The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia. Assessment of medical criteria for MOB

Evidence of inability to use public transport

An applicant's inability to use public transport (buses, trains, trams, or ferries) is assessed on the basis of information supplied by them as well as their treating doctor. If the applicant's disability or any other existing evidence clearly indicates they require substantial assistance to use public transport, then no further information needs to be sought.

Example: A medical report for DSP may contain information on the extent of an applicant's disability and the permanent or long term need to use an aid to assist mobility, such as a wheelchair, walking stick or frame.

Treating doctor's report

An applicant's treating doctor rates their capacity to perform certain activities and skills needed to use public transport, against a scale of 1 through to 5.

Example: A rating of 1 on the scale indicates no discomfort, difficulty or problem in performing the activity or skill. A rating of 5 on the scale indicates the applicant would be unable to perform the activity or skill.

Delegates use this assessment, together with any other available information, to determine whether the applicant requires substantial assistance to use public transport.

Example: DSP recipients may have other useful information such as treating doctor's or medical officer reports on their pension file.

The assessment is NOT made against the applicant's ability to use their local or usual transport - it is about their ability to use public transport, without assistance, at ANY place and time.

Example: A person with an intellectual disability may learn to catch the same bus at the same time each day, but would not be able to use public transport on an unfamiliar route.

The applicant's rating against the scale reflects the degree of assistance that is required for them to perform the activities with no difficulty.

Explanation: The doctor rates applicants with physical disabilities, on their ability to cope with the following situations:

  • walking 400 metres
  • standing in a bus or train with the usual movement experienced in public transport
  • sitting in the confines of public transport
  • crossing the streets and negotiating the kerbs
  • negotiating steps in or out of a bus or train, and
  • negotiating a large flight of steps.

For applicants with psychiatric or intellectual disabilities, the doctor is asked to rate the applicant's capacity against the following skills:

Skill Example
Personal survival skills Danger to themselves
Social skills and ability to relate to others Bus driver or the general public
Education skills Handling money, buying tickets, and recognising suitable vehicles
Recognition skills Landmarks and areas

Assessment of inability to use public transport without substantial assistance

The inability to use public transport criteria is generally satisfied if the applicant's doctor rates them at 4 or above, on more than one activity. This is not a rigid requirement. An applicant who rates 3 across a range of activities may still qualify after weighing up the combined impact of these activities on their ability to use public transport.

Example: An applicant who rates 3 across a range of activities may still qualify after an overall assessment of the nature of their disabilities and their impact on the applicant's mobility.

Delegates may need to question a treating doctor's assessment if it does not accord with the applicant's stated nature and severity of the disability.

Example: A low rating may result from the doctor providing an assessment based on the applicant's ability to use public transport with assistance from another person.

Assessment of extended period

An applicant's treating doctor provides an opinion about the likely duration of the disability.

If the doctor does not consider the disability will last for one year or longer, the delegate needs to determine whether the full range of disabilities has been taken into account in the doctor's assessment.

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