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3.6.3 Persons Automatically Considered to be Permanently Incapacitated

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Last amended: 4 October 2011

Consideration of permanent incapacity without medical examination – invalidity service pension

A person may be regarded as permanently incapacitated for the purpose of invalidity service pension without need to seek a medical examination where the person is:

  • blind in both eyes,
  • a special rate ([glossary:TPI:]) pensioner (but not receiving a temporary special rate colloquially known as TTI pension), or
  • manifestly disabled.
Consideration of permanent incapacity without medical examination – invalidity income support supplement

A person may be regarded as permanently incapacitated for the purpose of invalidity income support supplement (ISS) without the need to seek a medical examination where the person:

  • is blind in both eyes, or
  • has qualified for disability support pension from Centrelink within the last two years, or
  • is manifestly disabled.
Blind in both eyes

People who provide evidence of being permanently blind in both eyes are accepted as permanently incapacitated without further investigation. A determination of being permanently blind in both eyes is made on the basis of evidence from an ophthalmologist. The Snellen Scale is the specified tool which must be used to gain a measure of visual acuity.   

More ?

Reference library - Commission Guidelines 2007

CG/CM5829

More ? (go back)

People who are permanently blind in both eyes may be engaged in casual or full-time work without affecting their eligibility for invalidity service pension or invalidity ISS.

People in receipt of invalidity service pension or invalidity ISS because they are permanently blind in both eyes are not subject to the income or assets tests for pension purposes.     

Special (Totally and Permanently Incapacitated) Rate Pensioners

    

VEA ?

Special Rate of DP

Section 24 VEA

VEA ? (go back)

Pensioners in receipt of the special rate of disability pension on a permanent basis either because they are [glossary:T&PI:Def Special Rate (T&PI)] or are blind in both eyes, are automatically regarded as permanently incapacitated (for the purpose of invalidity service pension). Where such a person claims invalidity service pension, there will be no requirement for further medical examination.  Receipt of special rate is not an automatic qualification for invalidity ISS. However, in the majority of cases receipt of special rate would be sufficient to make a decision on permanent incapacity without further investigation.

Manifestly Disabled

In order to prevent veterans or invalidity ISS claimants being sent to medical examinations that are unnecessary, Commission has defined 'manifest'.    

Definition of manifest – service pension

'Manifest' for service pension purposes means that the veteran clearly and obviously meets the invalidity service pension eligibility criteria, based on the presenting medical evidence available to the Department. No additional medical assessment or work capacity test is required for the decision maker to form an opinion regarding 'permanently incapacitated'.

Definition of manifest – ISS

For invalidity ISS purposes, the definition of manifest is the definition used in the Guide to Social Security Law. This is because permanent incapacity for invalidity ISS purposes is assessed by using the impairment tables in the Social Security Act.     

More ?

Guide to Social Security Law 1.1.M.30 Manifest DSP

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'Manifest' means that the person is clearly and obviously medically qualified for invalidity ISS, based on the presenting medical evidence. No additional medical assessment is required for the decision-maker to form an opinion regarding medical qualification for invalidity ISS.


Permanent incapacity has two meanings depending on the context: (i) and (ii).

(i) for the purpose of invalidity service pension

pre 1/1/2000

The test of permanent incapacity for invalidity service pension changed with effect from 1/1/2000.  Prior to this date, a person was considered to be permanently incapacitated for work if the:

  •       person was permanently blinded in both eyes, or
  •       degree of permanent incapacity was 85% or more.

This prior test of permanent incapacity continues to apply (is saved) for persons who were receiving (or who had claimed) the invalidity payment prior to 1/1/2000.

post 1/1/2000

A person claiming service pension is permanently incapacitated for work for paragraph 37(1) (c) of the if the person:

  •       is permanently blind in both eyes, or
  •       is a veteran to whom section 24 of the VEA applies, or
  •       satisfies the subsection below.

A person satisfies this subsection if:

  •       the person has an impairment that, if it were an injury or disease for GARP, would result in a combined impairment rating of 40 or more under Table 18.1 in that Guide, and solely because of the impairment, the person is permanently unable to do work for periods adding up to more than 8 hours per week, and
  •       the Commission is satisfied that the impairment is permanent.

(ii) for the purpose of invalidity ISS

pre 1/1/2000

The test of permanent incapacity for invalidity ISS changed with effect from 1/1/2000. Prior to this date, a person was considered to be permanently incapacitated for work if the:

  •       person was permanently blinded in both eyes, or
  •       degree of permanent incapacity was 85% or more.

This prior test of permanent incapacity continues to apply (is saved) for persons who were receiving (or who had claimed) the invalidity payment prior to 1/1/2000.

post 1/1/2000

A person claiming ISS is permanently incapacitated for work if:

  •       the person is blind in both eyes, or
  •       the person has a physical intellectual or psychiatric impairment that results in 20 points or more under the Impairment Tables in Schedule 1B of the Social Security Act 1991, and
  •       the Commission is satisfied that solely because of the impairment, the person cannot work for at least 30 hours a week for the following 2 years.

 

 

A service pension is an income support payment broadly equivalent to the social security age and disability support pensions. It may be paid once a veteran or partner has reached the nominated age or is incapacitated for work.

A person may be regarded as permanently blinded in both eyes where:

  • there is a total loss of sight; or
  • visual acuity after correction with suitable lenses is less than 6/60 in both eyes on the Snellen Scale; or
  • where, in the written opinion of an ophthalmologist, the visual field deficits and/or combination of deficits results in a visual impairment which is the equivalent of a corrected visual acuity measure of less than 6/60 in both eyes.

