Quarterly Update - July-September 2020
At RSL DefenceCare we continue 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.
Like other organisations across the globe, we have had to adapt to new ways of engaging with our clients due to the risks associated with COVID-19. It hasn’t been easy, but we are continually adapting and offering new ways for our clients to engage with our team in meaningful and effective ways.
While things are different, we have still been able to offer our professional and caring services to veterans and their families.Between July and September 2020, RSL DefenceCare was able to:
- Provide $54,940 in financial assistance including $9,000 in disaster assistance.
- Assist 33 veterans experiencing homelessness.
- Help 141 veterans to lodge 447 DVA claims.
- Provide 88 counselling sessions.
- Make 101 virtual or socially distanced visits to veterans and family members at homes, hospitals or nursing homes.
- Lodge 38 new VRB appeals, complete 68 Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mediation discussions and represent 6 full VRB Board Hearings.
From July to September 2020, we provided $54,940 in financial assistance including $9,000 in disaster assistance. As the holiday season approaches, so too does bushfire season. Although there may be an increased risk of floods this summer. We would like to remind any veteran families in the impacted areas that our support is available.
Homelessness and housing support
In the last three months, we helped 33 veterans who were experiencing homelessness, or at risk of becoming homeless.
Feedback, including RSL DefenceCare’s, has led to changes to the eligibility criteria for the Rent Choice Veterans’ program, expanding access to affordable housing for even more veterans.
As a result, we have seen an increase in the number of housing applications our housing project officer has been able to submit, more than doubling the number of veterans we have been able to assist.
With RSL DefenceCare recently joining the broader RSL LifeCare Veteran Services portfolio, our team now work more closely than ever with the Homes for Heroes program. We hope that together we can assist more and more veterans to find sustainable and secure living.
DVA claims and appeals
One of our primary service areas is assistance with DVA claims and appeals.
Between July and September 2020, we helped 141 veterans lodge 447 DVA claims.
We also lodged 38 new VRB appeals, completed 68 Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mediation discussions and represented 6 full VRB Board Hearings.
All of our claims specialists and advocates are veterans themselves or veteran's spouses, and provide a comfort and shared understanding to our clients. 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.
“The DefenceCare team, including former Defence personnel and partners of current-serving members of the ADF, have your best interests at heart. With their professionalism and attention to detail, I strongly recommend DefenceCare to represent members of the ADF.” – A grateful client.
Community support and outreach
We continue to offer outreach services in virtual and socially distanced ways. However, we strive to ensure that human interaction and engagement isn’t lost, even if we are doing things differently.
In the last three months, we have been able to provide 88 counselling sessions and make 101 virtual or socially distanced visits to veterans, widows and other family members at homes, hospitals or nursing homes.
As we move into the last quarter of 2020 we must all remain vigilant. COVID-19 continues to be a threat in our communities and we will continue to support veterans and their families through this difficult year.
“I am so grateful for this assistance, now I can reinvent myself.” – An anonymous client.
RSL DefenceCare is now a part of RSL LifeCare’s growing veteran services portfolio which builds on the organisations purpose of enriching the lives of veterans. We encourage you to check out the other Veteran Services programs offered by RSL LifeCare.
Our efforts are proudly supported by funds from RSL NSW and RSL sub-Branches, and the services we provide would not be possible without the generous support of donors.
If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.