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13.3.1 Compliance issues - SRCA and MRCA
Under sections 36(4) of SRCA and section 50(1) of MRCA, a client can be found to be non-compliant if they fail or refuse, without reasonable excuse, to undergo an examination or assessment to determine their capability of undertaking a rehabilitation program.
Non-compliance under SRCA can lead to suspension of compensation entitlements (but not compensation for medical treatment). The authority to make a decision to suspend compensation under SRCA is delegated at the level of APS3 and above.
Non-compliance under MRCA can lead to suspension of compensation entitlements (but not compensation for medical treatment). The decision to suspend compensation under MRCA is delegated at the level of EL1 and above.
Communication with client and DVA
Rehabilitation providers are expected to liaise with the DVA Rehabilitation Coordinator as soon as practicable, where a client is non-complaint with their rehabilitation or unable to be contacted at any stage of the rehabilitation process.
It is the responsibility of the DVA Rehabilitation Coordinator to proactively manage and communicate with clients about any issues that may arise during the rehabilitation process. Rehabilitation providers must not be asked to inform clients of any concerns that a Rehabilitation Coordinator may have, or communicate any decisions that a Rehabilitation Coordinator may have made about the client’s compliance with their rehabilitation obligations. This is because DVA Rehabilitation Coordinators have the authority and responsibility under the legislation to discuss such issues with the client. The primary responsibility of the Rehabilitation Provider, is to facilitate the provision of rehabilitation support and services to the client.
An option of last resort
A decision that a client has been non-compliant should be an option of last resort only. Good communication is the key to resolving any issues that may arise before suspension of a client's compensation payments is considered. It is expected that the rehabilitation provider will discuss any concerns that the client may have about meeting any of their rehabilitation obligations and expectations, and offer flexible solutions as appropriate. This is particularly important where a client has been experiencing ongoing barriers to their rehabilitation, or has experienced a change in their health status or their personal circumstances. It is essential that a client is not found to be non-compliant where there is a reasonable excuse for their actions.
Non-compliance may be considered as an option of last resort in situations where a client fails to undertake the following actions, without reasonable excuse:
- failure to attend an appointment for the purpose of undertaking a rehabilitation assessment despite many attempts to organise a suitable time;
- failure to attend an appointment with their Rehabilitation Provider, for the purpose of reviewing their rehabilitation plan progress, despite many attempts to organise a suitable time;
- ongoing failure to fully participate in a vocational rehabilitation plan where there is evidence of capacity for work including:
- failure to seek or accept suitable work,
- failure to regularly attend a work trial or training courses, and
- failure to fully participate in study courses including undertaking assessment tasks such as examinations.
Please note that this is not an extensive list but includes many of the key activities that a rehabilitation client would be expected to participate in as part of their rehabilitation program.