Claim travel expenses under the RTS

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If you have paid to travel to medical appointments, or to get medical evidence, we may reimburse some of the costs. We may also help with the costs of attending any hearings if you have asked us to review a decision.

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Travel for treatment during COVID-19 pandemic

If you are required by your health professional to travel interstate to seek medical treatment and are subsequently subject to COVID-19 related quarantine/isolation costs, DVA may be able to assist with those costs. Please call 1800 550 455 for more information.

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The repatriation transport scheme (RTS)

The RTS is a program to help eligible DVA clients and their attendant get to treatment that is both

  • approved by us
  • within Australia.

Under the RTS, you may be eligible for:

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Who we may reimburse

We may reimburse your travel costs if you hold either 1 of these cards under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA):

We may also reimburse your travel costs if you travelled to receive treatment under the non-liability health care (NLHC) for any of the following conditions:

  • malignant cancer (neoplasia)
  • pulmonary tuberculosis
  • any mental health condition (including substance use disorder and alcohol use disorder).

Other Acts

If you have a Gold or White Card under a different legislation, see Reimbursing travel expenses under MRCA or DRCA for details on how we can help.

Contact us to discuss your transport options if we treat you under either:

  • the Australian Participants in British Nuclear Tests and British Commonwealth Occupation Force (Treatment) Act 2006
  • the Treatment Benefits (Special Access) Act 2019.
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What we may reimburse

Under the RTS we may reimburse some of your travel costs, including:

  • transport
  • accommodation.

We may reimburse some of the costs if you travelled to:

  • attend a health services appointment for treatment we pay for
  • get medical evidence to support your claim for a Disability Pension
  • get medical evidence to support your claim for Invalidity Service Pension or Income Support Supplement due to invalidity
  • attend the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for a VEA matter or a Veterans’ Review Board (VRB) hearing
  • get medical evidence for the VRB or the Specialist Medical Review Council (SMRC).

Transport costs we may reimburse

We may reimburse some of your transport costs, including:

  • costs if you travelled by a private vehicle by yourself, with a family member or a friend
  • public transport
  • community transport
  • vehicle ferries
  • parking
  • road tolls.

If it is the most cost-effective mode of transport, we may reimburse you for travel by:

  • a non-emergency ambulance
  • an aeroplane
  • a taxi or hire car.

Accommodation allowance we may pay

We may reimburse part of your accommodation expenses if either:

  • you had to travel more than 250 km (one way) for your treatment
  • an overnight stay is necessary due to the circumstances of your treatment, regardless of how far you had to travel.

Examples of when we may pay an accommodation allowance include, but are not limited to:

  • your health provider needs you to stay close by for observation
  • you had surgery and are unable to travel long distances
  • you had an appointment that is early in the morning or late in the afternoon
  • you are given medication that stops you from making a return trip.

We may reimburse accommodation expenses in other situations. Contact us to discuss.

Accommodation and your meal allowance

When we reimburse an accommodation allowance for the night, a separate meal allowance is not payable. This is because we factor the cost of your meals into the accommodation allowance. 

You may be eligible for a meal allowance for the day you check out of your accommodation.

Meal costs we may reimburse

We may pay a meal allowance if you travelled more than 50 km one way.

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Travelling for treatment

When you are travelling for treatment, we may look at the distance between your residence and your closest practical provider (CPP). 

Your residence is your permanent or temporary location at the time of treatment.

Your CPP is the health provider who:

  • is closest to your residence
  • can provide appropriate treatment
  • we recognise as an approved provider.

If the distance from your residence to your CPP is 50 km or less, we will reimburse you for the distance travelled.

We will reimburse you to a distance equal to the CPP or a 100 km return trip, whichever is the greater, if you are treated by a health provider who is both:

  • not your CPP
  • more than 50 km (one way) from your residence.

Confirm that a health provider is your CPP

If it is not clear whether the provider you are travelling to is your CPP, we will need a letter from the provider to confirm why you have bypassed other providers to attend the appointment. This may apply if you:

  • have a clinical need to see a particular provider
  • have been referred to a particular provider.

You should ask for this letter at your appointment and submit with your claim for travelling expenses.

Even with a supporting letter, we may determine that the health provider is not your CPP. If this happens and you travel more than 50 km each way, we will reimburse you for whichever is greater:

  • the distance to your CPP and back
  • a 100 km round trip.

If you are not sure whether we are likely to need evidence, you can call us on 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372) before you travel.

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Rates

Transport

If you travelled by a private vehicle, we may reimburse:

  • $0.372c per km that you travelled.

If you travelled with an attendant, we will only reimburse this cost once.

We may reimburse the actual fare that you paid if you travelled by:

  • public transport
  • community transport
  • an aeroplane
  • a taxi.

If you travelled with an attendant, we may reimburse the fare that each of you paid.

Accommodation allowance

The amount we may reimburse will depend on:

  • the type of room you stayed in
  • if you stayed in a room by yourself or with your attendant.

Commercial accommodation allowance if you and your attendant shared the same room:

  • $249.80 per night.

Commercial accommodation allowance in a capital city:

  • $182.40 per night.
  • We can reimburse this amount for you, or for you and your attendant if you each stayed in a separate room.

Commercial accommodation allowance not in a capital city:

  • $153.60 per night.
  • We can reimburse this amount for you, or for you and your attendant if you each stayed in a separate room.

Subsidised accommodation allowance:

  • $95.90 per night.
  • We can reimburse this amount for you, or for you and your attendant if you each stayed in a separate room.

Private accommodation allowance:

  • $47.90 per night.
  • We can reimburse this amount for you, or for you and your attendant if you each stayed in a separate room.

Meal allowances

If you travelled more than 50 km one way but less than 200 km one way from home to the treatment location:

  • $15.30 per day.
  • We can reimburse this amount for you, or for you and your attendant.

If you travelled more than 200 km one way from home to the treatment location:

  • $31.00 per day.
  • We can reimburse this amount for you, or for you and your attendant.
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If you travel with an attendant

An attendant is someone who is:

  • responsible
  • competent
  • physically able to help you while you are travelling.

They do not need to have any medical qualifications or training.

We are not able to reimburse your attendant for:

  • travel between their house and your own
  • any lost wages.

We do not reimburse costs for a qualified attendant such as a nurse escort.

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Costs for your attendant while you are in hospital

If you are admitted to hospital while travelling with your attendant, we may reimburse your attendant for either:

  • a return trip to their residence at the time of your admission and a return trip to the hospital at the time you are discharged
  • a contribution towards their accommodation if they stay in commercial, subsidised or private accommodation while you are in hospital.

If they stay in accommodation, we can contribute to these costs. We call this a contributing allowance. We do not take the actual cost of accommodation into consideration when we calculate this cost.

The contributing allowance we may pay them will be the lesser of either:

  • the kilometre allowance we would have reimbursed for their trip home and return trip to the hospital
  • the accommodation allowance payable for the time you are in hospital.

Your attendant will not be reimbursed for any travel costs, including parking, to visit you while you are in hospital.

Example of a contributing allowance

You are admitted to hospital for 2 nights.

Your attendant stays in commercial accommodation for those 2 nights, rather than returning home.

The distance from the hospital to your attendants home is 500 km (return). 

If they drove home, we would reimburse them $186.00 ($0.372c per km x 500 km).

The usual reimbursement amount for staying in commercial accommodation for 2 nights is $364.80 ($182.40 x 2 nights).

In this example, we would contribute $186.00 towards your attendant's accommodation.  

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Travel for treatment within Australia

We recommend that you take out travel insurance when travelling interstate. This is because we cannot reimburse you for:

  • accommodation costs if you fall ill or get injured and have to extend your stay to receive treatment
  • transport home if you fall seriously ill and you cannot continue your journey.

We will not pay for the accommodation expenses for any travelling companion if you are admitted to hospital.

Gold Card holders

If you have a Gold Card and you need to see a doctor or you get sick while you travel, we may reimburse you for:

  • the cost of transport (including in an ambulance) to either the closest health provider or an emergency health care facility
  • the cost to travel to your temporary location after treatment or discharge.

White Card holders

If you are a White Card holder, we will only pay for your travel to treatment for your accepted disabilities.

After treatment or discharge we may reimburse you for the cost to travel to your temporary location.

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Travel to Australia if you live overseas

Contact us to discuss your individual entitlements. 

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How to apply

You can apply by either:

If you do not have a MyService or you choose to use a paper form you will need to use:

Claim form D0800 “Claim for Travelling Expenses” for travel relating to:

  • a health services appointment for treatment we pay for
  • a claim for Disability Pension
  • a claim for Invalidity Service Pension or Income Support Supplement due to invalidity
  • a medical examination that we requested under MRCA and DRCA
  • treatment under the Australian Participants in British Nuclear Tests and British Commonwealth Occupation Force (Treatment) Act 2006.

Claim form D0803 “Application for Travelling Expenses in connection with a Review” if you travelled to:

  • attend the AAT or a VRB hearing
  • get medical evidence for the VRB or the SMRC.

You have 12 months from the completion of your travel to submit your claim.

DVA aims process travel reimbursement claims within 28 days, in line with the DVA Service Charter.

Receipts

You and your attendant need to keep receipts for:

  • any transport if the cost is $30 or more for a return trip
  • parking expenses of $30 or more per return trip
  • commercial or subsidised accommodation.

You do not need to keep receipts for:

  • road tolls
  • private vehicle costs
  • meals
  • private accommodation.

You need to keep the receipts for 4 months from the date we process your claim. We may ask you to present the receipts during this time. 

What if I need help filling out your forms manually or online?

If you need help filling out your Claim for Travelling Expenses form manually or online, you can telephone DVA General Enquires on 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372) or visit a local Veterans' Information Service (VIS) or Veterans' Access Network (VAN) for assistance.

Alternatively, ex-service organisations such as the RSL, Legacy, or the War Widows Guild, have pensions and welfare officers who will be able to help you.

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Contact numbers

Our travel team can help you if you are unable to pay for your travel costs upfront. You can call them on 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372) during business hours.

You can call us on 1800 550 455 if:

  • you are travelling a long distance
  • you need us to book transport for you.
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