The Commission Guideline CM5829: Determining 'permanently blind', 'no useful sight' and 'blinded in both eyes' may be instructive in making a blinded/blindness determination.

 

Permanent incapacity has two meanings depending on the context: (i) and (ii).

(i) for the purpose of invalidity service pension

pre 1/1/2000

The test of permanent incapacity for invalidity service pension changed with effect from 1/1/2000.  Prior to this date, a person was considered to be permanently incapacitated for work if the:

  •       person was permanently blinded in both eyes, or
  •       degree of permanent incapacity was 85% or more.

This prior test of permanent incapacity continues to apply (is saved) for persons who were receiving (or who had claimed) the invalidity payment prior to 1/1/2000.

post 1/1/2000

A person claiming service pension is permanently incapacitated for work for paragraph 37(1) (c) of the if the person:

  •       is permanently blind in both eyes, or
  •       is a veteran to whom section 24 of the VEA applies, or
  •       satisfies the subsection below.

A person satisfies this subsection if:

  •       the person has an impairment that, if it were an injury or disease for GARP, would result in a combined impairment rating of 40 or more under Table 18.1 in that Guide, and solely because of the impairment, the person is permanently unable to do work for periods adding up to more than 8 hours per week, and
  •       the Commission is satisfied that the impairment is permanent.

(ii) for the purpose of invalidity ISS

pre 1/1/2000

The test of permanent incapacity for invalidity ISS changed with effect from 1/1/2000. Prior to this date, a person was considered to be permanently incapacitated for work if the:

  •       person was permanently blinded in both eyes, or
  •       degree of permanent incapacity was 85% or more.

This prior test of permanent incapacity continues to apply (is saved) for persons who were receiving (or who had claimed) the invalidity payment prior to 1/1/2000.

post 1/1/2000

A person claiming ISS is permanently incapacitated for work if:

  •       the person is blind in both eyes, or
  •       the person has a physical intellectual or psychiatric impairment that results in 20 points or more under the Impairment Tables in Schedule 1B of the Social Security Act 1991, and
  •       the Commission is satisfied that solely because of the impairment, the person cannot work for at least 30 hours a week for the following 2 years.

 

 

A service pension is an income support payment broadly equivalent to the social security age and disability support pensions. It may be paid once a veteran or partner has reached the nominated age or is incapacitated for work.

ISS is an income support payment that may be paid to eligible war widows and widowers under the VEA and persons receiving wholly dependent partners' compensation under the MRCA, and who satisfy the means tests. It is an indexed rate, increased twice-yearly in March and September in line with changes to the cost of living and/or average wages. Income Support Supplement (ISS) legislation commenced on 20 March 1995. It is a payment created to replace the ceiling rate income support age, carer, wife and disability support pensions, paid to war widows/widowers by Centrelink.

 

 

Disability pension, for the purposes of service pension and income support supplement, means:

  • a pension paid for incapacity from war caused conditions, or peacetime, peacekeeping or hazardous service caused conditions (other than a war widow's or orphan's pension); or
  • temporary incapacity allowance; or
  • any other payment in respect of incapacity or death resulting from war or war-like operations in which the Crown has been engaged [usually paid by another Commonwealth country].

A person may be regarded as permanently blinded in both eyes where:

  • there is a total loss of sight; or
  • visual acuity after correction with suitable lenses is less than 6/60 in both eyes on the Snellen Scale; or
  • where, in the written opinion of an ophthalmologist, the visual field deficits and/or combination of deficits results in a visual impairment which is the equivalent of a corrected visual acuity measure of less than 6/60 in both eyes.

The Commission Guideline CM5829: Determining 'permanently blind', 'no useful sight' and 'blinded in both eyes' may be instructive in making a blinded/blindness determination.

 

Permanent incapacity has two meanings depending on the context: (i) and (ii).

(i) for the purpose of invalidity service pension

pre 1/1/2000

The test of permanent incapacity for invalidity service pension changed with effect from 1/1/2000.  Prior to this date, a person was considered to be permanently incapacitated for work if the:

  •       person was permanently blinded in both eyes, or
  •       degree of permanent incapacity was 85% or more.

This prior test of permanent incapacity continues to apply (is saved) for persons who were receiving (or who had claimed) the invalidity payment prior to 1/1/2000.

post 1/1/2000

A person claiming service pension is permanently incapacitated for work for paragraph 37(1) (c) of the if the person:

  •       is permanently blind in both eyes, or
  •       is a veteran to whom section 24 of the VEA applies, or
  •       satisfies the subsection below.

A person satisfies this subsection if:

  •       the person has an impairment that, if it were an injury or disease for GARP, would result in a combined impairment rating of 40 or more under Table 18.1 in that Guide, and solely because of the impairment, the person is permanently unable to do work for periods adding up to more than 8 hours per week, and
  •       the Commission is satisfied that the impairment is permanent.

(ii) for the purpose of invalidity ISS

pre 1/1/2000

The test of permanent incapacity for invalidity ISS changed with effect from 1/1/2000. Prior to this date, a person was considered to be permanently incapacitated for work if the:

  •       person was permanently blinded in both eyes, or
  •       degree of permanent incapacity was 85% or more.

This prior test of permanent incapacity continues to apply (is saved) for persons who were receiving (or who had claimed) the invalidity payment prior to 1/1/2000.

post 1/1/2000

A person claiming ISS is permanently incapacitated for work if:

  •       the person is blind in both eyes, or
  •       the person has a physical intellectual or psychiatric impairment that results in 20 points or more under the Impairment Tables in Schedule 1B of the Social Security Act 1991, and
  •       the Commission is satisfied that solely because of the impairment, the person cannot work for at least 30 hours a week for the following 2 years.