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3.2 The Needs Assessment Process
Whilst members are still serving, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) retains primary responsibility for the provision of health care. However, this does not preclude the early commencement of rehabilitation services from the military compensation system for those members proceeding to discharge and where it has been determined to be in the best interests of the member.
For part-time members of the ADF, such as Reservists and Service Cadets, health and rehabilitation support should commence as soon as the claim for compensation is accepted. This is because:
- health care is provided by the ADF only for the periods when a part time Reservist is undertaking military duty;
- emergency health care is provided by the ADF for periods when an ADF Cadet, Officer of Cadets or Instructor of Cadets is undergoing instruction, training, performing duty or travelling to or from the place of an approved/authorised activity;
- the person may have a more immediate need for rehabilitation as their civilian education or employment may be in some jeopardy;
- it may be necessary to liaise with the person's education provider or employer to enable the appropriate support to be provided to support the person to manage their condition in a work or educational environment; and
- ADF Cadets may need additional assistance to manage the rehabilitation process due to their age.
The Needs Assessment is a comprehensive assessment process designed to assist DVA delegates to determine the range of services and benefits that may be required following acceptance of liability for a service related injury or disease. The Needs Assessment focuses on the areas of need and identifies whether clients may be eligible for:
- medical treatment
- incapacity payment
- permanent impairment
- alterations, modifications, aids and appliances, and
- other assistance (such as attendant care, household services, assistance with dependants).
The Needs Assessment is recognised as an important step to understanding a client's whole of person needs. Under sections 325 and 326 of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA), a Needs Assessment must be completed before any DVA compensation can be provided and should be conducted before a person is referred to a rehabilitation service provider for a rehabilitation assessment.
A Needs Assessment is not legislatively required under the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA) or the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA). However, as a useful and comprehensive tool for determining a client's needs, it is an agreed part of DVA's ongoing commitment to consistency and best practice procedures under all Acts.
The Needs Assessment also gives clients an opportunity to discuss their particular circumstances and the impact of their injury/disease.
Client expectations are better managed by establishing a clear record of assessed needs at a given point in time.
It can also identify clients for possible eligibility for the Veterans' Vocational Rehabilitation Scheme (VVRS).
The Needs Assessment can be undertaken by any delegate, no later than 14 days after acceptance of liability or notification of a change in circumstances. The liability delegate is particularly well placed to undertake the initial assessment due to their familiarity with the case; however, locations are best able to decide who should complete this task.