DVA Payout Figures

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What Is a DVA Payout?

A permanent impairment payout, also known as a PI payout, is a DVA payout figure made to any Australian Defence Force (ADF) service member or ADF Veteran that has received a permanent and life-altering injury or illness as a result of their time spent in service. This payment acts as financial compensation given by DVA to a veteran or current service member who is living with an injury or disease related to their ADF service, that is in some way impairing their ability to live as they would have prior to the injury. The injury or disease in question will need to be assessed by the DVA and classified as a permanent impairment.

According to DVA a permanent impairment is considered to be any injury or illness that can be attributed to a service member’s time in the ADF  and accepted by DVA via the Initial Liability Claim acceptance process, and that is likely to impact the service member’s life indefinitely. This permanent impairment does not necessarily have to align with a typical disability, but it is usually seen this way, in regard to the effect that it has on a person’s overall life.

This is because, like a disability, a permanent impairment is typically something that alters a person’s ability to take care of themselves, work at all, or work in a normal capacity. More often than not this means that any injury, disease, or ailment affecting the body or mind for an extended period of time, could fall into the category of permanent impairment.

As PI compensation is intended to help alleviate the financial loss that has come as a result of an individual’s inability to return to work or life as normal, it would be advisable to look into your applicability if you are living with an injury or illness.

To determine if you’re eligible for DVA payouts, you will need to first identify what legislative branch your injury is covered by. DVA Payouts come from three different legislative sources, the MRCA, the DRCA and the VEA, depending on when an individual served in the military. The MRCA is provided to current and former members of the ADF with conditions linked to service that occurred after 1/07/2004. The DRCA is provided to current and former members of the ADF with conditions linked to service occurring prior to 1/07/2004. Finally, the VEA covers conditions linked to service in wartime, peacekeeping and operational deployments, between 7 December 1972 – 30 June 2004.

DVA payout figures, such as PI compensation, take into account permanent physical and mental impairment in combination with any lifestyle restrictions, and from there a DVA delegate make a judgement as to how much compensation a person is entitled to. What this figure is and what it is intended to be used to pay for, differs between the MRCA, the DRCA and the VEA, with each providing different payouts for different ailments according to the multiple factors including things such as support required and the age of the individual.

As a basic rule of thumb however, you can rest assured that the more significant your illness or injury is, in regard to adjusting to civilian life successfully, the more significant your DVA payout, whether it be a lump sum or incremental support.

How Are Impairments Measured?

To measure the level of impairment a person is living with, DVA will ask an applicant to see an appropriate medical practitioner who will assess the applicant’s accepted conditions, the affect they have on their day-to-day functioning and the limitations they bring to working and providing for oneself.

For psychiatric conditions, an applicant’s assessment may be conducted by their treating psychiatrist, or if they do not have a treating psychiatrist, DVA will organise an appointment with an appropriate medico-legal assessor. The psychiatrist or the assessor will ask the applicant questions about how their psychiatric condition affects daily life, and a report will be created surrounding these affects.

For both physical and mental health conditions, once the assessment is complete, the medical practitioner will then send the results of their assessment to the DVA. This information will be collated and used by a claim’s assessor to calculate the overall percentage of impairment that the applicant is living with. This percentage calculation is publicly available in the ‘Guide to Determining Impairment and Compensation’ provided by the DVA.

Once this initial assessment has been made, the claims assessor will also ask the applicant to complete a Lifestyle Questionnaire, in order to create a comprehensive image of how the applicant’s conditions affect their life. Using the information the claims assessor will then calculate a rating in accordance with the effects of the applicant’s accepted conditions on their lifestyle.

To be eligible for PI compensation, the rating provided by the assessor regarding an applicant’s impairment must be assessed at 10 impairment points or more; except in the case of hearing loss, loss of fingers or toes, and loss of taste or smell, where only 5 impairment points are required.

Depending on when the impairment was sustained, an applicant will have to decide whether to submit their claim under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act (MRCA) or the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Defence-related Claims Act (DRCA). While both these acts are similar in nature, they do have some differences when it comes to available benefits and eligibility.

What Is Each Permanent Impairment Level Entitled to Receive?

The reality of DVA payout figures is that they vary significantly due to the specifics of each claim. While there are guidelines in place via the ‘Defence Related Claims Act’ and the ‘Guide to Determining Impairment and Compensation’, exactly how much a veteran will receive as a PI compensation payment is never set in stone until determined by a Department of Veterans Affairs delegate.

Generally however, PI periodical payments are calculated by multiplying the maximum weekly rate of PI compensation by the relevant compensation factor, with different factors apply to warlike/non-warlike service compared to peacetime service

Unless already covered by different compensation acts, an applicant will be entitled to maximum PI compensation (adjusted for age if taken as a lump sum), if their impairment is assessed at 80 or more impairment points irrespective of the type of service causing the impairment. If an applicant is assessed as less than 80 impairment points, they will receive proportionally less than the maximum amount relative to their type of service.

How Are Payouts Made?

As previously mentioned, PI payouts are made through two different claims acts, which can affect the way that they are paid out to applicants. If claiming under the DRCA, permanent impairment payments are always issued as a lump sum, however, when being processed under the MRCA you have the option to choose a lump sum payment, periodic fortnightly payments, or a combination of both.

This allows for flexibility with the rate at which an applicant receives compensation and can be a useful tool for staying on top of financial responsibilities. While deciding what payment schedule to choose fortnightly payments will be made, and these amounts deducted from the lump sum total should you elect to opt for this. All applicants are required to select their preferred payment schedule within six months of the offer for PI payments being made by the DVA.

While some categories of payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs are taxable, DVA payout figures for permanent impairment are tax exempt. This applies for both lump-sum payments or periodic payments and is irrespective of whether they come via the DRCA or MRCA, making these excellent forms of financial support and compensation for those who require them.

In fact, another useful benefit of the PI payout system is its progressive nature, as if you experience further progression of the accepted illness or disease, you are permitted to make a claim for reassessment. Should it be judged that your condition has progressed by more than 10% from the initial determination, additional compensation payments may be approved. This means that no matter what stage of life you are, you can get appropriate support and compensation for your service through the PI payout system.

Should I Seek Advice Before Deciding to Apply for PI Payouts?

One drawback with the DVA’s compensation policy is that any decisions made regarding payments are final, meaning you can’t re-apply for different forms of compensation once you have decided on the PI payout system. Because of this it is always advisable to seek qualified financial advice before making a decision to ensure you are fully informed on how DVA financial compensation can affect your livelihood, and how you can get the best result for yourself from the DVA.

An additional service provided by the DVA which is very useful for these situations is renumeration for the cost of seeking advice from a qualified financial advisor should you be assessed as being at 50 points or higher on the impairments scale.

Who Can Help Me?

With such a complicated payout system, it is pretty clear to see that dealing with the DVA is a complicated and taxing undertaking that can be difficult to fully understand without pre-established thorough experience with the DVA and their processes.

This is why, at Ausveterans, we take the pressure off you with a simple, straightforward and stress-free Initial Liability Claims creation service. Through this we aim we aim to help veterans access the subsequent benefits for current serving Defence personnel and veterans, such as Incapacity Payments, Permanent Impairment Lump Sum, medical treatment, and rehabilitation services, which we hope will result in a better life for those who deserve it. That’s why we do what we do at Ausveterans – To give you the support you deserve.