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Veterans told: Govt does not pay gym memberships

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The Government is cracking down on war veterans attempting to claim benefits for gym membership and participation in general exercise programs.

The Department of Veterans Affairs and Exercise and Sports Science Australia have jointly launched an education campaign to warn veterans and exercise physiologists that gym and exercise program memberships are not covered by the Commonwealth, and attempts to claim benefits are in breach of guidelines.

In a letter announcing the crackdown, senior DVA official Letitia Hope said the Department had “identified that, in some instances, exercise physiology services were being provided inconsistent with policy requirements.

Ms Hope said the Department funded exercise physiology as a specific form of treatment, and its duration was to be determined by clinical necessity.

“The aim…is for the exercise physiologist to devise an exercise regimen for the patient’s condition, and to provide the patient with th skills to manage the exercise component of their treatment on their own,” she wrote.

“DVA does not fund ongoing, regular participation in exercise programs or ongoing group exercise supervision by exercise physiologists.

“If veterans wish to continue with an exercise program following their treatment, it becomes a private arrangement between the veteran and the gym or exercise physiologist.”

Ms Hope said it was long-standing Department policy not to pay for gym memberships or general exercise programs.

Adrian Rollins