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10.12.1 Who is an eligible person for the MVCS?
An eligible person under the MVCS is a person who has:
- suffered an impairment as a result of an accepted MRCA condition; and
- because of that impairment, has a need for compensation under the MVCS; and
- has submitted a claim for compensation under section 319 of the MRCA.
This includes serving members who have not been identified as “likely to discharge” or reached the point of separation, Reservists on CFTS, part time Reservists and ADF Cadets, Officer of Cadets and Instructors of Cadets.
Impairment as defined by section 5 of the MRCA means the loss, the loss of the use, or the damage or malfunction, of any part of the person’s body, of any bodily system or function, or any part of such a system or function.
It is important to note that a person can have suffered impairment for the purposes of the MVCS without a permanent impairment compensation determination having been made. However, in most cases the impairment must be stabilised for the person to be an eligible person under the MVCS. This ensures that the vehicle that is modified or provided through the Scheme is able to meet the person’s ongoing needs.
As with other activities under a psychosocial rehabilitation plan, a delegate must consider whether transport would assist the person to participate in social, recreational and community activities in line with community standards. Further information about psychosocial rehabilitation can be found in chapter 6 of this Guide.
A person with an accepted aggravation will only be eligible under the MVCS if it is because of the aggravation that compensation is needed.
A person is an eligible person under the MVCS if, because of their impairment, the person:
- cannot drive a motor vehicle without modifications that enable the person to drive safely; or
- cannot be driven in a motor vehicle without modifications that enable the person to be transported safely and in reasonable comfort.
Short term assistance
Where the impairment has not yet stabilised or is not assessed as being permanent, consideration may be given to compensation of a short term nature until the barrier(s) impacting on the person’s mobility and functioning are addressed, the person’s ongoing level of impairment is known and the potential eligibility for the MVCS can be determined. This short term assistance can be provided through taxis. This assistance is particularly important where a person is experiencing difficulties in travelling to and from employment or to and from treatment because of the impact of their service related injury or disease.
Where lack of transport is creating barriers to a person being able to reintroduce critical structure back into their lives, or to participate in community activities, then short term transport assistance, via taxis, may be considered as part of a psychosocial rehabilitation plan while the person’s condition(s) stabilises. When considering requests for assistance, it is important to be aware of community expectations and whether it would be reasonable for family members to assist a person with their transport needs.
Requests for short term assistance which will require the provision of taxis, should be supported by medical evidence. Three months is regarded as a reasonable length of time for short term assistance to be provided. If assistance is needed beyond three months, then a more rigorous consideration of how long the approval should be extended will need to be conducted and will need to be informed by further medical evidence.
For example, a client has undergone surgery as a result of a service related injury to the left knee. The client has a manual vehicle. The treating doctor has stated that the client will be unable to drive the car until the knee stabilises, so the client approaches the department for assistance with transport. A need to collect children from school is identified for two days a week, and to attend a vocational retraining course three times a week. Both of these activities are included as part of the client’s rehabilitation plan. The doctor’s report indicates that the client will need assistance for six weeks, when a review of the knee will be conducted. The delegate is satisfied with the medical evidence and organises for taxis to be provided to meet the client’s specified needs. After six weeks, the client indicates that there will be a further need for assistance and provides further information from their treating doctor. This evidence indicates that the client will need assistance for another two weeks. Based on this evidence, the delegate extends the approval for provision of taxis for these specified activities for a further two weeks.
If the person is a serving member and their rehabilitation is being managed by the ADFRP, then there is an expectation that short term transport assistance, while the impairment stabilises, will be provided through the ADFRP. Once the impairment is permanent and the person’s ongoing needs are known, motor vehicle assistance can be considered where a formal request for these services in made through the ADFRP. Further information about the ADFRP can be found in chapter 4 of this Guide.
How to claim MVCS?
There is no claim form for claims under the MVCS. It is sufficient for a claim to be made by:
- ticking the relevant box at Q21 for Vehicle Modifications on the MRCA Claim Form (D2051); or
- providing a letter requesting compensation under the MVCS; or
- signing a completed needs assessment, which is carried out as a matter of course when liability is accepted under the MRCA for a service related injury or disease.
The claim must be received at an office of the Department in Australia and must be accompanied by any documentation that is requested by the delegate. If a claim is not accompanied by the requested documentation, the Commission is not required to take any action in respect of that claim until the documentation is provided.