W3 Company - Contacts and Assistance Whakapā mai
information about war disablement pensions and disabilities presumed to be attributable to service
Veterans Pension - Have you been taking your Paludrine lately..? Remember how the anti-malarial tablets were available freely to help individuals avoid malaria, left in tins on the mess table, shoved down your throat by the platoon sergeant etc..? So if an individual failed to take Paludrine daily he was thought of by others as irresponsible. What's my point..? Like Paludrine, the veterans pension is also available freely to help individuals alleviate the effects of their operational tour. If you are not receiving it to some degree then you are also irresponsible.
There are several arguments raised by the irresponsible veteran: 'there are others worse off than me, let them have the money' is the most common. Another is to say 'this pain is old age, not attributable to my time as a young soldier in Vietnam'. The ultimate argument might be: 'I don't need the money'. Then use it to shout your grand-children an awesome experience, or upgrade your car.
Lets look at some facts:  There is plenty of money in the veterans budget for all of us, so you going without won't mean someone else is allocated more money. Under the War Pensions Act an individual veteran can only be allocated a finite sum for their disabilities.  Your spouse can also benefit long-term from your WDP if you reach a certain level of disability.  Many problems in old age can be traced back to activity as a young soldier, such as PTSD, worn discs in your back, skin cancers, smoking related issues.
[word of caution - this paragraph pre-dates the new Veterans Support Act 2014] So how do you reconcile your arguments with the facts..? Simple really. When you apply for a veterans pension you ask a panel a question, 'is my ailment attributable to my service in Vietnam..?' The panel ask specialists to review the issue and then make a decision. If they say 'no' then you have your answer, but if they say 'yes' then you receive some additional income and better still some long-term assistance with medical treatment. You can then choose another ailment and ask the question again. The number of ailments accepted increases your 'percentage' of disability. The preferred outcome of the process is to receive a combination of decisions that add up to more than 70% disability [WDP]. At this level you are better off at 65 than receiving national superannuation. And your spouse also receives better treatment because when you depart on your next posting they will continue to receive 50% of what you were receiving. Tell them they are not worth it...!
UPDATED 2015: Following the passage of the Veterans Support Act 2014 there are some changes to how existing or new conditions are administered - read this article for information on these changes - this letter for another potential change, and this response to concerns on the impact of the changes.
The process starts with a phone call to Veterans Affairs New Zealand 0800 553 003 if you are in New Zealand, or ++64 9 985 1070 if you are calling from overseas (but you pay for the call). Part of the process is registration as a veteran. There are spouses that are unhappy their irresponsible veteran has not registered himself and his family as part of the veteran community. Registration costs nothing but could lead to long-term benefits. The good news ladies, is that you can do it yourself. The forms are available on-line here, there are different forms for veterans [even if deceased], spouses, children and grand-children.
Assistance with Veteran Pensions. Any queries on how to obtain a veterans pension or on what constitutes a condition for a veterans pension can be directed to a case manager at Veterans Affairs or to a welfare officer at your nearest RSA.
presumed to be attributable to service
Vietnam Veterans: If you served in Vietnam between 29 May 1964 and 31 December 1972, with 41 Squadron between 1 January 1973 and 21 April 1975, or were a member of the civilian surgical team at the Qui Nhon Provincial State Hospital Vietnam from December 1963 until March 1975, the following disabilities are presumed to be attributable to service: [reference]
Prostate Cancer. Prostate cancer is one of the long term health effects associated with service in Vietnam. Baden Ewart [NZ Component 1970-71] [click name for email address] has recently been through the operation to remove a cancerous growth in his prostate and is offering support to any other veterans or family who may have questions about the condition, or who have been through the operation and post-op treatment. His news to sufferers is that caught early enough the condition can be safely treated, and he has been cleared following his procedure. At this link is a free downloadable book about prostate cancer which Baden recommends, entitled "an Oncologists view of prostate cancer: understanding the facts, sorting through the options 2nd Ed" by Srinivasan Vijayakumar . The PDF file is 18Mb so a fast link is recommended.
Hearing Loss Explained
[hat tip Bruce Isbister V3 on Vets Net]
|End of Tour Checklist
There are useful end of tour checklists at this link. There is always someone to assist veterans, their spouses and family on entitlements, grants, pensions, good advice, a veteran never needs to feel alone. A beer at or call to the local RSA is a good start.