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5.1 Overview

This chapter is provided for delegates investigating and determining compensation claims under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (the MRCA) for Permanent Impairment (PI) that results from accepted conditions (i.e. service injuries or service diseases).  Part 2 of Chapter 4 of the MRCA relates to claims for PI compensation.

Under section 325(2) of the MRCA, a needs assessment must be carried out for a client before a claim for compensation can be determined. Best practice for carrying out a needs assessment is outlined at chapter 2.3.4. of the MRCA Policy Library. However, where a PI delegate is unsure if a needs assessment has been carried out, it is open to them to contact the client and carry out an assessment of the client's PI needs and record this accordingly. Alternatively, if the PI delegate is unable to contact the client, or is unsure about processing or determining the claim in these circumstances they can contact the Benefits and Payments Policy team for guidance or clarification.

“Impairment”, as defined by section 5 of the MRCA, in relation to a person “means the loss, the loss of the use, or the damage or malfunction, of any part of the person's body, of any bodily system or function, or of any part of such a system or function.”  “Permanent Impairment” (PI) is not specifically defined by the MRCA.  However, in setting out the criteria which must be met for the Commonwealth to be liable to pay PI payments for a service injury or disease, section 68 repeats the definition of this term used in section 4 of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (the SRCA).  That is, an impairment “that is likely to continue indefinitely”.

The MRCA bases PI on a Whole Person Impairment (WPI) concept that is drawn from the American Medical Association's Guide.  The Guide to Determining Impairment and Compensation (known as GARP M) is the guide approved by the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (the MRCC) under subsection 67(1) of the MRCA.  GARP M is derivative of the Guide to the Assessment of Pensions Fifth Edition (known as GARP V) used to assess the extent of incapacity from war-caused or defence-caused injuries or diseases under the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 (the VEA).

Like GARP V, GARP M expresses the extent of medical impairment suffered by a person in impairment points (IPs) on a scale from 0 to 100.  On this scale, zero IPs corresponds to no or negligible impairment from accepted conditions, and 100 IPs corresponds to death.  Effectively, impairment points are percentages of WPI.  GARP M also contains the same criteria as GARP V to be used in assessing the effect of a person's accepted conditions on the person's lifestyle.  This is expressed in a numerical lifestyle rating from 0-7.

Specific GARP chapters