Reimbursing travel expenses under MRCA or DRCA

Last updated: 
27 February 2020

This page explains how persons entitled under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA) or the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA) can claim for travel expenses.

Am I eligible?

This factsheet contains information applicable to those who hold a Veteran Gold Card under the MRCA, or a Veteran White Card under the MRCA or DRCA.

If you have conditions accepted under the Veteran’s Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA), please refer to Claim travel expenses under the RTS for information about claiming travelling expenses under the Repatriation Transport Scheme.

If you have been provided with a Veteran White Card through the Non-Liability Health Care (NLHC) arrangements, you are able to access the Booked Car Scheme (BCS) for travel to treatment for your diagnosed NLHC conditions only. If liability is accepted for these conditions under either the MRCA or DRCA, eligibility will be lost for the BCS. 

What travel can I claim for?

You can claim travelling expenses relating to:

  • attending treatment for any condition, if you hold a MRCA Veteran Gold Card
  • attending treatment for accepted conditions only, if you hold a Veteran White Card
  • attending a rehabilitation assessment
  • attending a medical examination at the request of DVA
  • travelling to attend or obtain medical evidence for a Veterans’ Review Board (VRB) hearing (applicable to MRCA clients only); and
  • in specific circumstances, transporting a person for treatment immediately after they have sustained a service injury or disease.

You cannot claim travelling expenses relating to:

  • attending a hearing at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT)
  • attending treatment outside Australia; or
  • undertaking your usual rehabilitation activities as part of your rehabilitation program.

If you are travelling outside of Australia, please see Medical care while overseas.

What type of travel expenses can be claimed?

DVA can provide reimbursement for:

  • travel in a private vehicle (if your journey is more than 50 km)
  • parking (if your journey is more than 50 km)
  • public transport – bus, train, ferry
  • taxi (in specific circumstances)
  • air travel (with prior approval)
  • accommodation (if round trip is more than 600 km, where your appointment is early or late in the day or where you have a clinical reason to stay overnight); and
  • meals (if accommodation is payable).

As a general rule, DVA cannot provide reimbursement for road tolls.

How is reimbursement for travel for treatment calculated?

If you use a private vehicle to travel for treatment, and the round trip is equal to or less than 50 km, reimbursement of travelling expenses is not payable. If, however, you do not have the option to use public transport, because public transport is not available in your location, or your accepted conditions prevent you from using public transport, then the 50 km rule does not apply.

If your round trip is more than 50 km, the amount of reimbursement you are entitled to will be calculated based on the length of the journey, using a specified rate per kilometre. The rate is currently 60 cents per kilometre.

When travelling to attend treatment, it is expected that you would travel to the health provider that is closest to your residence. As a general principle, if you are treated by a health provider that is not your closest provider, DVA will only reimburse you to a distance equal to the closest provider. However, DVA will take into account any special circumstances that may mean that you need to travel a greater distance to attend treatment.

Aeroplane travel is only payable if there are no other appropriate modes of transport. Prior approval must be granted for aeroplane travel, and your travel will be booked by DVA. Again, you must travel to your closest health provider, unless DVA has agreed that there are special circumstances that must be considered.

Travel to obtain medical evidence or attending a hearing by the VRB

If you are travelling for the purpose of obtaining medical evidence for, or attending a hearing by the VRB for a MRCA claim, reimbursement is calculated at a set rate and different rules apply. For more information, please refer to Claim travel expenses under the RTS

*Note: DRCA claims cannot be heard by the VRB.

When are accommodation and meals reimbursed?

An overnight stay in commercial accommodation is payable when:

  • the round trip to attend treatment is over 600 km
  • your health provider requires that you remain close by for observation after treatment
  • the appointment time was early in the morning or late in the afternoon; or
  • the need to use particular types of medication means that it would not be safe for you to travel home immediately.

Should more than one night’s accommodation be necessary, a letter from the health provider stating the clinical reasons for the extended stay would be required along with the claim.

Reimbursement for meals is only payable when accommodation is payable.

Accommodation and meal rates are based on the rates paid to Commonwealth employees and vary slightly depending on where you are staying, and the meals that you will require when you are away from home. Your DVA delegate will advise you of the rates you will be paid.

What if I need to travel with an attendant?

DVA can pay the travel costs of a medical attendant, who needs to provide assistance to you on your journey, where this is required because of your health conditions. A medical attendant is a person who is responsible, competent and physically able to directly assist you while you are travelling to and from medical treatment. They do not have to be medically qualified.

Travel costs for an attendant are calculated in the same way as costs for the person receiving treatment. Therefore, when you and your attendant travel in a private vehicle, only one amount can be reimbursed. Further, if you are required to stay overnight when travelling and your attendant is your partner/spouse, reimbursement can only be paid for one room.

How do I make a claim?

Complete DVA Form D800 to claim travelling expenses for travel relating to obtaining treatment.

Complete DVA Form D803 to claim travelling expenses for travel to attend or obtain medical evidence for a VRB hearing. The D0803 application form must also be signed by the VRB.

Travel claims must be lodged within 12 months of completion of travel.

If you wish to claim travel expenses relating to a rehabilitation assessment or a medical examination at the request of DVA, the DVA delegate who is organising the assessment/examination will provide you with advice on how to claim travel reimbursement.

You may lodge your travelling expenses claim forms (D800 and D803 and receipts):

  • by using DVA’s online service, MyAccount at myaccount.dva.gov.au;
  • by email to transport.claims [at] dva.gov.au;
  • by fax to 07 3223 8382; or
  • by post to GPO Box 9998, Brisbane QLD 4001.

Will I need to keep receipts?

You and your medical attendant must keep all receipts relating to your travel for treatment, for 4 months from the date your claim is processed, as you may be required to present them during this period.

These include receipts for public transport, taxi, vehicle ferry and air transport, parking fees, accommodation, and meals.

How are payments made?

DVA will pay your travelling expenses directly into your nominated bank account, and a letter will be sent to you which provides payment details. If a claim for payment has been rejected or amended for any reason the letter will explain the decision and how this decision can be reviewed.

Can I request a formal review of my rejected or amended claim?

To request a formal review of your rejected or amended claim, please refer to Reconsideration and review of decisions

If you are covered by DRCA, you must lodge your request no later than 30 days after you receive advice of the decision that you wish to have reconsidered.

If you are covered by MRCA, you must apply to the VRB in writing no more than 12 months from the date of the decision that you have received.