DVA rehabilitation

Last updated:

Find out how DVA rehabilitation can help you to understand and learn to utilise the civilian health system and overcome barriers that may be impacting on your wellbeing. If you’re able to work, it can also help you to obtain or sustain suitable employment.

Back to top

What is DVA rehabilitation?

DVA rehabilitation aims to assist you to build skills to enable you to maximise your wellbeing. Wellbeing is underpinned by a combination of factors relating to physical, mental, emotional and social health. DVA provides you with the skills to maximise your capacity and functioning in all of those areas so that you can optimise your wellbeing.

DVA provides assistance with skill and capacity development in multiple areas of your life that may be impacting on your ability to achieve your rehabilitation goals. Support under DVA rehabilitation is broken down into 3 areas – medical management, psychosocial and vocational.

First we will organise an assessment of your needs. If rehabilitation is suitable for you, we will then work with you to develop a plan that will help you reach your goals.

Whilst DVA rehabilitation can provide assistance with whole of person factors, this does not include:

  • medical treatment; or
  • drug or alcohol rehabilitation.

Depending on your circumstances and medical capacity, you may start a rehabilitation plan that includes:

  • help to find and independently access health professionals in your local area
  • life management skills
  • education on managing finances
  • vocational support to help you find or sustain employment.

Go to Injury or health treatments if you are looking for:

Back to top

Who can get a rehabilitation plan?

If you’re medically able to take part and you have need/s that can be met by DVA rehabilitation, we may be able to help.

Your need/s for rehabilitation must be linked to an injury or condition that we’ve accepted as related to your service under either of these Acts:

If you don’t have a condition accepted yet but you’re getting the Veteran Payment, you may also be eligible for a rehabilitation plan.

When you can get a plan?

If you’re still serving, Defence will organise your rehabilitation through the Australian Defence Force Rehabilitation Program (ADFRP). Once you have separated from Defence, you can get a rehabilitation plan through DVA. If you’re beginning the separation process, you might start DVA rehabilitation before you discharge.

You can request a DVA rehabilitation plan no matter how long it has been since you served. If you have previously had a plan and your circumstances have changed, you can ask us for a new one. You might do this if an accepted condition/s has gotten worse.

Where can I get help?

If you don’t qualify for a rehabilitation plan, there may be other ways we can help you.

If you have certain service under the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA), you can take part in the Veterans’ Vocational Rehabilitation Scheme (VVRS).

Back to top

What support is available?

Your plan may include 3 types of services and support.

Medical management

Medical management is not the same as medical treatment. Medical management can help you develop skills to:

  • find and access health professionals in your local area
  • find and access veteran and family specific assistance programs (e.g. Open Arms)
  • build your health literacy to proactively manage your health and wellbeing.

Psychosocial rehabilitation

Psychosocial rehabilitation aims to assist with overcoming barriers that may be impacting upon your wellbeing or ability to function independently. Psychosocial rehabilitation can help you to:

  • improve your life management skills
  • engage with your family and community
  • enhance your social connections.

Vocational rehabilitation

If you have medical capacity, vocational rehabilitation can help you to obtain or sustain suitable and meaningful employment. Vocational rehabilitation can provide assistance with:

  • getting your skills and prior learning assessed
  • engaging in job readiness and job seeking assistance activities
  • taking part in a work trial
  • learning new skills via training courses.
Back to top

How does it work?

To be considered eligible for a rehabilitation plan, you need to have a rehabilitation assessment first.

1. Getting a rehabilitation assessment

You can ask us for an assessment by emailing rehabilitation [at] dva.gov.au or contacting us. You may also be referred to us by:

A rehabilitation consultant from a contracted rehabilitation provider will complete the assessment with you. They will organise a time to meet with you to:

  • get to know you and your need/s
  • discuss your goals
  • assess your medical capacity to participate in rehabilitation.

2. Getting approved for a rehabilitation plan

Once the assessment is complete, you can get a plan if you:

  • are medically able to take part
  • have needs that could be met by rehabilitation
  • agree to participate.

3. Creating your plan

You and your consultant will create a plan together. It will aim to address and achieve the goals identified in your assessment. Your plan will include:

  • your rehabilitation goal/s
  • the activities that will help you to achieve your goal/s
  • the expected dates and duration of activities on your plan.

If your plan includes vocational goal/s, your consultant will ask your doctor to fill out a medical certificate so we can confirm your medical capacity.

Your consultant will submit the plan documents and if required, the medical certificate from your doctor, to a rehabilitation delegate so they can review and approve your plan.

4. Managing your plan

Your consultant will monitor your progress and provide proactive, ongoing support to you to assist you with completing the activities on your plan and achieving your goals.

These goals and activities may change as your needs change. Your consultant will work with you to refine
your plan as needed. 

5. Closing your plan

Your plan will close when one of the following happens:

  • you have achieved all of the goals on your plan
  • your medical circumstances change and you no longer have capacity to participate in rehabilitation
  • you stop participating in your plan.
Back to top

Who supports me throughout my rehabilitation plan?

Your rehabilitation consultant is the main person who will work with you to proactively monitor and support you in completing activities and achieving your goals. DVA rehabilitation delegates will check on the progress and compliance of your plan.

You may also be connected with other service providers (e.g. activity providers) who will support you.

Your rehabilitation consultant

A qualified consultant from a contracted rehabilitation provider will be your main contact. Your consultant will:

  • conduct your rehabilitation assessment
  • work with you to develop your rehabilitation plan and goals
  • identify and suggest activities to help you reach your goals
  • consider your medical status and any barriers you may have
  • monitor your progress towards achieving your goals
  • provide proactive, ongoing support throughout your plan.

DVA rehabilitation delegates

A delegate will be one of our DVA rehabilitation services staff members. The delegate will:

  • introduce the DVA rehabilitation program to you
  • answer your questions about your rights and obligations
  • refer you to a rehabilitation provider
  • review your plan to ensure that it complies with legislation and DVA's rehabilitation policies
  • consider and approve changes
  • correspond with your consultant to monitor progress towards achieving your goals
  • send you written advice when your plan starts and ends.
Back to top

What we require you to do

You have certain obligations when you take part in DVA rehabilitation. It’s important that you understand and meet them.

How to meet your obligations

Your role requires you to:

  • participate and cooperate in your assessment
  • provide medical certificates or the status of your health condition/s if this is requested
  • work towards your rehabilitation goals and participate in all the activities on your plan
  • attend medical or other appointments if this is requested
  • respond to contact from your consultant and DVA.

When rehabilitation is compulsory

If you receive incapacity payments or the Veteran Payment, you must take part in rehabilitation as long as you’re medically able.

If you don’t meet your obligations, we will issue you with a written warning, and may need to suspend or close your rehabilitation plan. Incapacity payments will stop when your rehabilitation plan is suspended or closed.

When to contact your consultant

You must contact your consultant as soon as possible if:

  • you are unable to attend an appointment they make for you
  • your capacity to participate in rehabilitation changes.

If you can’t contact your consultant, email us at rehabilitation [at] dva.gov.au or contact us.

Back to top
Was this page useful?
Please tell us why you selected 'Yes'?
Please tell us why you selected 'No'?