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9.1.5 Travel and/or accommodation in order to attend or collect medical evidence for a hearing of the Veterans' Review Board
The MRCA provides for reimbursement of the cost of transport or accommodation connected with travel for the purposes of attending or obtaining medical evidence for a hearing of the VRB. These provisions are contained within the applied provisions table in section 353 of the MRCA that adopts subsections 132(5) and (6), 170B(1) and 171(1) of the VEA.
This adoption of the VEA's provisions for travel and accommodation goes outside the usual intent of provision for reimbursement of other travel covered under the MRCA. The VRB provisions adopted from the VEA and the VEA's Regulations allow only for reimbursement of costs similar to those covered by the Repatriation Transport Scheme. These include:
- reimbursement for the cost of transport, accommodation and meals (at set rates, not as reasonable costs incurred under the other travel provisions of the MRCA);
- inclusion of parking fees and road tolls incurred in the prescribed travelling period;
- a specified rate per kilometre applies to travel by private motor;
- actual fares are reimbursed for the cost of public transport;
- accommodation costs incurred are reimbursed at a prescribed rate per night, dependent on the type of accommodation used (such as commercial, subsidised or private);
- meals are paid for part-day travel where the person does not stay overnight in accommodation and the distance travelled exceeds either 50km or 200km.
These differences apply only to hearings of the VRB and travel undertaken for acquiring medical evidence for the purposes of a VRB hearing. However, the adoption of the VEA regulations for this purpose has effectively created two separate systems of travel reimbursement under the MRCA. Delegates must be mindful of this distinction when dealing with claims that have been elevated to the VRB for review.