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188.8.131.52 Requirement to participate in rehabilitation
The requirement for a rehabilitation provider to identify that a veteran and their family requires support, to enable the veteran to achieve their rehabilitation goal, means that a rehabilitation assessment with a rehabilitation provider must have taken place. Child care services and/or counselling may be recommended following this assessment, or at any other time throughout the rehabilitation process, but services cannot be provided, until this assessment has taken place and a rehabilitation program approved.
In the event that a person refuses to undertake a rehabilitation assessment, they will not be able to access services under the Family Support Package. Where that person is in receipt of incapacity payments, the normal non-compliance provisions, as outlined in section 13.3 of the Rehabilitation Policy Library will apply.
Where a Rehabilitation Coordinator receives an urgent request for support under the Family Support Package, for a person who is medically fit for rehabilitation but is not on a rehabilitation program and has never had a rehabilitation assessment, an initial rehabilitation assessment must take place. A referral to a Rehabilitation Provider for a rehabilitation assessment can be expedited based on the veteran’s circumstances, but child care or counselling services cannot be approved or provided, until this assessment has taken place and a rehabilitation program approved. If the recommendations from this assessment include genuine rehabilitation goals for the veteran and childcare and/or counselling support, the services can be approved under the rehabilitation program, commencing no earlier than the date the rehabilitation program is approved by the Rehabilitation Coordinator.
There should be no rehabilitation assessments that only recommend counselling or child care services. The veteran must have their own personal and genuine rehabilitation goal/s for which a lack of child care or counselling is presenting a barrier to them achieving their rehabilitation goals.
Approved DVA Rehabilitation Program
Rehabilitation programs are provided for the purpose of returning a veteran with a service injury or disease, to at least the same social, vocational and educational status they had prior to their injury or disease. For this reason, the veteran must have at least one genuine personal rehabilitation goal they are working towards, for which child care or counselling for their family may be a barrier to achieving that goal. Access to counselling support or child care services for veterans and family members, is not a reason in and of itself to commence a rehabilitation program for a veteran. It is also not appropriate for a rehabilitation program to be opened, and a goal developed/manufactured, for the purpose of accessing child care.
Without a rehabilitation program that has been approved by a DVA Rehabilitation Coordinator, there is no legislative basis to make payments for rehabilitation support and services. On this basis, child care or counselling cannot be funded retrospectively.
Where a veteran is too unwell to participate in rehabilitation, and has medical evidence confirming this, they will not be able to access child care or counselling for their family.
Additionally, services for families cannot be provided though a rehabilitation program, where the veteran is not aware of the provision of services, for example, where they might be estranged from their family. The rehabilitation program is first and most importantly, for the veteran and they must have agreed and signed the rehabilitation program for services to be approved and provided.
Non-compliance with rehabilitation
Under 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.
Under section 52(1) of MRCA, a client can be found to be non-compliant if they fail or refuse to undertake a rehabilitation program, without reasonable excuse.
The guidelines for non-compliance outlined in section 13.3 of the Rehabilitation Policy Library, apply equally to clients receiving support under the Family Support Package. However, as with all rehabilitation programs, a decision that a client has been non-compliant and the resultant suspension of benefits, should be an option of last resort only and should take place where all reasonable steps have been taken to resolve the issue of non-compliance with the rehabilitation process. Good communication is the key to resolving any issues that may arise before suspension of a client's compensation payments is considered.
Closure of a rehabilitation program
Once a rehabilitation program has been closed, there is no legal mechanism to pay for services. This means that, for example, if a rehabilitation program ceases when a person achieves their rehabilitation goals, or where a person becomes medically unfit for rehabilitation, or non-complaint with rehabilitation, any funding for counselling or child care services will cease. There are no special circumstances under the rehabilitation provisions of the MRCA that would enable services to be provided under rehabilitation, without an approved rehabilitation program in place.