Current and former members of the defence forces injured during their service can get free legal advice from Legal Aid NSW about veterans’ entitlements.
“Between Anzac Day 2014 and this year we helped about 400 people – from widows of World War 2 servicemen to men and women who served in Afghanistan, East Timor or Iraq,” said Paul Jones, solicitor with Legal Aid NSW’s veterans’ advocacy service.
“Most of our clients joined the defence forces because they were ready to serve their country, and we all owe them our gratitude,” Mr Jones said.
“If they get injured – whether on active duty or in Australia – they are entitled to support and Legal Aid NSW gives them independent legal advice.”
“We also give veterans practical help, for example when they have to complete forms and questionnaires, and help them lodge their pension claims.”
“Last month Legal Aid NSW won a pension increase for an 87 year-old Korean War veteran, Captain Barrie Heckenberg, who developed cancer linked to asbestos in the RAAF Dakota planes he flew in during the war,” Mr Jones said.
Mr Heckenberg, who was also struck in the head with an anti-tank grenade in Korea in October 1951, said the pension increase would be of great benefit for the last years of his life.
“I am very grateful for the advice and assistance. The Legal Aid lawyer helped me with the entire process and really achieved magic,” he said.
Legal Aid NSW also regularly holds free legal advice clinics for veterans around the state in Liverpool, Central Coast, Gosford, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Tweed Heads, Lismore, Armidale, Dubbo, Orange, Tamworth, Wagga Wagga, Batemans Bay, Nowra and Sydney.
For appointments call 9219 5148 or for information go to: http://www.legalaid.nsw. gov.au/what-we-do/civil-law/veterans-advocacy