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Factsheet HSV02 - Claiming Travelling Expenses Under the Repatriation Transport Scheme

Purpose

This Factsheet describes how eligible veterans, war widows/widowers (entitled persons) can claim for travelling expenses relating to travel for treatment purposes under the Repatriation Transport Scheme (RTS).

Am I eligible?

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) will provide assistance towards travelling expenses to medical treatment if you hold a DVA Health Card — For All Conditions (Gold) under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) or Totally & Permanently Incapacitated (Gold) card;

DVA will provide assistance towards travelling expenses for the treatment of accepted disabilities if you hold a DVA Health Card — For Specific Conditions (White) under the VEA;

If you are eligible under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA), the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA) or Australian Participants in British Nuclear Tests (Treatment) Act 2006, please contact DVA (details provided under More Information on this Factsheet) to discuss your individual travel entitlements as they may vary from what is shown in this factsheet.

What service does the RTS provide?

DVA may assist with travelling expenses when you attend DVA approved medical appointments within Australia.  This is a contribution towards the cost of transport, meals and accommodation and may not reimburse the entire cost you incurred.

DVA may also arrange transport under the Booked Car with Driver (BCWD) Scheme for travel to approved treatment locations; see Factsheet HSV03 DVA Arranged Transport under the Repatriation Transport Scheme for more information.

What can I claim for?

You can claim travelling expenses relating to:

  • medical appointments
  • a disability claim
  • an invalidity income support claim
  • treatment under the Australian Participants in British Nuclear Tests (Treatment) Act 2006 (APBNT)
  • attending the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) or a Veterans’ Review Board (VRB) hearing; or
  • obtaining documentary medical evidence for the VRB or the Specialist Medical Review Council (SMRC).

What assistance will I receive?

To receive the maximum allowable assistance towards your travelling expenses, you need to attend the closest practical provider (CPP) to your permanent or temporary residence, at the time of treatment.

The CPP is the health provider who is closest to your residence, who is able to provide the appropriate treatment, and who is recognised as an approved provider by DVA.

If you are treated by a health provider who is not your CPP and is more than 50 km from your residence, DVA will reimburse you to a distance equal to the closest practical provider or 50 km (or 100km return trip), whichever is the greater.  If the distance from your residence to the CPP is 50km or less, you will be reimbursed for the distance travelled.

What types of travel assistance are covered?

DVA can pay allowances for:

  • a private vehicle
  • public or community transport
  • vehicle ferries
  • parking
  • road tolls
  • taxis or hire cars (if it is the most economical mode of transport)
  • air travel (if it is the most economical mode of transport)
  • ambulance travel
  • accommodation; and
  • meals

Under what circumstances is an accommodation allowance paid?

An accommodation allowance may be payable where an overnight stay is necessary because of the circumstances of your treatment, such as:

  • travel is more than 250km (one way) to attend a health provider ; or
  • travel is less than 250km (one way) to attend a health provider, but your medical condition prevents you from travelling back to your residence on the same day you had treatment. Examples include but are not restricted to:
    • your health provider requires that you remain close by for observation
    • you have had surgery and were unable to travel long distances
    • the appointment time was early in the morning or late in the afternoon; or
    • you were given medication preventing you from making the return trip.

Under what circumstances is a meal allowance paid?

If your treatment requires you to travel:

  • more than 50 km but less than or equal to 200 km from your residence in less than one day, a small meal allowance is payable
  • more than 200 km from your residence in less than one day, a larger meal allowance is payable.  Refer to the rates table for current allowances.

Meal allowances are not paid on the same day accommodation allowances are paid.

The following table outlines the current allowances payable under the RTS.  These allowances are effective from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018.

Type of allowance

Measure

Allowance from 1 July 2017

Travel with a medically required attendant#

Current allowances payable under the RTS

Private vehicle

Per km

34.8 cents

x1

Public, community or air transport

Actual fare

Actual fare

x2

Taxi transport

Actual fare

Actual fare

x1

Commercial accommodation non–capital city – single^

Per night

$143.90

x2

Commercial accommodation capital city – single^

Per night

$171.00

x2

Entitled person and medically required attendant sharing commercial accommodation – shared^

Per night

$234.10

x1

Subsidised accommodation – single^

Per night

$89.90

x2

Private accommodation – single^

Per night

$44.90

x2

Meal allowance – treatment location is more than 50 km but less than or equal to 200 km from your residence

Per day

$14.30

x2

Meal allowance – treatment location is more than 200 km from your residence

Per day

$29.00

x2

 

^ A meal allowance is not paid on a day where an accommodation allowance is paid.

# This column refers to the number of times an allowance is paid when an entitled person travels with a medically required attendant.  For instance, if an entitled person shares a room with their attendant, only the allowance for one room is paid for (x1).  If they each have a single room, the allowance for both rooms is paid for (x2).

What if I need to travel with a medically required attendant?

You may have a medical attendant* travel with you when it is medically required.  This excludes any time that you are travelling by ambulance or receiving treatment as an inpatient at hospital as the role is fulfilled by medical staff.

While you can receive allowances for your medical attendant’s travelling expenses, there is no compensation of lost wages or for a nurse escort. 

When your medical attendant travels to pick you up to take you to treatment, DVA does not reimburse the distance from their residence to yours or vice versa.

*Note: A medical attendant is any person who is responsible, competent and physically able to assist you while you are travelling to treatment.  They do not have to be medically qualified.

