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6.3.10 Incapacity Payments for Aggravations

Section 88 (for serving members) and section 119 (for former members) provide that liability to pay incapacity payments in respect of an aggravated injury or disease only exists for as long as the effects of the aggravation exists.

It would generally be expected that conditions for which we have accepted liability for the aggravation of signs and symptoms under section 30 of the MRCA would be temporary in nature.

Any cases that are accepted under section 30 should only have incapacity payments paid for a limited time, that is, for the period the sign or symptom is aggravated.  For example, where a Reservist is attending a field exercise and due to environmental factors suffers severe hay-fever is sent home from the exercise.  The person would be entitled to loss of pay and allowances for the duration of the exercise, but not after the symptoms of that episode have resolved.  When the condition resolves to its usual symptomology (even if active), compensation is no longer payable.

Case study

A Petty Officer has an ongoing ankle condition (not service related and from which he experiences an ongoing low level of pain),then he twists his ankle on ship and pain and tenderness increase.  Medical evidence indicates that this is just a temporary episode and that it will resolve within 2 weeks.  As his underlying ankle condition results in pain he has to leave the ship and he loses allowances.  The allowances for the two week period are compensable.  However the ongoing pain which he experiences normally has resulted in a reassessment of his medical status and he is not able to go back on ship for a further six months.  This is due to the underlying condition and not to the aggravation of signs and symptoms for which we have accepted liability.  Any lost allowances during the subsequent six months are not compensable.

Incapacity delegates will need to be careful to understand the distinction between the affects of the underlying condition and the affects of signs and symptoms only.