Beaudesert RSL Sub Branch offers a Pensions Advocacy Welfare Service (PAWS) that specialises in helping veterans navigate DVA claims.
The DVA claims process can be time consuming and stressful for many veterans, so having an advocate to guide you through the process can be quite beneficial.
Peter Higgins, a Vietnam Veteran, volunteers at the Beaudesert RSL Sub Branch alongside Steven Monteath and Jay Collins, who are both veterans.
“I started PAWS about 15 years ago to assist the veterans and their families coming back from war”, said Peter.
“We’ve helped veterans who fought at Vietnam, Iraq, Bougainville, Afghanistan and East Timor, among others”.
Steven, who was trained by Peter, believes Peter’s experience in combat, especially the Vietnam War, helps tremendously in doing their job.
“A lot of the Vietnam vets come in expressly to see Peter because of his background knowledge and that he was a part of the Vietnam war”, he said.
“So, their counsel comes from someone who has experienced virtually the same as what they have.”
Steven then trained up Jay, who is a huge asset to the team.
“Jay is the youngest member of the team and that is great for us because he is now the connection between the younger veterans”, he said.
“Jay also does all of the computer work that can be quite hard for us older blokes who like to use the paper alternative”.
PAWS is a great initiative that not only assists in DVA claims but also helps with veteran’s wellbeing and welfare.
“We have care packages with essential items such as shampoo and conditioner, toilet paper, tissues and toothpaste”, said Steven.
“Most of all, we’re here to listen and assist as much as we can over a cup of coffee”.