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Factsheet MRC05 - Rehabilitation


This Factsheet provides information about rehabilitation provided by DVA under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA) and the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA).

A separate rehabilitation scheme, the Veterans’ Vocational Rehabilitation Scheme (VVRS), provides assistance for eligible veterans under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986. For more information about the VVRS, please refer to DVA Factsheet HSV108.

What is rehabilitation?

DVA rehabilitation aims to support the improvement of your health and wellbeing

Our approach is different to traditional workers compensation schemes that focus mainly on return to work. We recognise that returning to work is important; however, it may be only one of your needs.

Access to support and services through your DVA rehabilitation plan are intended to help you adapt to, manage and maximise your recovery, following your service related injury or illness. The overall goal of rehabilitation through DVA is to get you back to, wherever possible, at least the same physical, psychological, social, and vocational status as you had before becoming injured or ill.

Further information about DVA's rehabilitation support is available from the DVA website.

Who is eligible for DVA rehabilitation assistance?

You are eligible for DVA rehabilitation assistance if you are a former member of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), Cadet or declared member and:

  • you are incapacitated for service or work, or have an impairment, as a result of a service injury or disease; and
  • the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission has accepted liability for the injury or disease under the DRCA and/or the MRCA.

While you are a permanent ADF member or a Reservist, rehabilitation assistance is provided by the ADF. However, you may be able to access specific support services from DVA to help you manage your daily activities.

What is the process for deciding if I need rehabilitation assistance?

Submitting a liability claim to DVA is the first step towards accessing rehabilitation services and support. A needs assessment will then be carried out by DVA that will consider:

  • your medical treatment and health care needs;
  • assistance you may need to manage your medical treatment and goals, return to work and/or improve how you engage with your community or workplace;
  • whether you require assistance to manage living independently, including household services, attendant care services, or aids and appliances;
  • incapacity payments; and
  • permanent impairment assessment and compensation.

For more information about the needs assessment process, please see DVA Factsheet MRC34.

Where you have expressed an interest in DVA rehabilitation during the needs assessment process, a rehabilitation coordinator from DVA may contact you about participation.

You may also contact a DVA office at any time and request a rehabilitation assessment, if you meet the eligibility criteria outlined in this factsheet.

How does DVA assess my rehabilitation needs?

DVA will refer you to an approved rehabilitation provider to conduct a rehabilitation assessment in consultation with you and your treatment team. Your personal support network, such as your partner or family members, can be involved in this process if you choose.

A rehabilitation assessment will:

  • help you identify rehabilitation expectations and goals – these may include, for example, building a new career outside the ADF, developing skills in managing your health and wellbeing and ensuring that you are accessing the treatment and medical support that you require;
  • identify key parties to involve in the rehabilitation process – this may include your treating doctor, health professionals and where relevant, your employer, family or other supports;
  • discuss what issues may impact on your ability to work towards your rehabilitation goals;
  • provide you with an opportunity to discuss how DVA can help you progress your recovery; and
  • identify the kinds of rehabilitation services that DVA can provide to you.

After the assessment the rehabilitation provider will work with you to develop a rehabilitation plan, listing your goals and the activities to achieve them. The rehabilitation assessment must be completed before a rehabilitation plan can be developed and approved.

What may a rehabilitation plan include?

The goals and activities within a rehabilitation plan can be grouped into three broad categories –medical management, psychosocial (social support), and vocational. Your rehabilitation plan may include activities from a combination of these categories, or a single category, depending on your individual needs and goals.

Medical management rehabilitation

Medical management rehabilitation can provide you with assistance to find appropriate services and health professionals in your area to assist you to manage your conditions more effectively. Medical management may also involve helping you to coordinate and attend medical and allied health appointments specifically aimed at treating your conditions, to achieve your recovery and wellbeing goals.

Further information about medical management is available from the DVA website.

Psychosocial rehabilitation (Social support)

The aim of social support is to reduce barriers to you achieving your rehabilitation goals and to help you address psychosocial challenges that may be impacting on your family, your connections with others, resilience and overall quality of life.

Activities may include:

  • intervention counselling or self-management programs to support your relationships with others, provide you with strategies to build resilience, or manage and adapt to your health conditions more effectively;
  • connecting you with local community supports, services or programs; or
  • supporting you to participate in local activities and programs - this could include, undertaking education to assist you to better engage with your community, or where this participation may be a ‘first step’ achievement in your long term recovery.

Further information about psychosocial rehabilitation and further education is available from the DVA website.

Vocational rehabilitation

Vocational rehabilitation provides assistance to help you to become job ready to support a suitable and sustainable return to work. Activities may include vocational assessment and guidance, assessments to determine what your employment options might be, work preparation activities, work trials, job seeking assistance, provision of workplace aids and appliances, and vocational retraining.

Retraining and further education can be an important part of the vocational rehabilitation process and may be provided by on-the-job training or by short or long term courses through a variety of educational institutions.

Further information on vocational rehabilitation, and information about further education as an activity within a rehabilitation plan is available from the DVA website.

What is my role in the rehabilitation process?

Wellbeing and recovery from injury or illness mean different things to different people, which is why your rehabilitation plan will be tailored to suit you.

You can expect that you will:

  • be kept informed of all important decisions and your rights and obligations in relation to rehabilitation;
  • actively contribute to developing your rehabilitation goals and plan;
  • participate in a range of rehabilitation activities to help you reach your goals;
  • maintain regular contact with your rehabilitation provider and DVA rehabilitation coordinator;
  • review your rehabilitation plan regularly; and
  • be able to contact with DVA and request a new assessment if your circumstances change.

Who will pay for my rehabilitation?

Once DVA has accepted liability for your conditions under the DRCA or the MRCA, DVA will meet the full reasonable costs, approved as part of your rehabilitation program.

While you are participating in a rehabilitation program you may be entitled to receive incapacity payments if you are unable to work, please see DVA Factsheet MRC08.

More Information

DVA General Enquiries

Phone: 1800 555 254 *


DVA Website:

Factsheet Website:

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

Related Factsheets


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.

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28 June 2019