Simplifying your DVA claims and appeals

Navigating claims and appeals processes with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) is all in a day’s work for our partner charity RSL DefenceCare’s Claims Advisors and Advocates, as they help veterans when they need it the most.

Transitioning to civilian life after serving in the Australian Defence Force is a challenge for many veterans, often made more complex by health issues sustained during service. This is where the claims process with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs enters the picture, which can begin during or after the veteran has transitioned from service.

RSL DefenceCare’s team of specialist Claims Advisors can help guide veterans and their families through the process and work with them to get the best possible outcome, helping to reduce the stress and anxiety of managing them alone. All of RSL DefenceCare’s services are free of charge thanks to generous donations from RSL NSW sub-Branches.

Don’t know where to start? RSL DefenceCare can provide in-depth support completing one or more applications, potentially including:

  • Helping put together all the evidence you need to support your claims
  • Making sure you have all the correct supporting documents
  • Helping you complete and lodge your paperwork
  • Liaising with DVA about your claim
  • Helping you to understand the claims process as it progresses
  • Keeping in touch with you throughout the process to provide updates and reassurance.

RSL DefenceCare also offers housing support, financial assistance, employment support or referrals to other services.

Across April-June 2021, RSL DefenceCare Claims Advisors helped 166 veterans lodge 693 DVA claims.

For more details on RSL DefenceCare’s assistance with claims, visit the RSL DefenceCare website.

Support with appeals

In cases where DVA rejects a claim and you are dissatisfied, RSL DefenceCare Advocates may be able to help.

The team can review your case to see if anything was missed, and work with you to provide independent advice and guidance on what to do next.

They can also help gather additional evidence and act as your advocate at the Veterans’ Review Board (VRB).

Across April-June 2021, RSL DefenceCare Advocates lodged 34 new VRB appeals, completed 57 Alternative Dispute Resolution mediation discussions, and represented 9 full VRB Hearings.

For more details on RSL DefenceCare’s assistance with appeals, visit the RSL DefenceCare website.

Working with sub-Branches

As part of their service to the veteran community, many RSL sub-Branches have volunteer Pension Officers and Compensation Advocates, whom the Claims & Advocacy team often work closely with, taking referrals for clients, and providing advice where appropriate.

New staff in regional NSW

Reflecting the importance of support to veterans in regional areas, earlier this year RSL DefenceCare bolstered its support to veterans in the Hunter region by having an experienced claims advisor take face-to-face appointments at the RSL NSW sub-Branch facilities at Souths Merewether on a fortnightly basis. As part of RSL LifeCare Veteran Services, a claims advisor has also recently been employed at the Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre on the South Coast.

How to access face-to-face services

To book an appointment, Phone (02) 8088 0388 or email


  • Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre (1/19 Nowra Lane, Nowra 2541)
  • Merewether-Adamstown-Hamilton sub-Branch (service delivered fortnightly at Souths Merewether 46 Llewellyn St, Merewether NSW 2291)
  • ANZAC House in Sydney CBD – Every Monday
  • Holsworthy Barracks – Every Tuesday
  • HMAS Kuttabul – Every Tuesday
  • RAAF Base Richmond – Every Thursday
  • Lone Pine Barracks Singleton – Every second Thursday
  • RAAF Base Williamtown – Every Tuesday

Face-to-face services and COVID

While RSL DefenceCare is committed to providing face-to-face services whenever possible, the health and safety of veterans and staff is paramount and current restrictions in New South Wales may impact the availability of face-to-face appointments.

However, DVA Claims Advisors and Advocates remain fully available via phone and video conference, so no matter what the restrictions are or where you are in the state, they can provide the same professional service.

To view the full range of RSL DefenceCare’s free of charge services or to get in touch, visit the RSL DefenceCare website.

RSL DefenceCare is a program of RSL LifeCare Veteran Services.

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