Initial Occupational Assessment
Initial Medical Assessment
IOA or Initial Occupational Assessment
This assessment determines the types of work you were capable of before your incapacity. The assessor is typically not a medical person but rather an individual who is qualified in career development and employment. This assessor will often organise and monitor work trials. A work trial is where the assessor finds an employer who is willing to let you work in their company and your ability to work is monitored and reported on. The focus is generally on the type of employment you were in when your claim was lodged. Importantly however every type of work you have ever done is documented. This is an important consideration when it comes to the VIMA process which may occur later.
A word of caution when dealing with an IOA assessor. Due to these assessors being a bit more hands on than other assessor types a lot of communication can take place. This can lead to a claimant relaxing a little bit too much. Everything you say will be interpreted through that assessor's view point and then faithfully regurgitated back to the Corporation. IOA assessors are paid for successful job placements and contracts with the Corporation are coveted by those in the employment industry. There is also the odd assessor that believes that they can fix the problems associated with sexual abuse by putting their own brand on the process. All in all there are several motivations for an IOA assessor to make their mark and the doing so can easily translate into a liability for you the claimant.
IMA or Initial Medical Assessment
After the vocational process has been agreed to in the Individual Rehabilitation Plan an IMA often follows. The purpose for this assessment is to clear you medically for the proposed vocational intervention. The IMA assessor goes over the jobs that the Occupational Assessor has cleared you for and declares you medically fit or unfit depending on their clinical opinion. The Corporation also ask wider questions regarding diagnosis of these assessors and the legislation appears to support them in doing so. It must be remembered that the IMA assessor is a Corporation assessor and not a treatment provider. On that basis many of the legal protections that exist when dealing with treatment providers are simply not available.
The IOA process is to establish your employment history. The IMA is to gain clinical clearance to undertake interventions agreed on in the IRP. The purpose is for the Corporation to fulfill its obligations to provide vocational rehabilitation for the purposes of returning you to the employment type you were in immediately before you became incapacitated. An IOA and an IMA assessor is a Corporation assessor and not a treatment provider.