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9.12.4 Relocation Assistance

Last amended 
10 October 2017

DVA may provide assistance with the costs of moving, where there is a reasonable requirement for the person to relocate because they have secured suitable work.

What is suitable work

Suitable work is defined in section 2.3.1 of this library for SRCA and section 2.4.2 of this library for MRCA. Suitable work is defined with respect to four criteria:

  • the person’s age, training, language, experience and other skills;
  • the person’s suitability for rehabilitation or vocational retraining;
  • whether it is reasonable to expect the person to change his or her residence if work is available in another place; and
  • any other relevant matter.

DVA, as rehabilitation authority, has a responsibility to assist a former ADF member to find suitable employment in a civilian work setting.

Considering whether relocation assistance should be provided

The intent of relocation assistance is to provide support for people living in areas where there are no suitable or reasonable employment options available, and they need to move to be able to secure suitable employment.

It is envisaged that relocation assistance will be provided on an irregular basis only, where a person lives in a remote area of Australia that has a very limited labour market, and needs to move to an area with higher employment prospects. Relocation assistance may also be appropriate where the person has very specialised skills, which means they need to relocate to find employment as there are no jobs available in this area in their current location

It is not intended that the Department assist people to relocate for employment that is more desirable than what is available in their existing location, or where they have a particular employment role they are keen to fulfil.

Managing expectations

It is important that a client’s expectations are managed appropriately and they understand that relocation assistance will only be considered in very specific circumstances. It is also important that ongoing discussions are taking place between the Rehabilitation Provider and the Rehabilitation Coordinator when job searching is not going according to plan, and the client is not successful in securing interviews or gaining employment. In these situations, it is expected that a variety of other options are pursued, before relocation assistance is considered. These options may include application writing skills courses, resume writing, interview skills training, retraining etc. Only once these options have been pursued can relocation assistance be considered.

When relocation assistance can be considered

The following requirements must be met before relocation assistance can be considered:

  • the client must be on an active vocational rehabilitation program, with a return to work goal;
  • there must be evidence that the client has been unable to secure suitable and sustainable employment in their usual place of residence despite extensive active job seeking and vocational rehabilitation assistance;. and
  • a comprehensive labour market analysis has been conducted in the client’s existing location to ascertain what employment options are available, given the client’s age, language, training, experience and skills; and,
  • the Rehabilitation Coordinator is satisfied that the client has been offered and has accepted suitable employment, in their new location; and
  • there are no barriers to the client being able to sustain employment in their new location.

It is expected that the rehabilitation provider will have contacted the DVA Rehabilitation Coordinator to discuss the client’s circumstances, and gained approval for funding for relocation costs as an approved activity under the vocational rehabilitation plan, prior to the client actually relocating.

Approving relocation assistance

Before a request for relocation assistance can be approved, the following documentation must be provided to the Rehabilitation Coordinator:

  • A comprehensive labour market analysis for the client’s existing geographic location, showing that employment opportunities in the client’s area of qualification and/or experience are limited.
  • Evidence that the client has unsuccessfully applied for a wide range of jobs in their existing location, and across a broad spectrum of industries related to their skills, training, qualifications and experience.
  • Evidence that the client has undertaken job application and interview skills courses as appropriate.
  • Evidence that the client has been offered, and accepted, secure and meaningful employment in the new location.

When relocation assistance should not be provided

It is not appropriate for DVA to provide relocation assistance in the following circumstances:

  • where a client has been offered a non-ongoing, or contract position in a new location; or
  • where the client is currently employed, but has been offered a more desirable position in a new location.

What relocation costs can be considered?  

Rehabilitation Coordinators have the discretion to approve reasonable relocation costs in the context of each individual client’s circumstances. Therefore, each request for relocation assistance should be considered on a case by case basis. It is however expected, that the following costs would be reasonable in most circumstances:

  • moving costs for the contents of the veteran’s home. The most appropriate mode of removal will depend on the veteran’s circumstances and may include a shipping container or a removal truck;
  • reasonable transport for the veteran only. This may be via plane depending where the veteran is relocating to and how soon they need to move in order to commence employment. Alternatively, if the veteran chooses to drive to their new location, assistance can be provided for reasonable reimbursement of costs in-line with the guidelines in section 9.1.2 of the Military Compensation Library. The prescribed rate per km would apply;
  • transport of the veteran’s vehicle in the event they have not driven their vehicle to the new location, provided that the vehicle is required for the work they will be undertaking; and
  • one week’s temporary accommodation.

Where the client is eligible for household services, a “move clean” may also be approved. Further information about cleaning when moving house can be found in section 7.1.1 of this guide.  

Relocation costs that are not considered reasonable  

Costs that are not reasonable for DVA to provide assistance with, include:

  • any insurance associated with moving;
  • packing or unpacking the household contents - this is consistent with the household services guidelines in section 7.1.2 of this guide;
  • purchasing items associated with packing, including packing boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap etc;
  • transport for other family members, unless there are extenuating circumstances due to the individual needs of the client. For exampe, if the client has dependants with no one else to care for them, it may be appropriate for the veteran and their dependants to be transported together - in these instances, the most cost effective type of transport should be considered);
  • transport of animals;
  • transportation of any vehicle that is not the veteran’s primary vehicle used on a daily basis; and
  • storage costs in the new location if the veteran does not have a home to move to straight away.

The client would be responsible for meeting all of these additional costs themselves.

DVA will also not offer reimbursement of losses upon the sale of a house, household items or other similar expenses.