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3.11 Non-Liability Rehabilitation Pilot

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Last amended 
8 February 2024

This Chapter is retained for information purposes only, as the Pilot ceased on 31 December 2023. 

 

Policy Statement

Through a two-year pilot, DVA provided eligible veterans with access to targeted rehabilitation assistance under medical management, social wellbeing and employment support, without the need for liability to have been accepted for any service-related conditions.

Authority

Authority is provided under:

Intent

The Non-Liability Rehabilitation Pilot intended to provide eligible veterans with timely access to the support they need, steering the focus away from liability and compensation towards awareness of, and early engagement with rehabilitation.

Background

Non-Liability Rehabilitation was announced as part of the 2021-22 Budget as a two‑year pilot program to provide access to vocational and psychosocial rehabilitation, for eligible veterans without the requirement for any liability. The Pilot built on the outcomes and lessons learnt from the Accelerated Access to Rehabilitation Pilot, a 2017 Budget measure which provided early access to veterans pending determination of their liability claim for certain medical conditions. 

The Pilot served as a response (in part) to Recommendation 6.3 of the Productivity Commission report, A Better Way to Support Veterans, which proposed that consideration be given to providing rehabilitation on a non-liability basis across the interval from leaving Australian Defence Force (ADF) service to the determination of claims post-service.

Eligibility

Current and former members of the ADF were considered for participation in the pilot if they met the following eligibility criteria:

  • had served on or after 1 Dec 1988;
  • had a self-identified need for rehabilitation;
  • had separated from the ADF or were in the process of transitioning;
  • resided in Australia;
  • were yet to have liability accepted; and
  • were not already participating in a DVA rehabilitation program.

Participation in the pilot was voluntary

Overview

The Pilot commenced on 1 January 2022 and ran for two years.

Under Non-Liability Rehabilitation, participants had access to support services from three activity categories:

  • Medical Management activities
  • Social Wellbeing activities
  • Employment Support

Participants worked with a DVA rehabilitation service provider to develop their personalised Non-Liability Rehabilitation plan. Each plan was expected to take between three and six months to complete.

Scope

In scope

The Non-Liability Rehabilitation Pilot drew on voluntary participation, providing short-term support to build the knowledge and capacity of individuals, to prepare them for their next steps in self-managing their wellbeing.

Participants had access to the following types of support and assistance services to help create or strengthen their connections and social capabilities:

Activities category

Assistance and support

1. Medical Management - assistance to access the civilian health system

  • obtaining a Medicare card
  • engaging with a suitable General Practitioner (GP)

 

As Non-Liability Rehabilitation participants had no accepted service-related conditions, this category of support was light-touch, rather than being focussed on recovery or restoring functional capacity to pre-injury status.

 

2. Social Wellbeing - assistance to build or enhance social connections and participation in a local community

Identifying opportunities and facilitating:

  • participation in sporting clubs
  • engagement with new hobbies
  • experiences to improve personal health and well-being, such as short programs for weight loss or learning calming/relaxing techniques to reduce social anxiety and stress

 

This offer recognised that individuals may choose to interact socially in many different ways, and provided some flexibility in the scope of activities that could be supported.

 

For additional guidance, delegates could refer to the decision making framework at CLIK Rehabilitation Policy Library 6.6 How to determine if a psychosocial activity is reasonable.

 

3. Employment Support - for participants who were unemployed, underemployed, need assistance to change careers, or seek support to adjust to the civilian workplace

  • Developing/reviewing civilian career goals
  • Personality profiling 
  • Job search skills - including skills translation
  • Personal branding and marketing
  • Interview skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Support to adjust to the civilian workplace
  • Competency and capability mapping
  • Workplace communication
  • Support to break out of long term unemployment
  • Navigating civilian workplace issues
  • Job advancement and career advice

 

This offer mirrored what is available through the Support for Employment (SFE) program.  Individuals may have been referred to, or from SFE, depending on their eligibility and support needs.

 

Out-of-scope

To align with program length and the principle of encouraging and empowering clients to self-manage, there were certain costs or activities that could not be funded under a Non-Liability Rehabilitation plan:

  • Clinical treatment
  • Equipment such as tools, office furniture or supplies, sporting equipment, clothing, etc.
  • Travel, meals and accommodation expenses
  • Childcare
  • Certificates and licences courses; higher education courses
  • Existing activities where the person was already actively self-engaged (for example, for a Pilot participant who was already a member of their local basketball club, the costs for this activity could not be included on the plan.)
  • Duplication such as
    • Courses already offered through Open Arms Counselling Services
    • Any course previously paid for on a Non-Liability Rehabilitation plan
  • Where participation was not considered appropriate by community standards, such as being associated with violence, racial or gender hatred, or posing a threat of harm or injury to the participant or others.

The dot points listed are illustrative and not exhaustive.

Requirements

Applying for Non-Liability Rehabilitation

Eligible veterans could be referred to Non-Liability Rehabilitation by Defence, or through their engagement with DVA. Veterans could also self-refer by emailing NLR@dva.gov.au to test their eligibility. 

All interested individuals were required to provide their consent to participate and complete a commencement questionnaire. The questionnaire established the person’s goals, and informed the pre-approved package of support, which would vary for each participant. The types of pre-approved support with financial limits were sourced from current practices and rehabilitation experiences. The suite of activities and services were considered likely to benefit participants, progressing them towards their goals under the three categories of assistance.

Plan development and approval

Once the pre-approved package of support under the activity categories of medical management, social wellbeing and employment support was identified by a DVA delegate, the participant was referred to a rehabilitation consultant (service provider) to develop an individually tailored rehabilitation plan.

Rehabilitation service providers were to take into account the participant’s individual circumstances and capacity, and selected from the pre-approved financial Package of Support activities. The maximum amounts payable are set out in the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation (Non-liability Rehabilitation Pilot) Determination 2021.  Any activities that fell outside of the package of support and financial limits may have been considered as an exception on a case-by-case basis, and required the service provider to liaise with a DVA Delegate to seek approval.

Plan Closure

Rehabilitation plans closed after three months for plans containing medical management assistance only, or six months for all other plans. Participants could withdraw from the pilot at any time and were welcome to return to the pilot should their needs have changed.

Interaction With Other Benefits and Payments

Individuals who were yet to have liability accepted may have participated in the Pilot, while awaiting the outcome of their claim. 

A person who was receiving Veteran Payment, and had capacity for rehabilitation, could access rehabilitation through a standard rehabilitation plan.  If a person was participating in a Non‑Liability Rehabilitation plan before commencing on Veteran Payment, they were transferred to a standard rehabilitation plan (as Veteran Payment eligibility requires participation in rehabilitation, subject to capacity to participate). 

Where a Pilot participant’s liability claim was accepted and they began to receive incapacity payments, they must have transferred to a standard rehabilitation plan (subject to capacity to participate).  If they were not receiving incapacity payments, they may have continued with their Non-Liability Rehabilitation plan to its completion.  Alternatively, if they chose to transfer to standard rehabilitation to access a broader range of support, their Non-Liability Rehabilitation plan was closed.

If a Pilot participant’s liability claim was not accepted, they may have continued participating in the Non-Liability Rehabilitation plan until its completion.  

Related Policies, Legislation and Information

Policy

Internal Guidelines

  • Non-Liability Rehabilitation Program Provider Handbook

Website