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How We Help

The RSL and its volunteers provide assistance to past and present Defence Force members when in need with a range of financial and non-financial support services. You do not have to be a member of the RSL to receive assistance; you only have to be a current or former member of the Australian Defence Force, our Allies, or a dependent of either group. The money raised through the Appeals enables the RSL to financially assist members through reducing the burden of expenses such as:

  • Grocery shopping
  • Outstanding household bills
  • Medical and hospital expenses
  • The cost of mobile aids such as wheelchairs, scooters and walking frames
  • Household repairs and maintenance
  • Funeral costs

In addition, volunteers provide non-financial support to members in the form of home and hospital visits providing both psychical and emotional care and assistance.

“Thank you for the two Coles gift vouchers you kindly sent me. They were most appreciated and were a great help”

“Many thanks to RSL for your support with my medical and hospital expenses”

“Just to say a warm ‘thank you’ for all your kindness, support and care”

Case Studies

Helping Hand

A former member of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), who served in most of the current operational war zones was diagnosed with a mental health condition attributable to an incident that occurred during his service. The member was subsequently discharged from the RAN on medical grounds and is now sadly struggling to manage everyday living expenses. The RSL has been able to provide financial assistance to the veteran to help pay for outstanding household bills.

Home is where the heart is

An elderly widow of a former member of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) who served in World War II is living in a caravan in country Victoria. The caravan, being quite old, was missing some interior lining resulting in it being very cold in winter and extremely hot in summer. The RSL provided funding for a tradesperson to supply and fit new interior lining in the caravan, repair a leaking shower base and install a small reverse cycle air-conditioner to provide the elderly widow with some relief.

In a new light

A former member of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) needed to replace his broken spectacles and was given a quote of around $300. Due to a medical condition unrelated to his RAN service, he is unable to work and survives on a disability support pension. He did not have the necessary savings to replace his spectacles and sadly had to make do by patching them. The RSL paid for replacement spectacles.

Rest in peace

The cemetery of a World War I digger and former member of the 20th Victorian Mounted Rifles Australian Light Horse (Militia) was desecrated by thieves in Melbourne’s southeast. The daughter of the veteran was devastated to find the grave of her father had been stripped of its brass lettering and rising sun badge. The RSL paid to supply and install a cast bronze plaque on the veteran’s grave.

Family in need

A former member of the Australian Army was discharged on medical grounds and is no longer able to work. He and his wife have four school-aged children, one of whom has recently been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a debilitating condition which requires the use of a motorised wheelchair. Financially struggling to bring up four children, the family were unable to pay for the much needed motorised wheelchair for their disabled child. The RSL, bought the motorised wheelchair for the family.

We still call Australia home

An elderly Australian World War II veteran was married to a lady from the United States and had lived there for many years. Unfortunately his wife became very ill and in order to fund her ongoing medical treatment the veteran was forced to re-mortgage the family home. Sadly she passed away and the Australian veteran was left in the United States with no family support and the financial struggle of repaying the outstanding mortgage. Suffering from long term diabetes, the 87 year old veteran requires full time care to help with day-to-day activities after recently having his leg amputated. His only living relative is located in Melbourne, however she was not able to afford his flight home. The RSL paid for a one way ticket from the United States to Australia to bring the veteran back home.

Winning back some independence

A former member of the British Merchant Navy suffered a stroke and lost some of his mobility. Unfortunately, despite being an Australian citizen, he is not entitled to support through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) because of his foreign-service status. Consequently, his request for an electric scooter to aid his mobility was dismissed. The RSL provided him with a motorised electric scooter on permanent loan.

Staying by each others side

A current serving member of the Australian Army was recently injured in Afghanistan by an Improvised Explosive Device. He was returned to Australia to commence long-term medical rehabilitation for his injuries, however unfortunately his current rehabilitation location is a significant distance away from his partner. The Department of Defence has established a welfare plan which involves flying his partner every 6 to 8 weeks and providing her with one week’s accommodation at that time close by his side. The RSL has assisted by funding additional flights and accommodation in between the 6 to 8 week blocks to maximise the limited amount of time the young couple are able to spend together.

Community compassion

A former Australian Army Vietnam veteran recently passed away, leaving behind three children, two in their late teens. The single parent passed away in somewhat impoverished circumstances and subsequently the children were left with a considerable bill for their father’s funeral expenses. The late veteran was a member of the RSL in Echuca and admirably Echuca Legacy stepped in and paid the funeral expenses. The RSL reimbursed Echuca Legacy for the monies they expended on behalf of the children.

Slippery situation

An Occupational Therapist approached the RSL for assistance on behalf of a double leg amputee veteran who served in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) during World War II. The Occupational Therapist advised that modifications to the veteran’s bathroom were required to make it safer for him when showering in his chair. The total costs of the bathroom renovations were significant, however through funding from the Victorian Aids & Equipment Program and the RSL, the necessary modifications were carried out to ensure the bathroom was safe and disability friendly.

Just like family

An elderly veteran with no immediate family in Victoria was hospitalised in Melbourne with the onset of dementia and Parkinson's disease. His niece, who lived interstate was having great trouble organising accommodation for him due to distance and a lack of knowledge regarding local aged care facilities. The Victorian RSL stepped in to provide the funds required to secure the services of a professional aged care placement consultant who was charged with finding suitable aged care accommodation for him. And now, he is now comfortably settled into a lovely facility in Melbourne.

