More than half of Australian veterans have access to an extraordinary range of benefits, but many of those are going to waste.
As Australia marks Remembrance Day on November 11, Veteran Benefits Australia has unveiled a “resource roadmap” to help Australian Defence Force veterans understand the entire range of services for which they may be eligible.
There are nearly half a million veterans in Australia, and two thirds of those are supported by the Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA).
The VBA list comprises the “top 10” of the services.
“We created this in response to the lack of awareness when it comes to veterans knowing about the fully-funded services that are available,” VBA founder Thomas Bailey told Hope 103.2.
The benefits range from leisure services to health and mental health services.
The services include exercise sessions and physiotherapy.
The exercise sessions are conducted by qualified exercise physiologists.
The physiotherapy involves a “wholistic approach to health care and one-on-one personalised care,” a VBA statement read
Mental health support is crucial for veterans. The VBA works “with providers who create online innovative mental health and transitioning programs to current and former defence members,” read a statement.
“They aim to improve mental health outcomes for veterans and anyone transitioning from army to civilian life.”
Other services for veterans
Other benefits include nutrition programs, and home cleaning and gardening (including laundry, ironing, and mowing services).
Yoga and dental benefits are also included.
Compelled to help
“My advice for Aussies who want to do more for the veteran community is to just be present,” – Veteran Benefits Australia founder Thomas Bailey
The service was created by Mr Bailey after losing a friend to suicide eight years ago.
The tragedy drove him to help those who were struggling with their mental health.
“My advice for Aussies who want to do more for the veteran community is to just be present – whether that be by having a conversation or donating your time or funds,” Mr Bailey told Hope 103.2.
The release of the list comes at a time when veteran mental health has come under the spotlight in Australia.
Last month saw the beginning of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide, held in Darwin.
The hearing heard tragic stories, such as that of 21-year-old Private Thomas Halloran, who took his own life in April.
Halloran suffered a back injury while on overseas deployment and was given medical advice to leave the army, which would mean the end of his career.
His father John Halloran told the commission that the army support systems for young, injured soldiers was “broken”.
Counsel Assisting the Commission, Peter Singleton, told the commission that Private Halloran’s experience in the ADF shed light on issues including “medical care and support provided after injury, bullying, and the effectiveness of disciplinary action,” he said.
If you’re veteran, visit VBA.
Once the online form is filled out, “a nurse or social worker will contact the person to understand their specific needs and the benefits of each service,” Mr Bailey said.
Otherwise, veterans can get in touch with the VBA by phone – (07) 5302 7032 – to request information by mail.
For more information visit here.
About the Author: Mike is a writer at Hope 103.2 Sydney.
Feature image: Getty