Australia’s veterans have served their country in roles that have left them with both physical and mental health problems they will deal with for the rest of their lives.

Transitioning back to civilian life can behard and beset bymany problems, exacerbated by issues including post-traumatic stress disorder.

The last thing veterans need after their service is to deal unnecessarily with bureaucracy.

But veterans are struggling to grapple with a claims system that is convoluted and slow.

The delays they face in having medical compensation claims processed and reviewed, and the frustration they experience in navigating the system have to end.

Veterans driven togivingup on the claims processaren’t receiving the compensation due to them, needed for them to return to civilian life.

The government is willing to send men and women to war, but hasbeen failing those same people when they return.

Considering what they have done for their country and our community, it should be a national priority to make the Department of Veterans’ Affairs easier to navigate for ex-services personnel.

Veterans should be able tomake a medical claim without encountering what has been described as an adversarial process.

They should not have to feel like they’re in conflict with their own government over the impact of war on their bodies.

Australia’s government should back them by improving the system.

Veterans deserve to believethat the DVA of all departments is on their side as they make claims.

For a start, the claims process should be easier to understand for veterans.

Second, direct DVA contact with veterans will be needed to assist them with their claim. Volunteer welfare compensation advocates can’t do all the work in making sure a claim is successful.

The government is rollingout of a national alternative disputes resolution model in addressing the adversarial aspects of the claims system that veterans encounter.

Ensuring the DVA’s IT system meets a high standard mighthelp.

But more reform is needed in this sector to fix a situation that is adding to veterans’ financial and psychological stress.

The Sunday Examiner will continue to look at veterans’ experiences of the claims system in coming weeks.

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