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23.1.1 Basic steps to follow when telephoning a claimant
If a claimant does not have a representative, or if a claimant's representative does not object to the Delegate's contacting the claimant directly, Delegates must adhere to the following protocols whenever contacting a claimant by telephone:
1.The Delegate must clearly identify himself/herself as a compensation Delegate who works with the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission of the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
2.The Delegate should ask the claimant if he/she is prepared to discuss the matter immediately or if he/she would prefer the Delegate to phone again at an agreed time.
3.If the claimant is prepared to discuss the matter on the phone, he/she must be advised (in accordance with Information Privacy Principle 2):
- that the Delegate is phoning in relation to the claimant's application for compensation benefits under the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988
- of the purpose of seeking information directly from the claimant, and
- of other persons or agencies to whom any information obtained may be disclosed.
4.The Delegate should inform the claimant of the possible implications in providing further information which may not support the claim for compensation (i.e. it may be necessary to disallow the claim or to determine that there is no longer liability to pay compensation).
5.If the claimant appears not to understand the matters raised during a telephone conversation, he/she should be encouraged to seek assistance from an ex-service organisation representative. (Note: Claimants should neither be encouraged nor discouraged from engaging the services of a solicitor if that possibility is raised. However, in such circumstances, Delegates might reasonably advise the claimant that he/she should consider whether the cost of such representation is necessary before a matter is actually determined under the SRC Act. Delegates might also reasonably point out that reconsideration of decisions under the Act is available at no cost to the claimant if he/she is unhappy with almost any decision made under the SRC Act and that assistance is available at no cost through ex-service organisations.)