Permanent Impairment

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What Is Permanent Impairment?

A permanent impairment essentially refers to a disabling injury, disease or illness that prohibits you from engaging in regular activities. These lifestyle restrictions may include activities such as working, driving, walking, swimming, undertaking personal care and more.

Should you have experienced a life-changing injury or contracted an illness or disease as a direct result of your service in the ADF you may be entitled to make a permanent impairment claim. Permanent impairment claims are processed by the Department Of Veterans Affairs and are the formal channel through which the ADF accept liability for your situation.

What Is A DVA Permanent Impairment Rating Payout?

When it comes to the Department Of Veterans Affairs, any injury or illness sustained during or in relation to your service that leads to PI is potentially eligible for financial compensation. The amount you will be compensated is determined via a rating system. This system rates your level of permanent impairment on a scale of 0-100 with 100 being the most severe.

A medical specialist will review your situation and prepare a permanent impairment assessment report. The DVA will then use in combination with other factors such as the type of service you were rendering at the time of your injury alongside a lifestyle rating (from 0 to 7) to determine your level of compensation.

How Will You Be Paid Your Permanent Impairment Compensation?

Once your status as PI is approved and the compensation amount decided, your compensation will be paid to you in fortnightly instalments. Should you prefer and depending on the percentage of PI assessed, you may elect to modify this payment schedule.

Dr. Tom Perkins and his patient pointing fingers
VHC specialist holding a Hydraulic Hand Dynamometer
Dr. Tom Perkins grasping the hands of a patient while checking pulses
Two happy female VHC specialist talking to each other

Lump Sum Payment, Periodic Payment Or A Combination Of Both?

For some veterans, the option to take all your compensation in a single lump sum may be preferable. For others, periodic payment may work better. In some instances, you may also have the option to do a combination of both – receiving an initial lump sum followed by fortnightly payments.

The DVA will advise as to what your options are specific to your case. You will need to make a decision within 6 months of the approval of the compensation or it will automatically lock in as periodic payments. Keep in mind that once you have selected a payment schedule for your compensation, this decision is final and cannot be altered at a later date.

An illness or injury is considered a permanent impairment when it does not resolve or improve with medical treatment or rehabilitation. PI as its name suggests is a long-term situation that is not expected to improve significantly over time.

What Is Included In a PI Report?

Our process is very similar to that used by DVA’s internal assessors, with the creation of a standalone report as well as completing the DVA documentation. Your PI report will be completed by following the Guide to the Assessment of Rates of Veterans’ Pensions or GARP.

GARP requires your report to include any and all information relating to your injury or illness acquired during service as a work-related injury such as:

  • A medical examination report outlining any physical loss or disturbance to your body systems and associated loss of function.
  • Hearing reports.
  • Respiratory function tests.
  • Psychological examination results.
  • Lifestyle impairment details such as the impact your impairment has had on your personal relationships, mobility, recreational and community activities and employment and domestic activities.
  • Any other specialist doctor reports related to your injury or illness.

At Veterans Health Centre, we have extensive knowledge of the DVA claims process and what is required to be in your report to facilitate the claim. Prior to submission, we ensure that you have included all relevant test results and information for a more rapid assessment and approvals process.

Dr. Tom Perkins writing on a paper placed on a clipboard

The Process For Obtaining A PI Report

Preliminary Assessment By A Registered Nurse

Our team included ex ADF nurses who will undertake an initial assessment of your situation and determine the framework for proceeding. They will review your general health, fitness and wellbeing before organising your more in-depth medical review.

Medical review

During your medical review, your illness and/or injuries will be assessed and noted as per GARP. Before undertaking the physical examination we will do a full review of your medical history, focusing on the details and nuances of pain and functional loss.
As part of the assessment, we will work to assess ranges of motion actively, rather than passively move limbs through their ranges of motion, as per the GARP.

PI Submission

Prior to your PI claim submission, your dedicated paralegal Case Manager will go through all your claims in detail to check for any omissions or errors. We set aside an hour per claim to create the medicolegal reports, organise the supporting documents and submit your claim to DVA’s MyService on MyGov. This appointment is conducted via Telehealth or in-person at our specialist clinic.

How We Help

We utilise our advanced clinical acumen and understanding of the DVA processes to undertake permanent impairment assessments with exceptional accuracy. Ensuring they are completed right the first time, to the highest possible standards. We recognise the significant emotional distress many of our patients are feeling during this time and work with genuine empathy and patience to help them feel as comfortable as possible.

This results in a comprehensive and independent report aligned with the GARP and the AMA Impairment Guides.
The overall process involves the general concepts of history, examination, and an inspection of the investigations done to date. We then generate our own report which is carefully written in line with medico-legal standards, whilst also preparing accurate and legible DVA forms.

By completing these permanent impairment reports to the highest possible standards, we support our veterans to achieve accurate, fast and agreeable outcomes which are essential to their ongoing health and well-being.

The Team You Can Trust

No matter where you are in your journey post-discharge, dealing with the DVA does not need to be an added stress. Our team of highly skilled, ex FDA personnel is here to streamline and expedite the process of submitting a permanent impairment claim. For genuine, comprehensive, and compassionate care, call Veterans Health Centre today on 1300 VETERAN (8383726).

Dr. Tom Perkins of VHC standing while holding on metal railings