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20.8.2 Significance of an involuntary medical (MEC4) discharge

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Medical dischargees are, virtually by definition, incapacitated for ADF employment.

However, not all members who have been involuntarily medically discharged are incapacitated for all civilian employment. The ADF requires – as a condition of continued employment – very high standards of personal physical fitness and functional ability from its members. All ADF members must be able to fight as well as perform a peacetime role. This means that they must be capable of deployment to operational (warlike) service, and to reliably perform physically and mentally demanding tasks under combat conditions and in locations where there may be no medical support for an ongoing condition. An injured member may therefore be involuntarily medically discharged from the ADF for a failure to meet the high fitness and health standards for deployment, yet still be capable of earning an equivalent income in alternative civilian employment. This is because civilian employment does not of course require combat readiness or the ability to serve in a war zone.

Nevertheless, and regardless of the residual capacity for civilian employment, a medical discharge provides a medical opinion (i.e. of an official Medical Board), that the client is incapacitated for the full range of requirements of ADF employment.

Thus, the very fact of a medical discharge provides a medically certified entitlement to payment, current at and from the date of discharge (see 20.8.3).