A world of difference

An elderly veteran had to put up with the disfigurement and discomfort of a large cyst growing on his right eyelid for many months. As a pensioner, he was unable to afford private health insurance and was therefore reliant on the public health care system. Because it was regarded as minor surgery he had to join a long waiting queue. The Victorian RSL stepped in and provided the funding necessary to have the cyst removed in a day surgery clinic. This simple, quick and effective solution made the world of difference to the veteran.

Fly away home

The Victorian RSL was able to supply funding to have a former member of the New Zealand Armed Forces flown interstate by air ambulance to be closer to his family. The veteran, who had served alongside Australian troops in Vietnam, recently suffered a severe stroke and had a number of other health complications. He needed to go into a high care environment in an aged care facility and although he had lived in Victoria for 30 years, he had no immediate family close by. The Victorian RSL paid for him to be transferred by air ambulance to Sydney where his nearest family lived. The family were overwhelmed by this show of support from the RSL and commented that if the veteran had been well enough he would have said, thank you himself.

Smoothing the way

A WWII veteran in his mid-80s suffered greatly from his war time experiences and as a result, had a number of complex health issues which required him to take various medications each day. These medications in turn, impacted on his balance, mobility and his capacity to walk safely when outside. His home was quite old and the concrete path to the front door and driveway were in very poor condition and unsafe for him when he ventured outside unsupervised. Both the veteran and his wife had been pensioners for many years and did not have the funds to replace the old path and driveway. After suffering a number of falls, the Victorian RSL were advised of the problem and stepped in, replacing the driveway and path to ensure his future safety.

A roof over their heads

A 29 year-old East Timor veteran has, because of his operational experiences, been in and out of the Veterans' Psychiatric Unit (VPU) at the Repatriation General Hospital at Heidelberg. With a young partner and a two year-old child, the Veteran has responsibilities but for the past couple of years, has been unable to stay in paid employment due to his disability. He and his partner have exhausted whatever little savings they had and now live fortnight to fortnight on his military compensation payments and he and his partner's Centrelink payments. He and his partner are also on the private rental merry-go-round and have had to vacate a couple of rental places recently. However, when they find a new place to live, the bond/prepaid rent required up front is quite prohibitive, especially when surviving on welfare payments. RSL Victoria has helped this young veteran and his family on a couple of occasions by paying these upfront costs to secure a roof over their heads.

Won't take it lying down

A 92 year-old WWII veteran now in a nursing home needed a pressure management chair to use when he spent time out of bed. Without such a chair, the veteran would spend most of his time lying in bed. These chairs are quite expensive and the veteran and his wife did not have the funding available to purchase such an appliance. RSL Victoria provided the necessary funding to purchase the chair, thus improving the Veteran’s quality of life in his twilight years.

Keeping the lights on

A 60 year-old Vietnam veteran needed assistance to pay some of his outstanding household utility accounts as he and his wife had spent most of their savings caring for their grown children, even though both had left home and lived interstate. Both of the veteran’s children suffer from debilitating dependencies; one drugs, the other alcohol. And one has a child of her own. The veteran is unable to work, being a T&PI recipient himself, so RSL Victoria helped by paying some of the outstanding household utility accounts.

Home alone

An elderly ex-British Army member who lived by himself required some additional care services (such as meals on wheels, carer assistance with showering and cleaning) to enable him to remain living at home independently. However, the elderly veteran had become a scavenger in his later years and his flat was cluttered with rubbish and community support services cannot enter premises unless it is safe to do so. RSL Victoria provided the funding to declutter, remove all rubbish and clean the veteran’s home to an acceptable standard.

Transition trauma

A current serving member of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is in the process of transitioning from military service back into civilian life. Unfortunately, he had not served the necessary length of time required to be eligible for defence assistance to access such things as CV (Curriculum Vitae) development. To be competitive in seeking employment in the civilian world, he needed to have a professional CV developed to highlight his skills and training. RSL Victoria recently entered into an association with a group of ex-service people who specialise in developing professional CVs for military personnel, accurately reflecting the skills and training gained whilst with the defence forces. RSL Victoria will continue to fund CV development for servicemen and women looking for civilian employment in Victoria, as they did in this case.

Rest in peace

A former member of the Royal Australian Air Force who served during WWII passed away in January 2009. Neither he nor his daughter had sufficient funds available, even after the Veterans' Affairs funeral rebate, to finalise his funeral costs. RSL Victoria paid all outstanding accounts owed to the funeral provider.

Rotten luck

An elderly WWII veteran who resided alone in country Victoria, was not aware that his washing machine hose connection was leaking. This went on for a number of years, resulting in the floors in the laundry and toilet/bathroom rotting due to water damage. An RSL Sub-Branch welfare officer came across the problem and approached RSL Victoria as the situation was so drastic that it was unsafe for the veteran to use his toilet for fear of falling through the floor. The veteran was on a pension and unable to pay for such repairs. A local builder/carpenter was engaged to render the floor safe. The Victorian Branch of the RSL in conjunction with the local Sub-Branch provided the funding.

Home safe

A widow of a former member of the British Army - The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders who served in Palestine and Korea, suffered a stroke. She receives a small war pension from England and some aged pension from Centrelink in Australia. Whist she is still able to live independently, an RSL Sub-Branch welfare officer approached RSL Victoria to purchase a medical alert system for her to have at home. The system consists of an emergency alarm pendant and a smart dialler device which is hooked up to the widow's telephone. RSL Victoria purchased the package on behalf of the widow.

The RSL is dedicated to assisting serving and former members of the Allied Defence Force and their dependents when in need. Our mission is to give back to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.


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