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INCREASE IN RSA GRANTS SUGGESTS MOUNTING HARDSHIP

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The RNZRSA administers a number of trusts for the purpose of supporting returned and service personnel, their dependents and families.

Returned and service personnel and their families have made a significant number more RSA grant applications in 2016, in comparison to the previous year. This increase suggests some in our ex-service community are facing mounting hardship, RSA says.

“Compared to 2015, we have had far more applications for grants by eligible persons and their families,” says Danny Nelson, RSA Support Services Strategic Advisor. “The fact we are seeing more contemporary veterans applying is significant.

“Especially since the main reason appears to be because of hardship issues generally bought on by deeper problems,” he explains.

“These are associated with combat trauma, including Post Traumatic Stress Injuries (PTSI), as well as physical injuries.”

The RNZRSA administers a number of trusts for the purpose of supporting returned and service personnel, their dependents and families, regardless of whether they are members of the RSA or if they have operational service. The guiding principle behind the granting of financial assistance is need. Assistance in the relief of social and medical hardship and the advancement of education are the main criteria for considering assistance, although other situations will be considered on their merits.

In 2015 there were 21 applications for grants from the Poppy and RNZRSA general trusts with a total of $37,607 paid out, while in 2016 this number grew to 73 with $141,989 granted. Contemporary veterans (those who have served in the military post Vietnam), are increasingly coming to the attention of RSA support advisors.

“In the latter half of 2016, contemporary veterans made up about 50% of applicants seeking financial assistance in one form or another,” says Danny.

“The perception of the RSA only assisting older veterans to get dentures and walking sticks is well and truly over.”

However, Danny believes the work for the RSA doesn’t stop here, and even more can be done in regards to trust grants.

“We know there is a whole generation of post-Vietnam current and ex-service people who will be suffering from hardship and both mental and physical injuries, who could benefit from trust grants, as well as ensuring our older veterans are looked after in their retirement.

”My measure of success for 2017 will be to double the funds granted to veterans and their families. This requires local RSAs and the community to refer service and ex-service people who need financial help to us.”

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