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16 Step-up to incapacity payments for veterans studying
This measure will provide an eligible former member of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with incapacity payments based on 100% of their normal earnings, where that member is engaged in a DVA rehabilitation program and, as part of that program, is undertaking full-time study to assist them in securing ongoing meaningful employment after their ADF service.
The intent of this measure is to ensure that former members undertaking approved full-time study as part of their rehabilitation program can focus on their studies and not be concerned about a reduction in their incapacity payments. This measure is applicable under both the DRCA and MRCA.
This is a pilot program that will be running from 1 November 2018 to 30 June 2022.
What will this measure mean for veterans studying?
Incapacity payments are economic loss compensation payments for a loss of earnings as a result of a service-related physical or mental health condition. Typically incapacity payments “step down” to 75 per cent (or a higher percentage depending on hours worked) of pre-injury earnings after a period of 45 weeks in payment.
This measure will provide an eligible former member of the Australian Defence Force with incapacity payments based on 100% of their normal earnings, where that member is engaged in a DVA rehabilitation program and, as part of that program, is undertaking full-time study to assist them in securing ongoing suitable and sustainable employment after their ADF service.
A person may be eligible if they are:
a former ADF member;
currently participating in DVA’s rehabilitation program;
have full-time study approved as part of their rehabilitation plan; and
eligible to receive incapacity payments.
Clients are expected to maintain compliance with their rehabilitation program, including studying full-time, to remain eligible to be stepped up. Clients will need to continue to meet required benchmarks for study units and complete the course of study within a pre-agreed timeframe.
What education and training courses are considered as ‘study’?
The following types of education and training are considered to be study:
secondary education, where the course of study is either an accredited senior secondary certificate of education (or equivalent) or a preparatory course for the purpose of enrolling in a related award course; and
tertiary education courses within the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF);
Training within the AQF includes Certificate level (Certificate I-IV), Diplomas, Advanced Diplomas/Associate Degrees, Bachelor-level degrees, and Graduate Certificates/ Diplomas.
Institutions offering these courses include:
Technical and Further Education (TAFE) colleges;
Higher education institutions (eg, university); and
Accredited Registered Training Organisation (RTO).
What is meant by ‘full-time’?
Where an eligible person is undertaking study, they are considered to be full-time if over the study period (for example, a semester) they are enrolled in at least three-quarters of the normal amount of full-time study that would be expected for the course in that study period.
The normal amount of full-time study for a course over each study period is to be defined by the institution or body conducting the course. This is the study load that a full-time student would typically undertake in respect of the course.
If a definition of full-time study is not available through the institution or body, then the normal amount of full-time study is the average amount of full-time study that a person would have to undertake for the duration of the course, in order to complete it in the minimum amount of time.
Legislative authority for this measure is derived from the following instruments: