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Army March 15, 2012
I WOULD like to warn any reserv-
ist who suddenly finds themselves
unemployed for whatever reasons
and then decides to use the free time
to commit to training days or cours-
es at their reserve unit.
You should be aware that if you
injure yourself while on duty and
become temporarily incapacitated,
that under the Department of Veterans'
Affairs and the Military Compensation
and Rehabilitation Service you are not
entitled to any loss of income except
loss of normal reserve training days
(Tuesday nights and weekends) you
miss because of your injury.
Even if the injury liability is
fully accepted by DVA, you must be
employed at the time of the injury and
unable to work at that specific job to
receive any income support or com-
And if you have liquid assets above
$3000, you will be ineligible for the
This means if you are injured
while on duty and become temporarily
incapacitated, which stops you from
finding civilian work, you will not
receive any compensation from DVA
Think carefully about that. Let's
say you break your leg while on duty
and it takes many months before you
can return to a physical state to look
for employment in your previous field,
or any field for that matter.
The only support from DVA will be
medical and rehabilitation costs. You
will have to live on a zero income until
you are better.
I give this warning not only from
my current personal experience, but
also remembering over the past seven
years of my reserve service how sol-
diers were encouraged to work days,
do courses, or participate in exercis-
es when they told the unit they had
become unemployed. I know much of
the encouragement was honest in try-
ing to give the soldier some financial
support in their time of need and am
sure the full consequences of becom-
ing injured were not considered.
I find the current DVA criteria
unacceptable in its narrow approach
and hope my warning may save others.
Pte Matt Jensen
The Director of Safety and Rehabilitation
Policy, David Cooke, responds:
THE Department of Veterans' Affairs
has advised that where a reserve
member is injured on part-time ser-
vice, payments to cover loss of income
(incapacity payments) are based on a
combination of their civilian income
and their part-time reserve income
during the two weeks prior to being
For example, a part-time reservist
may be injured on a weekend training
exercise and unable to attend their reg-
ular civilian work the following week.
In this instance, incapacity payments
will cover the cost of lost civilian earn-
Where a member has no civilian
employment and their reserve income
is less than the National Minimum
Wage (currently $589.30 per week)
then incapacity payments are based on
the National Minimum Wage.
DVA factsheet MRC30 contains
information relevant for reservists and
can be found at www.dva.gov.au.
Individual members may also
make an appointment to discuss their
particular circumstances with a DVA
officer at their nearest on-base advi-
sory service. This is a service provided
by specially trained DVA staff located
on over 35 bases around Australia.
They can help members find out about
DVA services, including compensa-
tion, health services, rehabilitation and
For more information, contact DVA
on 13 32 54 for metropolitan callers, or
1800 555 254 for regional callers, or
Injuries and wage support
Support available: For a reservist with no civilian job injured in training, compensation for lost earnings is
provided based on the member's reserve income plus the National Minimum Wage.
Photo by LS Paul Berry
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