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2.8.2 Travel to attend a Rehabilitation Assessment
The requirement for a client to undergo an initial rehabilitation assessment or any subsequent assessment of the person’s capacity for rehabilitation may mean they need to travel and/or stay in accommodation in order to attend that assessment. Section 47 of the MRCA and subsections 36(5) and 36(6) of the DRCA outline the circumstances in which compensation for journey and/or accommodation costs can be paid, for costs that have been reasonably incurred.
Reasonable requirement for travel/accommodation
In determining whether travel/accommodation costs are reasonably required to undertake a rehabilitation assessment, the delegate should consider issues such as:
- the distance that the person needs to travel to visit the assessor;
- whether the client needs to travel a significant distance, and therefore whether an overnight stay is reasonable;
- when the appointment is late in the day (eg after 4pm), whether the distance travelled to attend would preclude a safe journey home after the appointment is over;
- the client’s accepted conditions and whether an overnight stay is reasonable because of the nature of the assessment and the need for the person to "tell their story" or whether person's condition is likely prevent them from travelling back safely and comfortably on the same day of the appointment.
These considerations are not exhaustive and any other issues may be taken into account by the delegate when determining whether travel and accommodation costs are reasonably required. Each case must be considered on its merits utilising a client-centric approach.
Calculating reimbursement for travel/accommodation
Section 48 of the MRCA and subsection 36(5) of the DRCA quantifies the amount to be paid to a person who has travelled and/or remained at that place in accommodation as "the amount reasonably incurred in making the journey or remaining at the place". In order for the amount to be determined as reasonable, the delegate may consider:
- the means of transport available to the person;
- the likely length of the journey; and
- the range of accommodation available to the person at the location travelled to.
The travel for treatment guidelines do not apply for reimbursement for reasonable costs to attend a rehabilitation assessment. However, the travel for treatemnt guidelines in section 9.1.2 of the MRCA Policy Manual may be used to gain a benchmark of reasonable costs. It is important to note that there is no mandated kilometre rate for travel associated with attending a rehabilitation assessment. It would however, be reasonable for clients to be expected to self-fund any travel that is less than a 50 km round trip.
Paying travel/accommodation costs for attending a rehabilitation assessment
Section 49 of the MRCA provides that compensation can be paid to:
- the person who made the claim for this type of compensation;
- a third party (eg the transport or accommodation provider); or
- another person who incurred or will incur the cost of the journey and/or accommodation.