Permanent Impairment DVA Payout Figures
When it comes to making a DVA claim for permanent impairment (PI), one of the first things most claimants will want to know is what kind of compensation they can expect to receive. The reality is that DVA payout figures vary significantly due to the specifics of each claim.
While there are guidelines in place via the Defence Related Claims Act, exactly how much a veteran will receive as a PI compensation payment will be determined by a Department of Veterans Affairs delegate.
What Constitutes Permanent Impairment?
Permanent impairment is considered to be any service-related injury or illness that is likely to impact your life indefinitely and has not stabilised. Permanent impairment is not always linked to, but is more often than not considered to be in line with a disability.
It is defined as something that significantly alters your ability to care for yourself, work or work in a normal capacity. This means any injury or disease to a part of the body (arms, legs, back etc), or a bodily system such as the digestive, psychological or reproductive system.
DVA payout figures, such as PI compensation, take into account permanent physical and/or mental impairment in combination with any lifestyle restrictions.
What Is a PI Compensation Payment?
A PI compensation payment is a DVA payout figure made to any Australian Defence Force service member that has received a permanent and life-altering injury or illness as a result of their time spent in service. You may be entitled to this compensation if:
- you have an impairment acquired during a period of service; and
- the impairment is unlikely to resolve; and
- your injury or disease hasn’t stabilised.
PI compensation is intended to help alleviate the financial loss that has come as a result of the individual’s inability to return to work or life as normal.
How Are Individual DVA Payout Figures Calculated?
Once your claim for permanent impairment has been submitted, a DVA delegate will assess it against the relevant Statement of Principles to confirm that your impairment is linked with your time in service.
Depending on when the impairment was sustained, you will have made a compensation defence-related claims request under either the DRCA or the MRCA. While both these acts are similar in nature, they do have some differences when it comes to available benefits and eligibility.
As per the DVA:
“The impairment from all of your accepted conditions is combined to arrive at a total impairment rating on a scale from 0 to 100 points. The impairment rating is then combined with the type of service you were rendering at the time of your injury along with a lifestyle rating (from 0 to 7) to determine the compensation payable.”
This means that the more significant your illness or injury and the bigger the impact this has on your lifestyle, the larger the lump sum you can expect to receive in your DVA payout figure.
PI Compensation Guide
Under the MRCA
Under the MRCA the following DVA payout figures apply, in accordance with DVA guidelines:
- Maximum weekly benefit – $363.09. Payments may be taken as a lump sum calculated according to age.
- Additional payment for severely impaired veterans with eligible dependants – $93,473.87
Under the DRCA
Under the DRCA the following DVA payout figures apply, in accordance with DVA guidelines:
- Maximum non-economic loss lump sum – $74,232.18
- Maximum lump sum – $197,952.37
Under the DRCA, if your degree of impairment is assessed as being greater than 80% you may also be entitled to additional compensation. This is obtained through the Defence Act 1903 Severe Injury Adjustment (SIA) provision.
Paid in addition to the PI compensation payment, an SIA payment relates to a specific injury or disease sustained or suffered on or after 10 June 1997. Further lump sums will be paid for each child under the age of 16 (25 if they are a student not working full-time) that was a dependent at the time the injury or illness occurred.
Decisions regarding payments are final, so it is recommended to seek qualified financial advice before making a decision to ensure you are fully informed. Should you be assessed as being at 50 points or higher on the impairments scale, the costs of seeking advice from a qualified financial advisor can also be claimed back from DVA.
PI Compensation and The Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Act
Both the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act (MRCA) and the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Defence-related Claims Act (DRCA) have provisions for income support or lump sum payments for permanent impairment.
The act under which your claim will be assessed will be determined by the year or years in which you served and when the injury or illness was first recorded.
How Will I Receive My Payment?
If claiming under the DRCA, permanent impairment payments are always issued as a lump sum. When being processed under the MRCA you have the option to choose a lump sum payment, periodic fortnightly payment or a combination of both.
You are required to select your preferred payment schedule within six months of the offer being made to you by the DVA. During this decision-making period, fortnightly payments will be made and these amounts deducted from the lump sum total should you elect to opt for this.
Are Payout Figures from the Department of Veterans Affairs Taxable?
While some categories of payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs are taxable, DVA payout figures for permanent impairment are tax exempt. This is for both lump-sum payments or periodic payments and whether they come via the DRCA or MRCA.
We facilitate the completion of all DVA claims forms and essential medical reports. Prior to submission, our medi-legal expert reviews your claim and thoroughly checks all details. This helps to avoid delays in processing and deliver optimal DVA claims support.
What If I Am Already Receiving a Service Pension or Income Support Supplement?
As PI compensation is not counted as income for service pension or ISS purposes, receiving a lump sum or periodic payment will not impact these payments.
The only caveat to this is if you applied for these payments under the financial hardship rules. In this instance, it will be counted as income, or as an asset under the asset test if taken as a lump sum.
What If My Condition Worsens?
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.
How to Claim
Claiming for permanent impairment is a secondary step after making an initial liability claim. Once liability has been accepted, a needs assessment is carried out by the DVA and your entitlements for a PI payment will be considered. However, you can make a permanent impairment claim at any time by requesting this in writing to the DVA.
All claims will be required to have DVA forms completed and all associated medical paperwork and supporting documents included in the submission. This paperwork can be submitted online via the My Service portal or sent to your nearest DVA office.
What If I Disagree with My DVA Payout Figures?
Should you feel that the level of compensation awarded is insufficient or that the points attributed to your impairment are incorrect, you are able to appeal the decision with the Department of Veterans Affairs. At this time, a new delegate will be assigned to make a determination on your claim, one that was not involved in the initial decision making.
Requesting a reconsideration may lead to:
- The original decision regarding your DVA payout figure being upheld.
- A revocation of the original decision and determination of a new one.
- Other changes to the original decision, such as changes to the rate of payment.
If after the initial reconsideration you still are in disagreement with the outcome, you can then request a review via the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).
Feeling Lost? Veterans Health Centre Can Help
Understandably, veterans facing a life with a permanent impairment are already significantly distressed. Navigating the paperwork and extensive reporting required by the DVA only adds to what is already a very challenging time.
At Veterans Health Centre (VHC) our team of ex ADF personnel are not only highly skilled at providing world-class medical care, but comprehensive DVA claims support.
No matter where you are in your journey post-discharge, VHC can help provide the best possible platform for recovery. Contact our friendly team today on 1300 VETERAN to get started.