If an applicant requires further financial assistance for their recovery, they may make an application to vary the original award of financial assistance. An award of financial assistance may be varied in a number of ways. The variation may be to the terms of the award, or by increasing or decreasing the amount of assistance awarded.
There are many reasons why an applicant may decide to make an application to the Tribunal for variation of their award of assistance. For example:
- the applicant may have received financial assistance for medical expenses, but the cost of the treatment required exceeds the amount originally awarded or they require further treatment; or
- the applicant may not have applied for assistance for counselling at the time the original award was made but seeks to access counselling at a later date.
When considering an application to vary an award the Tribunal must have regard to any fresh evidence that has become available, any change of circumstances that have occurred, any payments received by or payable to the applicant, and anything else the Tribunal thinks relevant.
Awards may be varied as to terms, by increasing or decreasing the amount awarded, or in some other way.
How to make a variation application
The person to whom an award of assistance was made, may make an application to the Tribunal to vary the award of assistance that was originally made (variation application).
The variation application must be in writing and addressed to the venue of the Tribunal where the application for assistance was finalised. An Application for Variation Form can be used to outline the request.
The variation application should set out what further assistance is required and why that assistance will assist in recovery. This request must demonstrate the link between the criminal act and the need for further assistance.
It should also include any relevant documentation in support of the request, e.g. medical reports, service provider quotes, counsellor reports.
These applications are usually determined by a Tribunal Member on the documents supplied, without the need for a hearing. However, they may be listed for a short hearing where the application is complicated or important issues need to be addressed.
There is no limit on the number of times an applicant can make a variation application. However, the amount of assistance awarded, whether by variation or original order, cannot exceed the maximum cumulative amount available to a victim under the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 2006, e.g. a primary victim can only receive up to $60,000 in financial assistance (plus any special financial assistance awarded). See the Financial Assistance Available page for further information regarding the maximum amount awardable to victim categories.
For information regarding the time frames to apply for variation see Time to Apply for Further Financial Assistance.