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8.3.4 SRCA coverage of operational service
Last amended: 12 April 2011
However, Operational Service (although not titled as such by the SRCA itself), has great significance for the coverage of the SRCA. The actual legislative interaction is somewhat complex, i.e.:
- Subsection 5(10) of the SRCA excludes from compensation, injuries etc. received solely during service for which the VE — A provides a benefit subject to the exceptions in (10A), (10B), (10C) and (10D). In fact these provisions operate to encompass the subsections of the VEA which deal with benefits specifically in respect to 'operational service' declared under the VEA.
- Subsequently, an amendment – subsection 5(10A) – of the SRCA cancelled the action of subsection5(10) in relation to all performed service after the commencing day of the Military Compensation Act 1994.
However, in practice the outcome is simple. The VEA prevented the Compensation Acts from covering operational service from 1949 to 1994. After 7 April 1994 both the VEA and the SRCA can cover operational service.
Note: Subsection 5(10) is written in terms of it being the member's service 'in respect of which provision for the payment of pension is made by the VEA'. This does not suggest it is necessary to determine whether an injury/disease would be accepted under the VEA, only that it is necessary to determine which period(s) of service led to the condition.
At the primary and reconsideration decision making stage, claims assessors need to be clear on the causation of the condition and therefore the periods of service that apply. If these are periods of operational service only, then the SRCA cannot apply. However if a material contribution to the condition is related to a period of SRCA service, then s 5(10) does not deny claims under that Act.
Where this situation arises, and compensation (including permanent impairment compensation, incapacity payments, death benefits etc) is being paid for an injury/disease under both the VEA and the SRCA, then the relevant offsetting provisions will apply.