Defence Home Ownership Assistance Scheme (DHOAS) Explained

What is DHOAS?

The Defence Home Ownership Assistance Scheme (DHOAS) assists current and former Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and their families to achieve home ownership. DHOAS is administered by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs on behalf of the Department of Defence.

The Scheme is aimed at improving ADF recruitment and retention. The longer you serve in the ADF, the more entitlement you accrue under DHOAS and the longer you can receive assistance.

How does DHOAS work?

Administrated by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) as the DHOAS Scheme administrator. You can apply to DVA for a Subsidy Certificate, which will confirm your eligibility to DHOAS

There are three Home Loan Providers (HLP) appointed by the ADF to provide DHOAS home loans.

 

Logos of three DHOAS lenders

 

The portion of your home loan that will attract a DHOAS subsidy and the amount of your monthly subsidy payment, will depend on which of the three subsidy tiers you are eligible under, and how much you borrow up to your subsidised loan limit.

Note: There are many variables that might need to be considered in relation to your DHOAS entitlement, such as breaks in service, transferring between Reserves and Permanent Force, separation from the ADF, medical separation, lateral (foreign) service and eligible partners. 

How do I qualify for DHOAS?

To be eligible, you must have served on or after 1 July 2008 and completed a qualifying period of service (minimum of 2 years of consecutive Permanent ADF service or a minimum of 4 years of effective Reserve service of at least 20 paid days per financial year). You must have completed enough effective service to accrue a service credit.

You will need to take out a DHOAS home loan and meet the Scheme conditions, including occupancy requirements, to receive the monthly subsidy payments. 

Qualifying period for Permanent members

      • Two consecutive years of service. 

      • Leave without pay of less than 12 consecutive months can be taken without breaking continuity of service. However, the break will pause credit towards your qualifying period until you restart paid service. Continuity of service is broken if you separate from the ADF and re-enlist. You will need to re-start your qualifying period of two years from the date you re-enlist. 

      • Warlike service does not fast-track the qualifying period of two years.

    Qualifying period for Reserve members

        • Four years of effective Reserve service undertaken in consecutive, financial years. 

        • Effective service as a Reservist involves completing at least 20 days of paid service within a financial year.  

        • Continuity of service is broken if the minimum 20 days of paid service is not completed each financial year.  

        • If continuity is broken, you will need to re-start your qualifying period of four years from the financial year that you again undertake effective service.  

        • Warlike service does not fast-track the qualifying period of four years.

      Continuous Full-Time Service

          • Reservists can fast-track the qualifying period by completing more than six months of Continuous Full-Time Service (CFTS). CFTS periods of more than six months can be completed within one financial year, or span across two consecutive financial years. This means that in addition to being recognised for one year of effective service (for completing more than 20 days of paid service within the financial year), you also gain one extra year towards the four year qualifying period. 

          • This special condition does not apply to CFTS that is completed prior to taking a break in service of one year or more (which disrupts your continuity of service). 

          • This CFTS bonus does not apply after the qualifying period. Once you have completed your qualifying period, if you undertake CFTS you will accrue the standard one year of entitlement for undertaking one year of effective service. You will not gain another extra year towards your service credit or a higher subsidy tier.

        Combined Permanent and Reserve service

            • A special condition applies if you transfer from the Permanent Force to the Reserves, or vice versa, during your qualifying period
            • The years of eligible service you have completed in the Permanent Force will be doubled if you are counting it towards the four year Reserve qualifying period for DHOAS. And the years of service you complete in the Reserves will be halved if you are counting it towards the two year Permanent qualifying period. For example:
            • If you have completed one year of Permanent service it will contribute to two years of the four year Reserve qualifying period. 
            • If you completed two years of Reserve service, it will contribute to one year of the two year Permanent qualifying period. 

          What is my Entitlement?

          How long can I receive DHOAS?

          You can receive DHOAS for as long as you have a Service Credit and a DHOAS home loan into which your subsidy can be paid, and you meet the conditions of the Scheme. You can accrue and access entitlement as long as you serve in the ADF. After you separate, you can also access any remaining entitlement you have not used.

          However, the maximum term available for DHOAS assistance (while in the ADF and after separation) is 20 years without warlike service. If you’ve completed warlike service, you may be eligible for up to 25 years of assistance.

          How to apply for the Subsidy Certificate?

          You need to attach your complete service records, specifically a long version of your ADO Service Record, to your application.

          To apply, you can do it electronically via https://www.dhoas.gov.au/application_for_subsidy_certificate

          Can I receive a Lump Sum Payment?

          You may be able to receive a lump sum payment if you have accrued entitlement to DHOAS (that is, you have completed service after your qualifying period). You can convert up to four years of your Service Credit. For the purpose of calculating the lump sum, the Tier 1 subsidy amount is used (regardless of your eligible tier). Please note, your lump sum will not be paid on settlement and it can’t be used as an upfront deposit.

          What are the Scheme Conditions?

          You must live in the home for at least 12 months from when your subsidy starts. If you buy a home in good faith that you will be able to meet this condition, but then you receive a posting after you’ve moved into the house and your payments have started, you may be able to continue receiving your subsidy. To ensure your subsidy is not affected, you also need to apply for an occupancy reduction before you move out of the property. Please note, you are able to receive the payments if your family remains in the home while you are posted elsewhere. 

          A DHOAS loan can only be used for the following purposes: 

            • Purchase a home to live in. 
            • Purchase land and construct a home. 
            • Building, enlargement, renovation or repair of a home. 
            • Refinance an existing loan for one of the above purposes.

          Do I pay Fringe Benefits Tax?

          FBT is reportable under the legislation for DHOAS. This means that Defence will pay a portion of the grossed up value of the benefit.

          Reportable fringe benefits may be included in income tests for government benefits such as the Medicare levy, HECS, and child support obligations.

          If you are unsure, please enquire with STRIKE and we will point you to a qualified professional. 

          Separation from the ADF

          After separating, you will have only one opportunity to apply for a Subsidy Certificate and 12 months to use it. No extensions will be granted so it is important to apply for the certificate only when you are ready to pull the trigger on a purchase. It is important to note that if you separate from the ADF before completing 20 years of service, your subsidy payments will be paid at the Tier 1 level. If you complete 20 or more years, your payments will remain at the Tier 3 level.

          If you are a Reservist, you need to be aware that if you do not complete at least 20 days of paid Reserve service within a financial year, you will be deemed to be separated from the ADF and this can impact on your DHOAS eligibility and entitlement.

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