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20.5.2 Minimum requirements of a valid medical certificate of incapacity
To effectively validate incapacity payments, a medical certificate:
- must clearly state the medical cause of the incapacity, and/or list all conditions contributing to it (Note: Naturally to be valid for DVA compensation purposes the certificate must include the compensable injury as one of those causative factors)
- must clearly state the degree of incapacity, for instance wholly incapacitated for all work, or partly incapacitated all work or capable with work with some restrictions. If only partly incapacitated, the certificate should indicate the residual capacity i.e. in terms of daily hours and days per week. If capable of some work but with restrictions those restrictions should be clearly specified, for example... 'no bending or stooping' or 'no lifting more than 10k' etc.
- must specify the period of the incapacity i.e. contain both the start and end date of the period certified. Open-ended certificates and those claiming the client is 'incapacitated indefinitely' or 'Totally and Permanently Incapacitated' are not acceptable (see 20.5.3 and 20.11)
- must identify the doctor in addition to a signature (i.e. an indecipherable signature is not sufficient identification), and the address, phone or contact details of that doctor
- must contain the date that the doctor examined the client.
DVA has a standard form of medical certificate of incapacity, which provides for all of the above. This form should be provided with the Incapacity claim form to the client for his/her doctor to complete.
A further copy should be forwarded with any determination granting weekly payments for a period, i.e. for use in certifying any further period or continuation of the existing period of incapacity.
'Workcover' style medical certificates – i.e. those devised for State workers compensation Acts – also provide for all the information required for the SRCA (i.e. see the previous dot points) and delegates may advise clients/doctors that, properly completed, these certificates are also acceptable in lieu of the preferred DVA form.
Important note: Delegates should not make weekly payments for incapacity, unless or until a satisfactory medical certificate is received.