Treatment costs after you receive compensation

Last updated: 
23 January 2020

A general outline of how DVA may, under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA), recover past treatment costs and/or restrict future treatment costs if you have successfully claimed for damages or compensation from another source.

Overview

This applies to veterans, war widows and widowers who hold a Veteran Card and who make a compensation claim, damages claim for a disease, disability claim or a condition/injury claim.

*Note: - If you access your treatment under the provisions of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA) or the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA) then you must refer to When and how to take legal action for compensation or Claims for family members.

Can I make a claim for damages or compensation?

Yes. As a DVA Health Card holder there is no barrier to making a compensation or damages claim against the organisation, insurer or person who caused the injury. For example, if you have an accident, become a victim of negligence or are injured at work. However, if you receive any treatment at departmental expense or receive compensation from another source, DVA may recover or restrict further treatment to preclude double compensation. For further information, please see Disability Pension and Compensation Offsetting.

What happens if I do not recover all or any costs or damages?

If DVA has paid for treatment for a condition that relates to your compensation or damages claim, and you do not recover all or any costs, DVA may consider waiver of the amount of the outstanding debt. Your solicitor should submit full details to the Department.

It should be noted that the Commission:

  • expects the debt to be repaid in full upon compensation or damages being received or awarded;
  • will not give any assurance before or during settlement discussions that it will reduce the debt; and
  • may, after the case is settled, consider accepting an application to reduce or waive the debt, but no guarantee can be given that the outcome will be a favourable one to the applicant.

What is a section 93 notice?

The purpose of section 93 of the VEA is to ensure that the Commonwealth of Australia does not meet the cost of treatment where another party has the liability to pay these costs. Where a veteran commences, or can commence, litigation against a third party, DVA has the authority to recover from the veteran the costs of treatment provided for the injury or disease for which the compensation is sought.

What do I need to tell DVA?

If you hold a White or Gold DVA Health Card, you or your solicitor must inform DVA that you are seeking or have received an amount of compensation or damages.

When you or your solicitor notifies DVA that you are seeking compensation, we will send your solicitor a letter detailing DVA’s treatment costs associated with the injury or disease.

Will this affect my pension?

Compensation received may also reduce any disability pension or income support pension you receive. For further information, please refer to the Related Factsheets listed at the end of this Factsheet.

Will DVA recover future treatment costs?

Yes. Where a person receives damages or compensation for a condition and DVA pays for later treatment for this condition, these costs may also be recovered.

It should be noted that there does not need to be an allowance in the compensation or damages for future treatment costs for repayment to be sought.

The nature of the compensation payment will be carefully examined by a Delegate of the Commission to determine whether ongoing treatment costs should be recovered.

Are there any exceptions?

Recovery of treatment costs paid by DVA is not applied in cases where a person was the victim of physical or sexual abuse within the ADF. This is because these persons, due to the difficulty of obtaining statutory compensation for their abuse, had no choice but to seek common law damages, and should not be penalised for this state of affairs.

In these cases, DVA would neither recover already paid treatment costs, nor bar any future treatment at Departmental expense..

Contact Information

  • Email: Third.Party.Recoveries [at] dva.gov.au
  • Contact us