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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?

Rehabilitation support and services provided by DVA are designed to help you to adapt, manage and recover following your service related injury or disease. The aim of rehabilitation is to get you back to, wherever possible, at least the same physical and psychological state and social, vocational and educational status, as you had before being injured or becoming ill.

Further information about DVA’s rehabilitation process is available from the DVA website.

Who is eligible for rehabilitation assistance?

You are eligible for 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 activities of daily living. Rehabilitation assistance can also be provided by DVA prior to your separation if you are beginning the separation process.

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

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

  • your medical treatment and health care needs;
  • rehabilitation needs, including vocational assistance to return to work, medical management assistance to manage treatment and medical goals, and/or psychosocial assistance to overcome any barriers to rehabilitation and reintegrate into the community or work;
  • whether you require assistance with managing activities of daily living, including household or attendant care services, or aids and appliances to manage daily living independently;
  • assistance to help with your mobility;
  • incapacity payments; and
  • permanent impairment assessment and compensation.

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

If your claim has been accepted and you believe at any time that you may benefit from rehabilitation services and support, you are encouraged to make contact with your local DVA office and request a rehabilitation assessment.

How does DVA assess my capacity for rehabilitation?

DVA will seek the assistance of an approved rehabilitation provider to conduct a rehabilitation assessment in consultation with you and your current treating health and allied health professionals. Your partner and family members can be involved in this process if you choose.

A rehabilitation assessment will:

  • provide you with an opportunity to look at your life and identify the areas you wish to improve;
  • provide an opportunity to discuss how DVA can provide the right support to help you focus on your recovery;
  • help you identify what your rehabilitation goals might be – 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 the kinds of rehabilitation services that DVA can provide to you; and
  • discuss what issues may impact on your ability to work towards your rehabilitation goals.

The rehabilitation provider will then work collaboratively with you to create goals for your rehabilitation program and a plan to meet these goals. The rehabilitation assessment must be completed before a rehabilitation program can be developed and approved.

What may a rehabilitation program include?

A DVA rehabilitation program aims to provide you with early and appropriate assistance to suit your needs. The rehabilitation program will help you to identify areas of your life that you wish to improve and set out a plan and activities to help you reach these goals.

Rehabilitation activities can be grouped under three main categories. Your rehabilitation program 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 may involve assistance with linking you with relevant health professionals so you can manage your treatment or medical needs in a consistent way, or gain information or assistance with managing your conditions more effectively. Medical management may involve helping you to attend and coordinate medical and allied health services specifically aimed at treating your conditions to achieve recovery and well-being goals.

Psychosocial rehabilitation

Psychosocial rehabilitation includes individually tailored rehabilitation activities that help to promote your recovery and an optimal level of functioning, as well as helping you to learn to manage your new life circumstances following your service related injury or disease. Psychosocial activities may include intervention counselling programs to help you develop strategies to manage pain, adapt to living with a disability, or manage your health conditions more effectively, family/relationship, or grief and loss counselling, connection to community support services, and participation in community activities and programs.

Vocational rehabilitation

Vocational rehabilitation provides assistance to help you achieve a meaningful 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 is 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.

What is my role in the rehabilitation process?

A rehabilitation assessment will provide you with an opportunity to look at your life and identify the areas you wish to improve. Your input is essential in identifying the best ways to achieve your rehabilitation goals and the services to be provided to meet your individual needs. Rehabilitation is a cooperative and collaborative effort between you, your treating health professionals, your rehabilitation provider, your employers, and DVA.

During the rehabilitation program you will be kept informed of all important decisions and your rights and obligations. These include your obligations to undergo examinations and assessments, and to participate fully in your agreed rehabilitation plan. You will be expected to focus on achieving your goals and to take on board suggestions and direction from the service provider managing your rehabilitation activities. In turn, you can expect that they will monitor your progress, help to keep you on track, adjust your program if your circumstances change and provide support where you need it.

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 cost of your approved 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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16 January 2018