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10.10.2 Short term assistance with transport while conditions stabilise
Where a person’s impairment has not yet stabilised or is not assessed as being permanent, car modifications are not payable under section 39(1)(d) of the DRCA. In these circumstances, consideration may be given to pay compensation of a short term nature until the barriers(s) impacting on the person’s mobility and functioning are addressed, the person’s ongoing level of impairment is known and the potential eligibility for assistance under section 39 can be determined.
The type of short term assistance, that can be provided to a person because of the impact of their service related injury, is through taxis. For example, a person is experiencing difficulties in travelling to and from employment, and/or the lack of transport is creating barriers to a person being able to reintroduce critical structure back into their lives or to participate in community activities then short term transport assistance, via taxis, may be considered as part of a psychosocial rehabilitation plan while the person’s condition(s) stabilises.
When considering requests for assistance, it is important to be aware of community expectations and whether it would be reasonable for family members to assist a person with their transport needs.
For example, if prior to their injury, a client did voluntary community work on weekends, while their partner worked, then taxis could be utilised under a psychosocial rehabilitation plan to enable the client to continue to meet this commitment. Conversely, if the person lived close to their voluntary employment and their partner was available to assist them to get there, it would be reasonable to expect that this would occur, rather than DVA paying the costs of taxi fares.
Requests for short term assistance which require the provision of taxis should be supported by medical evidence. In order to ensure consistency in decision making, the same approach described in section 10.12.1 of this chapter, which outlines short term transport assistance through taxis for MRCA clients, should also be applied to clients with entitlements under section 39 of the DRCA.
If the person is a serving member and their rehabilitation is being managed by the ADFRP, then there is an expectation that short term transport assistance, while the impairment stabilises, will be provided through the ADFRP. Once the impairment is permanent and the person’s ongoing needs are known, motor vehicle assistance can be considered where a formal request for these services is made through the ADFRP.