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20.16 Incapacity Payments and mandatory Rehabilitation

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Section 36(1) of the SRCA provides that:

36(1) Where an employee suffers an injury resulting in an incapacity for work or an impairment, the rehabilitation authority may at any time, and shall on the written request of the employee, arrange for the assessment of the employee's capability of undertaking a rehabilitation program.

Comcare guidelines require any person who has been incapacitated for work over 10 continuous days due to a compensable injury, to be referred for a rehabilitation assessment. This Comcare requirement should be applied to DVA clients. Furthermore, the Defcare case management system also automatically refers to Rehabilitation Coordinators, those clients who meet certain other criteria (i.e. those medically discharged, those suffering from a psychiatric incapacity etc.).

This means in practice, that every person in receipt of regular weekly incapacity payments should be formally assessed under S36, to establish if a rehabilitation program would be of benefit.