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13.06 Ceasing to meet the criteria for Special Rate Disability Pension
Section 209  of the MRCA states that SRDP is no longer payable if the former member's impairment from all service conditions constitutes fewer than 50 points, or if they are able to undertake remunerative work for more than 10 hours per week.
If a former member who has chosen to receive the SRDP later fails to meet the criteria, he or she is taken not to have chosen to receive the SRDP and they revert to incapacity payments based on the formula NE less AE.
SRDP is not payable to a former member during any period of imprisonment in connection with a conviction of an offence.
Re-assessment of SRDP should not be actively pursued unless the person has returned to remunerative work for more than 10 hours per week.
13.06.1 Returning to employment while SRDP eligible
There may be cases where an SRDP eligible person subsequently returns to remunerative work. The person should be provided appropriate supports to sustain that employment, for example support available through a rehabilitation program. Where a person obtains employment for more than 10 hours per week their payments will revert to incapacity payments, and any AE from employment is held in calculations.
The existing medical evidence should indicate that a person is incapacitated due to their accepted condition/s, and this evidence should be used as the basis to make incapacity payments following return to work. If a person returns to work as part of a rehabilitation plan, appropriate medical guidance supporting the return to that employment should be obtained throughout the rehabilitation process.
It is likely that a person’s capacity for work will fluctuate over time. In the event that a person was SRDP eligible but is unable to continue in their employment to due to their injury/s, or the work ultimately proves to be unsuitable or unsustainable, the person should not be deemed with an ability to earn.
A new offer for SRDP should be made if the person again meets the SRDP eligibility criteria.
13.06.2 Effect of ceasing to meet criteria on ancillary benefits
Once a person is eligible to receive SRDP, ceasing to meet the criteria at a later date (and being ineligible for SRDP at that time) will not remove eligibility for the ancillary benefits, such as the 'TPI' embossed Gold Card, access to MRCAETS for eligible young persons and coverage for death benefits. In these cases the legislation only requires that the person is eligible for SRDP or has satisfied the criteria for SRDP eligibility during some period of his or her life.
13.06.3 Effect of ceasing to meet criteria on Invalidity Service Pension
A person receiving Invalidity Service Pension (ISP) under the Veteran’s Entitlement Act 1986 (VEA), on the basis of being SRDP eligible, would cease to be eligible for ISP if the cease to meet the eligibility criteria for SRDP. This is because the person is not considered ‘permanently incapacitated for work’ for ISP purposes. As the person is no longer eligible for ISP, any Partner Service Pension (PSP), paid to the person’s partner also ceases.
If a person was receiving ISP on the basis of being SRDP eligible, a determination letter should be issued to cease eligibility and the income support area informed.
Link to the relevant determination: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2013L00997