You are here
22.2.1 An important responsibility
The SRC Act provides compensation benefits for injuries suffered by members of the Defence Force which are caused or contributed to in a material degree by their military service. It is an important responsibility of MRCC staff to ensure that this fundamental element of the Military Compensation Scheme is maintained, and, as an inevitable consequence of this responsibility, some claims by members must be denied because they lack the necessary employment nexus or for other good reasons under the Act. The importance of this responsibility is illustrated by a number of considerations:
- if an 'accept initial liability' decision is incorrect, there could be very significant financial costs to the Commonwealth over the life of the claim through a combination of incapacity, permanent impairment and other forms of compensation.
- if an 'accept initial liability' decision is incorrect, it causes an inequity in relation to other members of the ADF in similar circumstances, and may later have a very unfavourable impact on the client if liability is subsequently ceased upon a review of entitlement.
- if an 'accept initial liability' decision is poorly documented, it may be difficult to determine continuing entitlement at a later review stage and it may also be difficult to deal accurately with claims for aggravation, recurrence or permanent impairment allegedly linked to the original injury.
- if a 'denial of liability' decision is incorrect there could be very significant financial disadvantage to the claimant and/or their family, particularly if reconsideration rights are not advised or exercised. It likewise causes an inequity in relation to other members in similar circumstances and reflects poorly on the Government and the Department's commitment to those who served.
- a 'denial of liability' is simply a statement that the injury is not compensable under the SRC Act; it is not usually a statement that the claimant does not suffer any injury. Where an injury is not compensable under the SRC Act, the client may have recourse to other forms of compensation or support, including superannuation, social security, health benefits, disability insurance, motor vehicle accident compensation, etc.
- the SRC Act includes a well developed system of reconsideration and review, providing both a safeguard against an initial incorrect decision to deny liability and an opportunity for clients to gather further and better evidence in relation to their claim.