may be eligible for retirement pay (pension) plus an optional commutation (lump sum) benefit of up to five times your annual rate of retirement pay (pension), and a lump sum of your Productivity Benefit (which is subject to cashing restrictions).

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We invest your money

While your member and productivity contributions are paid to the Consolidated Revenue Fund and aren’t invested, any contributions paid into a MilitarySuper ancillary account are invested. You can choose from four investment strategies – Cash, Balanced (default), Income Focused and Aggressive. You can choose to invest your ancillary contributions in one investment strategy or a combination of these options. Your MilitarySuper Ancillary Benefit will reflect the amount of contributions made and the investment returns.

Learn more about We invest your money Member & employer contributions

Fees and costs

As a DFRDB member, you do not pay any administration or other ongoing fees. We do not charge any investment fees directly to your account. However, fees and costs that relate to the investment of your ancillary contributions are deducted from investment returns.

Built in Death and Invalidity Cover

As a contributing DFRDB member, you’re eligible for automatic Death and Invalidity Cover at no cost.

Invalidity benefits

Generally, you are covered for an Invalidity Benefit based on your degree of incapacity for civilian employment. You’ll be classified as either Class A (60% or more incapacity), Class B (30% or more but less than 60%) or Class C (less than 30%). If you’re classified as class A or B, benefits are generally payable.

ADF medical transition ADF member guide to invalidity

Death benefits

Death Benefits are generally payable to eligible dependants or your estate, in the event of your death. The benefits payable will depend on who is receiving them.

The amount we pay varies depending on whether you die in service or after you retire.

DFRDB booklet

We're your guide

As a DFRDB member, you can access free education material to help you make the most of your super through webinars, videos and seminars. We also have in-house CSC financial planners* who can help guide you through your retirement journey, for a fee.

Download more information


This booklet has been designed to provide you with information on the main features of DFRDB. This booklet covers how your benefits are calculated when you leave the Australian Defence Force (ADF). You should use this booklet to help gain an understanding of your entitlements under DFRDB.

MilitarySuper Ancillary benefit

Some super contributions can’t be made to DFRDB or MilitarySuper. Instead, they can be paid to your MilitarySuper ancillary benefit, and claimed as an additional lump sum. This factsheet is for DFRDB and MilitarySuper members who have an ancillary benefit.