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4.3.2 Section 39(3)(aa) transfer of rehabilitation authority

Last amended 
4 October 2017

MRCA section 39(3)(aa) enables a delegate of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (MRCC), after receiving advice from the CDF, to make a determination, that DVA is to become a specified person’s rehabilitation authority at a specified time. A determination under section 39(3)(aa) can be made for any serving member which includes:

  • full-time permanent force members;
  • part-time permanent force members;
  • Reservists on CFTS; and
  • Reservists not on CFTS including;
    • part-time reservists;
    • inactive reservists; and
    • standby reservists.

When a section 39(3)(aa) transfer of rehabilitation authority is appropriate

A transfer of rehabilitation authority using MRCA section 39(3)(aa) may be appropriate where:

  • DVA has accepted liability for a service injury or disease; and
  • the member is already receiving a range of services and support from DVA, and there are challenges in the ADF Rehabilitation Programs being able to meet the client's individual whole of person rehabilitation support needs – refer to section 4.5 for information about what assistance DVA can provide to serving members; or
  • the member is experiencing personal/health/psychological issues and ongoing involvement with the ADF is likely to have a detrimental impact on their wellbeing and recovery; or
  • the person requires short term rehabilitation support, such as the provisions of aids and appliances that Defence cannot provide – refer to chapter 10.8 for information about aids and appliances that DVA can provide to serving members; and
  • the advice from the relevant ADF rehabilitation program identifies a specific period of where it is more appropriate for the MRCC to be the member’s rehabilitation authority

Duration of the transfer of rehabilitation authority

The duration of the transfer will depend on the circumstances of the case.

Where a temporary transfer of rehabilitation authority is requested, because the member needs aids and appliances that the ADF is unable to provide, the transfer will only be required for the period it takes to approve the aid and make the formal determination. It is important that in this circumstance, the aid is provided as quickly as possible to prevent the person’s ADF rehabilitation plan from stalling. Communication with the ADFRP Consultant or Rehabilitation for Reservist (R4R) Case Manager is therefore important to ensure the agreed period is appropriate.

In some cases, an ongoing transfer of rehabilitation authority will be more appropriate. This may occur, even where a member does not have a definite date of separation. In this circumstance, a specific end date is not mandatory. Instead the determination letter can refer to “until such time that the person is no longer a serving member”. 

Process for transferring rehabilitation authority under section 39(3)(aa)

To enable a transfer to occur using MRCA section 39(3)(aa) the following actions are required:

  • discussion must occur between the ADFRP/R4R and the DVA Rehabilitation Coordinator to determine whether an earlier transfer of rehabilitation authority would be beneficial for the client;
  • DVA must receive written advice from the ADFRP/R4R Program that they would like a transfer of rehabilitation authority to occur;
  • discussion between the ADFRP/R4R and the DVA Rehabilitation Coordinator must confirm an agreed duration for the transfer of rehabilitation authority;
  • there must be evidence that the client is aware that the transfer of rehabilitation authority has been requested, why it has been requested and they are comfortable with this request;
  • there must be evidence sighted that the client has provided consent for information to be shared between Defence and DVA; and
  • the Rehabilitation Coordinator must issue a written determination that the MRCC is to be the rehabilitation authority for the client and to specify the time from which the determination applies. A separate determination must be made for each client – multiple clients cannot be covered in one determination.

Clear communication is essential when a transfer of a rehabilitation authority occurs. If an ongoing transfer of rehabilitation authority is requested, a Handover Case Conference, should be held. The Case Conference should discuss and identify key issues relating to the client's rehabilitation and identify contact points that can be used if there are issues that need to be clarified once the MRCC becomes the person's rehabilitation authority.

In addition, all members with an open ADFRP/ R4R rehabilitation program who are being transferred across to DVA should have a Transfer Handover Report, and all relevant documentation/reports prepared by the relevant rehabilitation program presented at the time of transfer.

However, if, the rehabilitation authority is being transferred only for the purpose of providing aids and appliances that cannot be provided by Defence, a Handover Case Conference and Transfer Handover Report will not be required.

Implications of a section 39(3)(aa) transfer of rehabilitation authority

Unlike a transfer of rehabilitation authority under section 10, a transfer under section 39(3)(aa) does not mean that a person is regarded as a former member for the purposes of the MRCA. The person will continue to be regarded as a serving member. There are a number of implications that result from this:

  • Incapacity payments

    There is no impact on a person’s eligibility for incapacity payments or the level of payment they can receive.

  • Communicating with one department instead of two

For those instances where it is intended that the MRCC will be the person’s rehabilitation authority on an ongoing basis, a section 39(3)(aa) transfer of rehabilitation authority will allow clients to liaise with just DVA for all of their treatment, compensation and rehabilitation support and services. Furthermore, as DVA adopts a whole-of-person rehabilitation approach, clients will be able to receive the psychosocial, medical management and vocational support and services they require, to establish a new life outside the ADF.

  • Continuity of rehabilitation support and services

Subsection 40(3) of the MRCA provides that where a transfer of rehabilitation authority occurs under section 39(3)(aa), the MRCC must abide by any rehabilitation determination made by the ADFRP or Rehabilitation for Reservists Program.  This means that DVA must continue a rehabilitation program that was commenced under the ADFRP or R4R Program.  Ideally, this should also entail continuing with the same rehabilitation service provider utilised under the ADFRP or R4R Program, and for Career Transition Assistance Scheme (CTAS) career coaching/training where possible. A new assessment will be necessary if the rehabilitation program requires amendment or variation. Accordingly, it is necessary for there to be ongoing dialogue between the ADFRP Rehabilitation Consultant/R4R Case Manager and DVA Rehabilitation Coordinators, prior to the Handover Conference if possible.