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Defence Member and Family Support

For ADF members and their families

1800 624 608

Dependants with special needs

DMFS provides practical assistance to Defence families who have dependants with special needs. This assistance especially focuses on reducing the impact of relocations and minimising any interruption to specialist services that the dependant needs. The assistance available is not intended to duplicate services provided in the new locality; but aims to provide interim assistance to ensure continuity of care where dependants would otherwise be placed on a waiting list, until government supported services can be accessed For further information refer to PACMAN Chap. 8, Part 6 – Dependants with special needs.

In order to receive any of the assistance and support services available, you will first need to have your dependant with special needs formally recognised by Defence.

Recognition of dependants with special needs

In order to receive any of the assistance and support services available, you will first need to have your dependant with special needs formally recognised by Defence. Recognition can be applied for at any time and there is no need to wait for a posting order to initiate this process.

The definition of special needs includes any dependant of the ADF member recorded on the personnel management system (PMKeyS), and considers a wide spectrum of cases including physical, intellectual, sensory, learning or behavioural difficulties, or mental health conditions, illnesses or disorders. It also includes academically gifted or talented children. For further information refer to PACMAN Chapter 1 Part 3 Division 2 clause 1.3.84.

To gain formal recognition, you will need to complete an AC832 form, available on the Defence intranet. The completed form must be submitted with supporting documentation from your dependant’s medical specialist which clearly identifies the diagnosed condition or special need and a statement from the ADF member providing a background on the condition and current situation affecting the dependant as well as any relevant posting related information. Completed forms can be submitted for processing to the dwsn.program@defence.gov.au.

Recognition is valid until the circumstances on which the application was granted change, for example another diagnosis is made or the condition is no longer affecting the dependant. The member must advise Defence Member and Family Support in writing of any change that may affect eligibility and may be asked to submit another AC832 for an update to recognised conditions.

Once your dependant is recognised by Defence, you may be entitled to receive assistance in the event of a posting.

To access any of this assistance or to find out more, email the DWSN Program at dwsn.program@defence.gov.au or the all-hours Defence Member and Family Helpline on 1800 624 608.

Assistance Available

Once your dependant is recognised by Defence, you may be entitled to receive assistance in the event of a posting. For further information refer to PACMAN Chap. 8, Part 6 – Dependants with special needs.

To apply, complete WebForm AF098 -Application for Special Needs Assistance and submit to dwsn.program@defence.gov.au.

Pre-posting visit

Where it's necessary for the dependant to visit the new location before posting, we can assist with accommodation and travel costs for the dependant and one family member. This is only granted in instances where it’s not possible to make arrangements for support from the old location or there's a definite requirement for face-to-face contact with a department or institution in the new location. For further information refer to PACMAN Chap 8 Part 6 Section 8.6.7.

Accessing services and equipment

When families are posted they may have difficulties accessing the services they require or had previously in last posting location, as waiting periods may apply. We may provide interim assistance toward costs for interim services or equipment until the state or territory government agencies can deliver the service. We can assist with respite care, personal care, therapy services, and special equipment hire. For more information, visit PACMAN Chap 8 Part 6 Section 8.6.9-10.

To apply, complete WebForm AF098 -Application for Special Needs Assistance and submit to dwsn.program@defence.gov.au.

Education assistance

You may receive assistance with access to programs or services your dependant requires which are not available from the new school or other government agencies. This may include:

  • funding for a therapy service or tuition not provided at the school but critical to educational progress
  • assessment of needs, toward development of an educational program, or
  • reimbursement of private schooling costs, where a necessary special program is only available at a private school.

Specialist staff including Education Liaison Officers and in school aides and mentors can also assist you with education advice and support.

For more information, visit PACMAN Chap 8 Part 4 Division 2 section 8.4.14, Children with special needs.

For information on how to apply, including forms see Kids' education.

Special assistance during removals

During the move to your new posting location, you may apply for special accommodation and travel arrangements, or a valet unpacking service on arrival. For more information, visit PACMAN, Chap 8. Part 6, section 8.6.13.

To apply for a valet unpack, complete WebForm AF098 - Application for Special Needs Assistance and submit to dwsn.program@defence.gov.au

To apply for special accommodation during a removal contact your Toll Transitions Case Manager.

To apply for assistance relating to travel entitlements contact your unit.

Once you have been approved for assistance, you can make arrangements through your Toll Transitions case manager before the move.

Special housing needs

Where the dependant has special housing needs, Defence Housing Australia can provide assistance with allocation or modification of housing in the new location. Visit www.dha.gov.au for more information.

For special housing consideration to accommodate the needs of your recognised dependant you will need to submit a request in writing to the Directorate of Relocations and Housing (DRH) by email to drh.sa@defence.gov.au along with:

  • your most up to date approval for recognition as a member with a dependant with special needs
  • an updated member statement outlining your housing needs; and
  • evidence from your dependant’s treating medical professional which outlines their specific housing requirements.

DSNSG

DMFS works closely with the Defence Special Needs Support Group, which provides a national network of peer support to Defence families with a special needs dependant. The Group delivers information, assistance and advocacy for Defence families with special needs.

Contact: 1800 037 674 | general.manager@dsnsg.org.au | http://dsnsg.org.au/ | Facebook.