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9.13.7 DVA's expectations of Rehabilitation Coordinators
It is essential that a client receiving support through Streamlined Access to Incapacity Payments is not deemed with an ability to earn while their extended rehabilitation plan remains open. To do so would create barriers to the person’s incapacity payments being reinstated as quickly and as easily as possible. Clients participating in this policy will be identified on the claim in the rehabilitation and incapacity payments screens on R&C ISH.
It is important that the client’s Rehabilitation Coordinator and the client’s incapacity delegate communicate regularly and that the incapacity delegate is immediately notified when a client needs to reduce, pause or cease their employment due to an increase in the symptoms, or impact of their accepted mental health condition(s). This will prevent any unnecessary delays in incapacity payments being recommenced.
Rehabilitation Coordinators are expected to ensure that value for money is being achieved during the extended rehabilitation program and that the Rehabilitation Provider is actively engaged and providing meaningful support to the client. If a Rehabilitation Coordinator has any concerns about the Rehabilitation Provider’s recommendation that a specific client be provided with an extended rehabilitation plan, then it is strongly suggested that they discuss the case with a DVA Rehabilitation Adviser, to help determine a way forward.
Rehabilitation Coordinators are expected to ensure that a whole-of-person rehabilitation approach is maintained during the extended rehabilitation program. If a client needs to reduce their hours or work, access sick leave or cease employment, their rehabilitation plan may move to focusing on medical management and/or psychosocial rehabilitation activities once their acute symptoms have diminished. This helps to ensure that the client will continue to work towards overcoming barriers to their recovery, which includes barriers to them remaining in employment.
This means for example, that it would be reasonable for an exercise program, healthy cooking course, dietician support or similar activities to be included on the extended rehabilitation plan, if a client’s physical health and weight gain is impacting on their ability to sustain employment. Another example is that time limited anger management, stress management, mindfulness, meditation or yoga courses may be included on a rehabilitation plan to assist clients to develop strategies to manage stress in their workplace. Likewise, time limited drama courses, public speaking or other similar courses could be included on the rehabilitation plan if the client is having difficulty in communicating in a work place. A flexible approach will be required, with each case to be considered on its merits, being mindful that non-accepted conditions are also likely to impact on the client’s ability to sustain employment. As the client starts to recover, and their symptoms reduce, then vocational rehabilitation activities can recommence.