DVA 12 Month Free Health and Fitness Program for Returned Veterans & Peacekeepers & those covered by the ADF Firefighters Scheme
Did you know the DVA provides a free 12-month health and fitness program that can be delivered to returned Veterans and peacekeepers with operational service and those covered by the ADF firefighters scheme anywhere in the country. The program is flexible and able to accommodate participants living in metropolitan areas, regional or remote areas, those still working or retired, studying or with other time constraints. Run on behalf of the DVA by Corporate Health Management the program aims to help you increase your physical health and wellbeing through practical exercise support and 12 months of health coaching and advice on healthy lifestyle choices provided by one of our team of highly qualified allied health professionals.
Am I eligible?
Started 20 years ago for those returned from Vietnam, the Heart Health Program is free and now open to all returned veterans and peacekeepers with operational service and those covered by the ADF Firefighters Scheme who have not previously done the Heart Health Program before. To check your eligibility visit http://www.veteranshearthealth.com.au/eligibility/
Individual Heart Health Program – How it works
Each participant receives 12 months of healthy lifestyle coaching from a highly qualified and dedicated allied health professional via fortnightly health coaching calls with information and advice tailored to each individuals health and fitness goals. The health coach will use their extensive knowledge along with health surveys and food diaries to guide you through the program. The program covers a range of topics including:
· setting healthy goals
· nutrition and diet advice
· advice on lowering alcohol consumption
· developing better sleep patterns
· stress management
· managing diabetes
· taking care of your body
· managing your weight
· and maintaining a healthy heart
Program Exercise Resource – Exercise how you like to
The program can provide an exercise resource to help participants to exercise the way they like to or provide an opportunity to try something that’s different than the usual. Resources can take the form of:
Registering Your Interest
Registering your interest or checking eligibility is easy. Simply visit http://www.veteranshearthealth.com.au/eligibility/ and follow the steps. Or please call the program phone number 1300 246 262 at any time to speak to one of our team.
Heart Health Team - DVA Heart Health Program
Accessing proof of COVID 19 Vacination status
Your COVID-19 digital certificate and immunisation history statement both show proof of your COVID-19 vaccination status in Australia.
The quickest and easiest way for you to get proof of your COVID-19 vaccination is by downloading the Express Plus Medicare app. All you need to do is make sure you have a myGov account set up with Medicare linked.
The Express Plus Medicare app will allow access to:
· your or your child under 14 COVID-19 digital certificate
· your or your child under 14 immunisation history statement
· add your COVID-19 digital certificate to your state check in app
- VIC, NSW, NT, ACT, QLD and TAS are live
- More states to be announced
· and, save your International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate offline
If you are unable to obtain your proof of COVID-19 vaccination online, you can ask your vaccination provider to send you a copy or you can ring the Australian Immunisation Register on 1800 653 809.
For more information please go to the Services Australia website or click on these links:
Important changes to Defence Force Income Support Allowance (DFISA)
The following correspondence has been received from RSL NSW.
RSL Australia has welcomed changes to the way veterans can access income support from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. RSL Australia recommended changes to improve access to rental assistance in its submission to the 2021 Senate inquiry regarding TPI payments.
From 1 January 2022, the Disability Compensation Payment (formerly known as Disability Pension) became exempt from the income test under the Social Security Act 1991. The means test imposed on Rent Assistance for certain veterans and dependants has been removed and those veterans are now eligible for Rent Assistance, or an increased rate of Rent Assistance effective from 1 January 2022. Centrelink payments such as the Age Pension will increase as a result, removing the need for DFISA.
RSL Australia’s submission took into account the detailed research and recommendations made by the Productivity Commission, KPMG Review of TPI Benefits, and Independent Review into the TPI Payment by David Tune AO PSM.
The current payment rate was found to be reasonable when considering the additional benefits that veterans on TPI qualify for, such as Centrelink payments and other DVA allowances. However, RSL Australia’s submission also recommended that the Department of Veterans’ Affairs make every effort to provide more support to TPI veterans in relation to rehabilitation and other services, and that thorough research be done on the overall wellbeing of TPI veterans.
