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DVA’s guides to assess compensation

Courtesy of https://www.dva.gov.au/financial-support/compensation-claims/laws-cover-claims/our-guides-assess-compensation

This page provides a brief explanation of the legislative instruments used to assess the degree of incapacity or impairment from war-caused or defence-caused injury or disease. These instruments are in force under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) and the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA).

What is GARP?

GARP refers to one of two different instruments: GARP V or GARP M. GARP V is the fifth edition of the Guide to the Assessment of Rates of Veterans’ Pensions used to assess disability pension under the VEA. GARP M, or the Guide to Determining Impairment and Compensation, is a specially adapted edition of GARP V that is used to assess compensation claims under MRCA. Their provisions are binding on the Repatriation Commission, the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission, the Veterans’ Review Board and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Why do we have GARP?

GARP is designed to provide accurate and equitable assessment of incapacity from war-caused or defence-caused injuries and diseases. This ensures that veterans receive their rightful entitlement under the VEA or MRCA.

GARP V has been in force since 1998, and GARP M since 2004. Both were developed in consultation with representatives of the ex-service organisations.

How does GARP work?

Both GARP V and GARP M look at the medical impairment you suffer as a result of your war-caused or defence-caused disabilities, and the effect they have on your lifestyle.

The assessment tables across both GARPs are substantially the same. The differences between the GARP V and GARP M is in the last few chapters: GARP M includes an additional chapter 25 for working out the amount of compensation payable under the MRCA, where the person has an injury or disease accepted under the VEA and or the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related claims) Act 1988.

How is medical impairment assessed?

Medical impairment is assessed by looking at any physical loss or disturbance to your body systems, and any loss of function that you might suffer as a result.

The GARPs contain a series of tables relating to the various body systems. There are also tables used to assess specific types of impairment, such as malignant conditions, intermittent impairment, and disfigurement and social impairment.

The tables contain descriptions of the various levels of impairment that a person might suffer as a result of war-caused or defence-caused incapacity, and a rating is allocated to each level.

When a rating is selected from each appropriate table, the ratings are combined (not added arithmetically) to arrive at an impairment rating for all war-caused or defence-caused conditions.

Where does the information come from to assess medical impairment?

When considering an assessment under GARP, the Claims Assessor might ask you to attend a medical examination and assessment. The medical practitioner will examine you and may ask you questions about how your war-caused or defence-caused injuries and diseases affect you. The information gathered by the medical practitioner at this examination will be sent to DVA and placed on your file.

The Claims Assessor might also ask you to attend for other tests, such as a hearing test or a respiratory function test, or specialist examinations, depending on your claimed war-caused or defence-caused injuries and diseases. The results of these tests and examinations will also be sent to DVA and placed on your file.

The decision-maker will look at these results and any other current information on your file relating to your war-caused or defence-caused injuries and diseases to determine the level of medical impairment from which you suffer.

How is the lifestyle effect assessed?

GARP looks at four components of a veteran’s life that may be affected by war-caused or defence-caused incapacity or impairment:

  • personal relationships;
  • mobility;
  • recreational and community activities; and
  • employment and domestic activities.

A table under each component sets out descriptions of the levels of effect that war-caused or defence-caused incapacity or impairment might have on a veteran’s lifestyle. A rating is then allocated to each level.

The ratings selected from each table are added together, and the total is divided by four to arrive at the overall lifestyle rating.

Where does the information come from to assess the lifestyle effect?

When you lodge a claim, the claims assessor will ask you to complete a Lifestyle Rating form. This form will give you three options:

  • you can choose to self-assess your lifestyle effect. You will be asked to complete a Lifestyle Rating form on which you answer questions about the effects of your war-caused or defence-caused incapacity on your lifestyle, and you select what you believe to be the appropriate rating for your lifestyle effect;
  • you can complete a Lifestyle Questionnaire that asks questions about the effects of your war-caused or defence-caused incapacity on your lifestyle; or
  • you can choose not to self-assess or complete a Lifestyle Questionnaire. If you choose this option the decision maker will allocate an average lifestyle rating based on the level of medical impairment.

Whichever option you choose the decision maker will look at the information you have provided, as well as reports of your current medical condition, to determine your lifestyle rating.

How does the decision maker determine how much I will be paid?

When the medical impairment rating and the lifestyle rating have been determined, they are compared with a chart in GARP to convert them to a degree of incapacity or a factor for compensation payment.

For payments of permanent impairment compensation, the factor for compensation is multiplied by the maximum lump sum payment available under the MRCA. For further information, see You were injured after 30 June 2004.

If a disability pension is to be paid at the General Rate, the degree of incapacity will determine the amount of disability pension to be paid. For further information, see Special and Intermediate rates.

Can I appeal against the assessment of my claim?

Yes. When the decision maker tells you about the amount of disability pension or impairment compensation you will be paid, the decision maker will also tell you what you can do if you are not satisfied with the assessment. There are strict time limits for lodging appeals against these assessments. The decision maker will tell you about the time limits. For further information, see: