RSL LifeCare Veterans Services helped Peter access long overdue support.
When a chronic injury sustained while serving in the Army left Peter unable to continue in his job, RSL LifeCare Veterans Services helped him access the financial support he needed and was entitled to.
Peter will never forget the day that changed his life forever. He was nearing the end of a full-pack, cross-country run, part of an intensive fitness and training regime that was compulsory for all service men and women at the time.
“I was about two steps from stopping when my knee gave way and I fell flat on my face,” Peter remembers. “That knee has done nothing but cause me trouble for the rest of my life.”
“I still have the same problem today. My leg just disappears from underneath me without warning. I lose all feeling and it just drops out like there’s nothing there.”
Peter enlisted in the Australian Defence Force in 1977, serving as a cook until he was discharged eight years later due to the debilitating injury he had suffered.
After leaving the Army, Peter continued work as a cook before taking on a job as a truck driver. He says he loved his time behind the wheel before another accident in 2010 put an end to his working life.
“My leg collapsed underneath me again, but this time I came down on top of it. I snapped my quadricep tendon and cracked my kneecap.”
Despite having been medically discharged from the Army and assessed as unemployable due to his injuries, Peter struggled unsuccessfully for years to get the support he was entitled to.
“The process of applying for help through DVA was so confusing,” Peter explains. “You end up getting passed from one person to another, and there are all these different names and abbreviations. I had no idea what was going on, and my claims kept being denied.”
The experience ended up taking a toll on Peter’s mental health.
“I went through a mad space of depression where I kept doubting and having a go at myself because I hadn’t served overseas. It made me feel I wasn’t worthy of support.”
Realising he was getting nowhere on his own, Peter eventually reached out to RSL LifeCare Veteran Services for help. Advocate Ian Wilson supported Peter through the process of completing the necessary paperwork and collating the documentation needed to lodge a successful claim with DVA.
Looking back, Peter doesn’t know how he would have managed without Ian’s help.
“There was so much about the process I didn’t understand. The length and depth he went to get the information I needed was unbelievable.”
With support from the RSL LifeCare Veteran Services team, Peter was able to access a full pension and was finally issued a Gold Card to help cover the expenses associated with treatment and management of his injuries. He says he couldn’t be more thankful to Ian and the team for the helping hand they provided him with.
“I can’t praise them enough. There was so much understanding and compassion there. They actually listened to what Ihad to say. I wasn’t just a number.”
“Without an RSL LifeCare advocate, I would have been totally lost. I would have had no hope of getting anywhere. I recommend any veteran in my situation reach out to them.”
The ongoing support of Dee Why RSL helps RSL LifeCare Veteran Services to provide assistance to veterans like Peter. The work of our team wouldn’t be possible without this support.