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2.8.3 Travel to participate in a Rehabilitation Program
Unlike travel to undertake a rehabilitation assessment (see section 2.8.2 of the Rehabilitation Policy Library), the SRCA and MRCA do not provide specific legislative provisions to cover the travel costs associated with a person's participation in a rehabilitation program.
However, a Rehabilitation Coordinator, in consultation with the approved Rehabilitation Provider, has the discretion to determine whether or not a person's participation in a rehabilitation program will cause that person to incur travel costs additional to normal work-related travel costs, and to ensure that these costs are included in the rehabilitation plan. An example would be where a client is undertaking an approved training course as part of a vocational rehabilitation program, and needs to travel interstate in order to participate in the course. Please note, travel costs associated with a rehabilitation program can only be paid where client travel is included as a third party cost on a rehabilitation plan.
In deciding whether a person should be reimbursed for travel costs, the Rehabilitation Coordinator should consider the following points:
- costs for travel associated with attending regular appointments with a rehabilitation provider, or participating in rehabilitation activities are not reimbursable, except in exceptional circumstances;
- costs for travel that a client would normally undertake to and from a workplace, or to and from a training institution or university where the person is undertaking an approved study program cannot be approved, except in exceptional circumstances;
- parking costs associated with undertaking a worktrial, or employment, or study as part of a rehabilitation program are not reimbursable except in exceptional circumstances;
- the cheapest method of transport available, taking into account any restrictions imposed by the compensable injury;
- whether overnight accommodation is required in order for a person to complete a component of their rehabilitation program, such as a vocational training course in a remote location; and
- when a private motor vehicle is used travel costs are based on the specified kilometre rate (as per 188.8.131.52 of the MRCA Policy Manual), provided the distance travelled exceeds a 50 kilometre round trip.
When considering the amount of any reimbursement for travel expenses associated with a rehabilitation program, Rehabilitation Coordinators should use the guidelines provided Chapter 9 of the MRCA Policy Manual in relation to reimbursement of reasonable travel and/or accommodation costs to obtain medical treatment as a benchmark of reasonable costs. It is important to note that there is no mandated kilometre rate for travel associated with attending approved rehabilitation activities. It is however reasonable to expect clients to self-fund any travel that is less than a 50 round trip.