Quarterly Update - April-June 2020
At RSL DefenceCare we strive to support Australian veterans and their families during times of injury, illness or crisis. We offer help with Department of Veterans' Affairs claims, advocacy at Veterans' Review Board hearings and financial assistance. We also provide counselling, support during a crisis or the death of a loved one, housing assistance for veterans experiencing homelessness and social connection through phone calls and visits.
After a very difficult start to 2020 with the bushfires, COVID-19 has continued to impact the lives of all Australians, including our veterans. At RSL DefenceCare we have had to rethink some of the ways we provide support. Many face-to-face appointments have been replaced with Zoom meetings, and counselling sessions and welfare visits have moved to phone calls, online chats and, where possible, socially distanced catch ups.
We are proud to say that even during this difficult time, we have been able to offer ongoing support to our clients when they’ve needed it most.Between April and June 2020, RSL DefenceCare was able to:
- Provide $91,685 in financial assistance including $29,000 in disaster assistance.
- Assist 15 veterans experiencing homelessness.
- Help 114 veterans to lodge 382 DVA claims.
- Provide 103 counselling sessions.
- Make 224 virtual or socially distanced visits to veterans and family members at homes, hospitals or nursing homes.
From April to June 2020, we provided $91,685 in financial assistance including $29,000 in disaster assistance. This figure dropped from the first quarter of 2020 following the end to the horrific bushfires. As that recovery effort is ongoing, we wish all those that were impacted good health, and we would like to remind any veteran families in the impacted areas that our support is still available.
Homelessness and housing support
In the In the last three months, we helped 15 veterans who were experiencing homelessness, or at risk of becoming homeless.
A recent study published in the Australian Journal of Social Issues found that almost 6000 veterans were found to be homeless over the course of a 12-month period, making them significantly over-represented in the total homeless population.
Studies like this are hugely important for understanding the issues our veterans face, and the results emphasise the need to do more to help veterans at risk of becoming homeless.
Our housing project officer works with veterans to assess their individual needs, noting that not all people are ready to take on the commitment and responsibility of independent living, and discuss the options available to them.
DVA claims and appeals
One of our primary service areas is assistance with DVA claims and appeals.
In the second quarter of 2020, we helped 114 veterans lodge 382 DVA claims.
Our claims specialists and advocates are experts in the associated DVA processes and have great understanding of the necessary legislation. Their professional and compassionate approach makes our clients feel comfortable, and the work they do provides ongoing financial security for veterans and their loves ones, helping to manage stress and plan for the future.
These services, like all of those offered by RSL DefenceCare are free of charge.
“I very much appreciate the whole team that has helped make this result happen. It means a lot to have my injuries acknowledged and to receive compensation. I realise how fortunate I am that I have not missed out like many other veterans.” – A grateful client.
Community support and outreach
Our outreach services have looked very different over the last few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, during these times of restrictions and social distancing, human interaction is more important than ever for mental wellbeing.
Despite the restrictions, we have been able to provide 103 counselling sessions and make 224 virtual or socially distanced visits to veterans, widows and other family members at homes, hospitals or nursing homes.
2020 continues to be a difficult year for all Australians, including our veterans. We have been able to adapt our services to the current circumstances so that we are always there for veterans and their families in need.
“I can't thank RSL DefenceCare enough for all the assistance they have afforded me.” – An anonymous client.
You may have also seen that the operations of RSL DefenceCare are transferring to RSL LifeCare from next month. We want to assure all of our clients that they will continue to receive the same excellent service from the same team members that have always been supporting them.
The services we provide would not be possible without the generous support of donors and RSL sub-Branches.
If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.