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10.10.3 Where an existing vehicle is not suitable for modification

Last amended 
5 July 2016

The Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (MRCC) has determined that where it is not feasible for the client’s existing motor vehicle to be modified, funding may be provided for the cost difference between a suitable vehicle (acquired by the client at their own cost) with the option fitted (for example, automatic transmission) and a vehicle of the same or similar model without the option (for example, manual transmission). This may occur where the vehicle is too old, technically unsuitable, not cost effective or not safe to modify.

Reimbursement for the difference between the cost of a vehicle with the required modifications and the same or similar model without modifications can be considered if the client’s vehicle is not suitable for modification. Vehicles not suited to modification are generally those more than ten years old, which makes suitable parts and modifications time and cost intensive to source. Modifying older vehicles also reduces the useful life, and consequently the effective value of the modification.

It should be noted that DVA may still be responsible for other modifications to the recommended vehicle, which have been identified and recommended following an assessment by a Driver Trained Specialist Occupational Therapist (OT) and agreed to by the DVA delegate. The recommended vehicle would also need to be assessed as being suitable for any additional modification recommended in the assessment.

 The amount reimbursed under this policy shall not exceed the amount which would need to have been spent to modify the original vehicle.

If a client purchases a vehicle with the required modifications for less than the trade in of their existing vehicle, there would be no cost difference or evidence of an actual costs incurred for any payment to be approved.


For example, a SRCA client is assessed by a Driver Trained Specialist OT as needing an automatic transmission to safely operate their vehicle following an accepted injury. A mechanical review of the client’s 1991 Toyota has discovered that the automatic transmission necessary for modification may cost $15,000 to install and the parts cannot be sourced in good enough condition to make the modification safe. The client could potentially be reimbursed for the difference between the manual model of the replacement vehicle assessed as meeting the client’s needs, and the automatic model, but only up to an amount that is less than the quoted $15,000.

In such cases, there must be evidence of an actual cost involved in the acquisition of the automatic transmission. An OT may identify an appropriate model vehicle with an automatic transmission which is valued at the same cost as the manual model of the same vehicle. In this case, there would not be any reimbursement payable as there is no cost difference.