Four reasons to use an advocate11 September 2020
RSL Queensland's free advocacy service can help you navigate the DVA claims process and ensure you get the best possible outcome.
Making a DVA claim for a condition or injury received during service can be confusing and time-consuming, but the advice and support of a qualified advocate can take the guesswork out of it.
RSL Queensland Head of Veteran Services Graeme Alley says there are four main benefits of working with an advocate.
1. a guiding hand
“RSL’s team of advocates liaises with the DVA daily on behalf of their clients,” Graeme says. “They'll ensure you’ve got all the documentation and evidence you need to prove your claim, and support you through the process. Claims can take some time to be assessed and approved, but our advocates will keep you informed at every stage.”
He says having the support of an advocate can be particularly helpful for veterans who are suffering from PTSD or mental health issues.
“Our advocates will take the time needed to ensure veterans fully understand what is happening and why, or to reassure them if their claim is delayed.
2. Specialist knowledge
RSL Queensland advocates are all knowledgeable about the Acts governing veteran compensation and the claims process. But they can also draw on a bank of knowledge and expertise from their colleagues across the organisation, some of whom have decades of experience in compensation and advocacy.
Graeme – a veteran himself – points out that many RSL advocates are also ex-Defence members. “That means they share with their clients a unique understanding of what it means to have served and to have transitioned back into civilian life,” he says. “This gives them the ability to empathise with their clients in a very different way.”
3. A holistic approach
While RSL advocates work to ensure veterans receive any compensation they’re entitled to, they are also able to link them with other programs and services that will result in a better overall outcome.
“Above all, we’re focussed on wellness,” Graeme says. “We want to improve our clients’ quality of life and that’s often best achieved through a combination of factors – compensation certainly, but also things like rehabilitation services, social connection and support in finding civilian employment.”
RSL advocates understand the full range of services and programs available to veterans – both from DVA and from ex-service organisations like RSL Queensland and Mates4Mates. They work with veterans to develop a wellness plan that incorporates all the elements that will result in the best possible outcome.
“Sometimes if veterans are too focussed on compensation above all else, they may begin defining themselves according to their level of disability. We want them to focus on being well again,” Graeme says.
4. Advocates are on your side
“Ultimately, our advocates are only there to help veterans. Our advocacy services are provided completely free of charge, and you don’t have to be an RSL member to get assistance,” Graeme says.
He encourages veterans to have a chat with RSL Queensland’s Veteran Services team to see what their options are.
“Take the time to find out how we can help,” Graeme says. “Having an advocate by your side can make the claims process simpler and less stressful.”
RSL Queensland’s advocates can work with you face-to-face, via telephone or online, including lodging your claim online.