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10.4 Ownership of Alterations, Aids and Appliances
This section provides information about the ownership of aids and appliances and alterations to a person's home or workplace, provided by DVA.
Items provided through the Rehabilitation Appliances Program (RAP)
Household aids and appliances
Items provided through RAP may be able to be returned to the supplier once a client no longer has a need for the aid or appliance. Contacting the supplier of the individual item is the first step in working out whether the item needs to be returned to the supplier or to DVA.
Structural alterations to a person's dwelling become the property of the property owner. Before structural alterations can be provided through RAP, the property owner must provide written approval for the modification to be undertaken and provide DVA with an undertaking not to seek compensation for restoration of their property when the modifications are no longer required by the client.
Before any strucutural alterations are provided, confirmation is required that the entitled person intends to remain in the dwelling to be altered for the foreseeable future. Subsequent requests for household modification of the same area (for example, a kitchen or bathroom) will only be considered where this further need could not have been reasonably foreseen by the client in light of their illnesses and/or injuries and prognoses.
Items provided through the rehabilitation provisions
Household aids and appliances
Aids and appliances which are provided for use in a client's place of residence become the property of the client.
The running costs associated with aids and appliances provided by DVA are the responsibility of the client. Where the item provided is a medical equipment item and the client holds a DVA Health Card, they may be entitled to an Essential Medical Equipment Payment to cover potential higher energy costs associated with using the equipment.
Workplace aids and appliances
Where aids and appliances are provided by a client's employer, to enable the client to remain in their employment, those aids and appliances are the property of that employer. However, it is commonplace and reasonable that if the client moves work locations with the same employer, the aids and appliances move with them.
In contrast, where DVA provides workplace aids and appliances to enable the client to re-enter or maintain employment, then such aids and appliances become the property of the client. If the client moves jobs while they are participating in an active rehabilitation return to work plan, they could be provided with assistance with moving the aids and/or appliances to a new workplace, if this is regarded as part of addressing the person's whole of person needs and reducing barriers to enabling them to maintain suitable and sustainable employment. However, where a client is successful in securing sustainable employment and the rehabilitation program is closed, then moving of the aid or appliance becomes the client's responsibility because It would not be envisaged that the client would need to move the equipment very often. However, each circumstance and request for assistance must be assessed on a case by case basis.
Where DVA has provided funding for permanent household alterations through the rehabilitation provisions, clients can sell or otherwise dispose of such items. This means that the alterations can be kept in place if the client sells their home. However, any subsequent requests to DVA to replace these items in their new home may require a financial contribution from the owner.
When considering an appropriate financial contribution towards the replacement costs of household alterations the rehabilitation coordinator is to consider:
- if the client has profited from the sale of the modified residence;
- how may times similar alterations have been made to the client's residence;
- whether the client has considered their needs due to their accepted conditions when choosing a new residence; and
- the financial capacity of the owner to contribute to alterations to subsequent homes.
Given these considerations, contributions could then be set accordingly, ranging from zero to one hundred percent. This decision must be based on consideration of each client's individual circumstances.
Further information about household alterations can be found in section 10.7.8 of this Guide.