fbpx

What You Should Know About DVA Permanent Impairment Points

With so many different acts and claim types it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to making a claim with the DVA. However, regardless of the specifics of your claim, one of the main things that is important to understand is the permanent impairment points system.

The DVA has extensive guidelines around permanent impairment points, often making it difficult to understand how the system actually works and how it affects the compensation you are likely to receive from the DVA.

Generally, it’s safe to assume that a DVA delegate will be involved with the calculation of any permanent impairment points, so its important to first understand what these permanent impairment points are, to ensure that you understand the decisions made by your DVA delegate.

What Are Permanent Impairment Points?

what you should know about dva permanent impairment pointsPermanent impairment points are the metric used by the DVA to calculate the value of compensation payouts owed to claimants who have been identified as suffering from permanent impairment.

The DVA doesn’t have a specific definition for ‘permanent impairment’ in regard to the permanent impairment point scheme. However, in setting out the criteria which must be met for the Commonwealth to be liable to pay PI payments for a service injury or disease DVA states that in order for an impairment to be eligible for the permanent impairment point scheme it must be assessed as “likely to continue indefinitely”.

What this means is that if an injury or disease has resulted in severe impairment that is likely to continue indefinitely, and the DVA has accepted it as a defence related condition, then they will consider the injury or illness a permanent impairment and use the permanent impairment points scale to calculate compensation.

Oddly enough, there are also cases where, even if the injury or illness has stabilised, the DVA can still consider the impairment as permanent and as such will be able to offer financial compensation. The quantity and delivery method of this compensation is dictated by a system known as permanent impairment (PI) points, which evaluates to what level a Veteran has been permanently impaired.

How Do Permanent Impairment Points Result in Payouts?

Permanent impairment points are used in permanent impairment compensation payout calculations, known as PI payouts. A PI compensation payout can be made by the DVA to any Australian Defence Force service member who has been identified and assessed using the permanent impairment points system.

This PI compensation is intended to help support Veterans who are suffering from any financial loss that can be attributed to their permanent impairment. This is mainly used in the context of Veterans whose individual ability to work or live life unimpeded has been affected by their DVA accepted permanent impairment.

how do i make a permanent impairment claimHow are Permanent Impairment Points Calculated?

Generally, permanent impairment points are all calculated on a similar scale, except for specific conditions where DVA delegates will discuss the use of a different means of testing. For permanent impairment points a scale of 0-100

is used. The impairment rating from all of a claimants accepted conditions is combined to arrive at a total impairment rating on this 0 to 100 point scale. After this, the permanent impairment points rating is them is then combined another metric known as a lifestyle rating, which ranges from 0-7, and is then finally assessed against the type of service the claimant was rendering at the time of their injury.

How Do I Make a Permanent Impairment Claim?

The permanent impairment points process begins when an individual submits a DVA compensation claim for an injury of illness that they believe is eligible for a permanent impairment payout. Once this claim has been submitted and received by the DVA, they will assign your case a DVA delegate.

This delegate will work with the claimant to assess the claim against whichever Statement of Principles applies to the claimant in order to confirm that the impairment is recognised as permanent by the DVA’s legislation, and that the impairment can be linked to the claimant’s time in Defence.

The relevant Statement of Principles for a claimant relies on which act their military service falls under – either the DRCA or the MRCA . The DRCA and the MRCA are legislative acts which group together Veterans under the period of their service, and while both the acts are similar in some senses, they do differ when it comes to available benefits and eligibility of payouts for claimants.

Permanent Impairment Points Under the DRCA

permanent impairment points under the drcaThe DRCA is the first branch of legislation to discuss when it comes to permanent impairment points. The DRCA aims to provide Veterans with financial support for their various conditions, with the goal of compensating Veterans for their injuries or illnesses and providing a source of income for Veterans whose impairments make them unable to continue working and supporting themselves, as discussed previously.

According to the DVA, the DRCA covers current and former members of the Australian Defence Force who are suffering from conditions linked to service prior to 1 July 2004. As such, compensation payouts can be provided for injuries, diseases or deaths that are linked to most peacetime ADF service between 3 January 1949 and 30 June 2004, including the British Nuclear Test defence service, as well as hazardous and peacekeeping service during the same period, all under the DRCA. The DRCA also covers certain periods of operational service between 7 April 1994 and 30 June 2004, including warlike and non-warlike service.

If a DRCA claimant’s application for a permanent impairment payout is accepted by the DVA and they are assessed as being eligible for permanent impairment points, then a claimant will receive a PI payout from the DVA. Under the DRCA DVA payout figures cap out at a maximum non-economic loss lump sum of $74,232.18 and a maximum lump sum of $197,952.37.

Additionally, if a claimant’s degree of impairment is assessed as being greater than 80%, they may also be entitled to additional compensation. This is obtained through the Defence Act 1903 Severe Injury Adjustment (SIA) provision and is paid in addition to the permanent impairment point compensation payment, relating to a specific injury or disease sustained or suffered on or after 10 June 1997.

Permanent Impairment Points Under the MRCA

permanent impairment points under the mrcaThe MRCA is the next branch of legislation to discuss when it comes to permanent impairment points. Just like the DRCA, the MRCA aims to provide Veterans with financial support for their various conditions, with the goal of compensating Veterans for their injuries or illnesses and providing a source of income for Veterans whose impairments make them unable to continue working and supporting themselves, as discussed previously. Unlike the DRCA, the MRCA is put in place to provide rehabilitation and compensation coverage for members of the ADF who served on and after the first of July 2004 and are suffering from injuries or illnesses deemed eligible for compensation payouts by the DVA.

If a MRCA claimant’s application for a permanent impairment payout is accepted by the DVA and they are assessed as being eligible for permanent impairment points, then a claimant will receive a PI payout from the DVA.

For Veterans with a permanent impairment covered under the MRCA, a maximum weekly benefit of $375.80 can be awarded. This payment can be taken weekly or as a lump sum, which is calculated according to age. Additionally, severely impaired Veterans with eligible dependants can be awarded another additional payment of $96,745.46 as a maximum lump sum.