Those who had previously received DFISA found that on the first payday of 2022, 13 January, part of the DFISA payment was reduced. On payday 27 January, there will be no DFISA paid. However, social security payments from Centrelink will increase accordingly.
The part payment on 13 January is because the effective date of 1 January falls in the middle of a pay period. As Centrelink paydays differ for each person, they do not align with DVA veteran paydays. Veterans can check pay day amounts in their Centrelink online account and their DVA MyService account.
Veterans and their partners do not need to take any action, as the payments will be made automatically.
Letters advising of the changes to veterans were delayed, meaning some veterans did not receive a personal explanation as to why their DFISA payment had been reduced prior to 13 January. The DVA has apologised for any distress this may have caused.
Further information can be found on the DFISA page of the DVA website under What’s New
Coffee Club meetings
The schedule for Coffee Club meetings for 2022 are detailed below
Month Day Date Time
JANUARY Wednesday cancelled because of COVID issues
MARCH Wednesday 9th 10.00am
MAY Wednesday 11th 10.00am
JULY Wednesday 13th 10.00am
SEPTEMBER Wednesday 14th 10.00am
NOVEMBER Wednesday 9th 10.00am
Phillip Chin Quan Interview
As part of the 2021 ANZAC Day commemorations, SBS published a feature on the experiences of one of our members, Phillip Chin Quan during his time in Vietnam and his subsequent struggles with PTSD. Interested members can find the feature at SBS feature - Phillip Chin Quan
DVA Expansion of Face to Face Services
Hornsby sub-Branch has received the following information from RSL NSW. The message is reproduced in full for the information of readers.
RSL NSW has received advice from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) that its service delivery to veterans and their families has been expanded.
Veterans and their families can now access face-to-face DVA services at 318 Services Australia service centres across Australia. You can find your closest centre by following this link.
All Services Australia staff will undertake mandatory training to ensure they can provide the support that veterans and their families are looking for.
The expanded service offering will not impact the services and support currently provided through the DVA’s Veterans Access Network.
Another welcome part of the service expansion is that Services Australia will actively recognise and promote significant national commemorations such as ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day.
It is intended that these changes will enable easier access to DVA services, in particular for those living in rural and regional areas and are an important expansion of the DVA footprint to reach the veteran community. Veterans and their families will be able to walk into any Services Australia shopfront and receive assistance.
Impact of COVID-19
Please bear in mind that depending on your location, the NSW Government’s current COVID-19 restrictions may limit the availability of face-to-face services provided by Services Australia and DVA.
Did you know that our partner charity RSL DefenceCare provides free, specialist assistance with submitting claims to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs or appealing rejected claims.
RSL DefenceCare claims and advocacy specialists can help veterans to achieve the best possible result with their DVA claim including advocating on their behalf at the Veterans’ Review Board.
Click here to find out more or call 02 8088 0388.
The situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated rapidly to the point where the Taliban has again seized power in that country. RSL Australia is concerned that those who served in that theatre over the past 20 years will be feeling significant frustration and disappointment at this turn of events. Our sub-Branch is able to assist veterans who may be struggling with a range of emotions at this time. In the event that you, or someone you know, need immediate mental health support, you can contact:
• Lifeline Australia – 13 11 14
• Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
• Open Arms (current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families are able to seek this free and confidential support) – 1800 011 046
• ADF Mental Health All-hours Support Line (for current serving ADF personnel and their families) – 1800 628 036.
• Safe Zone Support (for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families) – 1800 142 072. When you call Safe Zone Support, you do not need to identify yourself if you do not want to.
Army Museum Victoria Barracks Paddington
Members may be interested in this newsletter from the Army Museum Victoria Barracks Paddington
News from Borneo
Members may be interested to read the attached newsletter from Lynette Silver. Lynette has been instrumental in documenting and raising awareness of the Sandakan Death Marches in 1945 . Almost all of the 2434 prisoners incarcerated at Sandakan, 1787 Australian and 641 British, perished during the forced during forced marches across Borneo. Only six Australians who had managed to escape survived the ordeal.