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10.10.1 Provision of Motor Vehicle Modifications under section 39(1)(d) of SRCA
DVA can pay for the supply and installation of vehicle modifications under section 39(1)(d) of the SRCA where:
- the client’s current vehicle is deemed suitable for modification;
- the criteria in section 39 of SRCA are met; and
- an assessment has been completed by a Driver Trained Occupational Therapist which confirms that the client requires modifications to their vehicle because of their accepted conditions.
Vehicle modifications may include, but are not limited to:
- automatic transmission;
- hand controls;
- power steering;
- wheelchair hoist;
- left foot accelerator;
- cruise control;
- steering column adjustment;
- specialised seating;
- wheelchair access for client to their vehicle;
- fixtures for wheelchair to allow in-wheelchair transportation;
- additional air-conditioning (e.g. tetraplegia resulting in poor body temperature regulation).
Funding can also be provided to train or support a person in using the modified vehicle, if this is required (e.g. in helping the person learn to use hand controls or a left foot accelerator safely).
In most cases, the person’s impairment must be stabilised for the person to be eligible for vehicle modifications under section 39(1)(d) of the SRCA. This ensures that the vehicle modifications will be able to meet the person’s ongoing needs.
It is important that a client does not purchase a vehicle before they receive written approval from the Department. Section 10.9.1 in this chapter contains a number of scenarios explaining how different circumstances may be considered and the possible consequences for clients.
The owner of the vehicle should be afforded a reasonable level of choice regarding the automotive engineering firm who conducts the modifications. However, the Rehabilitation Coordinator must be satisfied of ‘value for money’ by requiring the provision of competitive quotes. The number of quotes to be obtained should be commensurate with the cost of the project:
- a) 1 quote for projects up to $1,000
- b) 2 quotes for projects $1,001 to $2,000, and
- c) 3 quotes for projects $2,001 and over.
Prior to work commencing on a vehicle, the owner(s) of the vehicle must provide written consent for the modifications to be undertaken. Such consent is especially important where the vehicle is not solely owned by the client.
Delegation for decisions to approve modifications to a vehicle under section 39 of the SRCA are at APS5 level and above.