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Factsheet MRC34 - Needs Assessment

Purpose

This Factsheet explains what a needs assessment is, when it is normally undertaken, what may be involved in the process and the follow-up activities that may result from the assessment.

Under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA), everyone entitled to compensation for a service related injury or disease must undergo a ‘needs assessment’ to determine what services and support they may need. These can include compensation payments, medical treatment, support to manage activities of daily living, including aids and appliances or domestic assistance, and vocational, medical management and psychosocial rehabilitation services.

As part of DVA’s commitment to more holistic, comprehensive and consistent service delivery this process is applied to both Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA) and MRCA clients.

What is a needs assessment?

The needs assessment has been designed to assist you to obtain the range of rehabilitation and/or compensation services you may require.

The process involves a review of key areas of possible need, including:

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

When is a needs assessment undertaken?

A needs assessment is undertaken following DVA’s acceptance for liability of your claim for a service related injury or disease. You may be serving within the ADF, recently discharged or have been separated from the ADF for some time. Regardless of your status, the process aims to provide a comprehensive appraisal of your current circumstances and needs.

If your circumstances change or a review of your needs is required, a subsequent needs assessment may be undertaken at any time. This will help ensure you have access to all your appropriate entitlements and that DVA is aware of all your needs. Future needs assessments may focus on only those areas resulting from any change in your circumstances.

How is a needs assessment undertaken?

When your claim for a service related injury or disease is accepted, you will be contacted by mail or phone by a designated DVA employee, a delegate of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (MRCC), to explain the needs assessment process, and your related rights and responsibilities.

The delegate will prepare for your assessment by spending time reviewing your files and medical reports.

A face-to-face or telephone interview will usually be arranged to complete the assessment process.

It is important to note that the delegate managing the process is aiming to develop a complete understanding of your circumstances and needs. In some cases additional information, in particular, medical or allied health input, may be required before a clear assessment can be made and action initiated.

Where urgent needs are identified during the process the delegate has responsibility to deal with these as a priority.

How should you prepare for a needs assessment?

You need to give some thought to the support and services you think will be of assistance to you. Please refer to the ‘Related Factsheets’ list at the end of this Factsheet.

Accurate and current information on your circumstances is essential to ensure a thorough assessment is completed.

Where additional information is required, the delegate conducting the assessment may request the material from you, or organise other individuals, professionals or agencies to provide reports or documents.

You may choose to include a support person in your needs assessment interview. This person may be an advocate, carer, parent or guardian.

Can you initiate a needs assessment?

Yes, you may be entitled to a review of your needs (following your initial needs assessment), if your circumstances change. For example:

  • your medical condition is aggravated;
  • there is a change in diagnosis or treatment required;
  • your medical condition impacts on your employment situation; or
  • you are no longer able to undertake certain tasks at work or at home.

A second or subsequent needs assessment might not involve a full review of all needs, but will focus on your specific concerns. Once the delegate has considered your request they will make the decision as to what areas of need will be reviewed.

What happens following a needs assessment?

Where you have identified needs which require immediate attention the DVA delegate will follow-up on these as a priority.

You can expect to receive two copies of a summary letter from the delegate who conducted the needs assessment. This letter will record what was discussed and the action or follow-up suggested and agreed on. You are then required to sign the document, as an accurate reflection of the action that has been agreed to, and return one copy to the delegate within the specified time.

*Note: - Section 319 of MRCA prescribes that claims for compensation must be in writing. This means that no action can take place by the DVA delegate in relation to your need for support and services until a claim for compensation is made in one of the following ways:

  • a tick in one of the boxes at Q23 on the MRCA claim form (DVA Form D2051); or
  • the claimant’s signature on a needs assessment; or
  • a written request for compensation.

If you are a serving member you are entitled to raise matters identified in the needs assessment process with your treating doctor, commander or local ADF rehabilitation program contact person.

Items listed in the needs assessment summary letter will be referred by the delegate, for action through relevant sections of the Department.

You can expect to be kept informed of progress with these matters.

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.

Related Factsheets

Related Forms

More Information

DVA General Enquiries

Metro Phone: 133 254 *  

Regional Phone: 1800 555 254 *

Email: GeneralEnquiries@dva.gov.au

DVA Website: www.dva.gov.au

Factsheet Website: www.dva.gov.au/factsheets

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

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12 October 2017