What travelling allowances are payable for my medical attendant if I am admitted to hospital?

If you are admitted to hospital while accompanied by a medical attendant, they are entitled to travelling expenses to:

  • return to their residence at the time of your admission; and
  • return to the hospital at the time you are discharged.

OR

  • If your medical attendant does not return to their residence and chooses to stay in commercial, subsidised or private accommodation while you are in hospital, a contributing allowance may be payable.  The allowance payable is the lesser of:
    • the amount of kilometre allowance that would have been payable had your medical attendant returned to their residence when you were admitted to hospital, and then back to the hospital at the time you were discharged; or
    • the amount of commercial, subsidised or private accommodation allowance payable for the period you were hospitalised.

Example: You were admitted to hospital for two nights and your medical attendant stayed in nearby subsidised accommodation, rather than returning home.  The distance from the hospital to your attendant’s home is 500 km (return).  Based on the current kilometre rate of $0.348/km ($0.348 x 500km = $174.00) and subsidised accommodation – single rate of $89.90/night ($89.90 x 2 nights = $179.80), the amount of $174.00 would be paid towards the total cost of your attendant’s accommodation.  The actual cost incurred for accommodation is not taken into consideration for this calculation.

Your medical attendant is not eligible for any transport assistance to visit you while you are in hospital.

How are payments made?

DVA will pay your travelling allowance(s) directly into the same bank account that your pension or allowance is already paid into.  An advice letter is also sent which provides you with payment details, including any amount paid for your medical attendant.  If a claim for payment has been rejected or amended for any reason the advice letter will explain the decision and how this decision can be reviewed.

What if I need payments in advance?

In some cases you can seek a payment from DVA towards the approximate cost of your travel in advance.  This can be helpful if your travel involves long or interstate travel and the cost of such travel may cause you financial burden.  You will need to show evidence of your appointment to receive an advance payment.

When will I need to keep receipts?

You and your medical attendant must keep receipts for four months from the date your claim is processed as you may be required to present them during this period.  Receipts include the following travel expenses:

  • public, community, taxi, hire car, vehicle ferry or air transport (greater than or equal to $30)
  • parking expenses (greater than or equal to $30); and
  • commercial or subsidised accommodation.

The $30 or more receipt requirement is for the total return trip per item.  This includes both your costs and your medical attendant’s costs.

You are not required to keep receipts for travel by private vehicle, private accommodation, meals or road tolls.

How do I make a claim?

Claims can be made by completing form D800 Claim for Travelling Expenses for travel relating:

  • visits to health providers for medical treatment (including treatment at hospital)
  • a disability claim
  • an income support claim
  • MRCA
  • DRCA; and
  • treatment under the Australian Participants in British Nuclear Tests (Treatment) Act 2006.

Claims can be made by completing form D803 Application for Travelling Expenses in Connection with a Review for travel relating to:

  • attending the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) or a Veterans’ Review Board (VRB) hearing; and
  • obtaining any documentary medical evidence for the VRB or the SMRC.

The form D800 Claim for Travelling Expenses must be lodged within twelve months of completion of travel.  Late claims may only be reconsidered where there are exceptional circumstances that prevented you from lodging your claim.  Any reconsideration must be made in writing and include supporting evidence for the delay. Reasons that may be accepted are when:

  • The claimant was incapacitated due to a clinical condition or medically unfit to submit a claim during the claim period (e.g. extended hospitalisation)
  • The claimant died within three months of the date of treatment
  • A claim was received late due to a third party losing or misplacing the claim form; or
  • The claimant was undergoing a course of treatment extending for more than three months e.g. radiotherapy and had delayed lodging their claim until the completion of the course of treatment.

Can I claim online?

You may lodge your travelling expenses claims using DVA’s online service, MyAccount.

For more information, please visit the MyAccount website at myaccount.dva.gov.au

What if I require treatment when I am travelling in Australia?

If you are a gold card holder and you need to go to a doctor or fall ill while travelling in Australia, DVA will pay for transport (including ambulance) to the closest health provider or emergency health care facility.  If you are a white card holder, your travel to treatment is paid only for accepted disabilities.  After treatment or discharge, DVA will pay for your transport back to your temporary accommodation.

If you are required to extend your stay in your temporary accommodation so you can receive further treatment DVA, will not pay your accommodation expenses.  Also, any travelling companion is not entitled to payment of accommodation expenses to stay nearby if you are admitted to hospital.  If you are seriously ill and cannot continue your journey, DVA will not pay for your transportation from your temporary location to home.

DVA recommends that you take out travel insurance when travelling interstate.

If I live overseas, am I entitled to travel assistance if I temporarily return to Australia?

Please contact DVA (details provided under More Information on this Factsheet) to discuss your individual travel entitlements.

More Information

DVA General Enquiries

Phone: 1800 555 254 *

Email: GeneralEnquiries@dva.gov.au

DVA Website: www.dva.gov.au

Factsheet Website: factsheets.dva.gov.au

* Calls from mobile phones and pay phones may incur additional charges.

Related Factsheets

Related Forms

Disclaimer

The information contained in this Factsheet is general in nature and does not take into account individual circumstances. You should not make important decisions, such as those that affect your financial or lifestyle position on the basis of information contained in this Factsheet. Where you are required to lodge a written claim for a benefit, you must take full responsibility for your decisions prior to the written claim being determined. You should seek confirmation in writing of any oral advice you receive from DVA relating to complex or important matters.

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20 October 2017