Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson is calling for extra DVA staff to help reduce wait times for veterans submitting claims. Picture: Shae Beplate.
Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson is calling for extra DVA staff to help reduce wait times for veterans submitting claims. Picture: Shae Beplate.

MP targets veteran aid wait times

Herbert MP Phillip Thompson has called for additional resources to be allocated to veterans' claims processing, with reports of wait times extending to eight months.

Mr Thompson established the Veterans and Veterans Families Committee Group, which has been told ex-servicemen and women are experiencing "excessive wait times" with some claims taking months.

"We've seen through different reports claims do take too long," he said.

"The time for talk is finished and it's time for action that should have happened before I was born.

"We need these wait times to be fixed. The committee that I host, and is chaired by Peter Hindle, heard wait times was one of the biggest issues raised.

"It's what spurred me straight into action, to ensure veterans get a fair go."

Writing to Veterans' Affairs Minister Darren Chester, Mr Thompson raised the mental and physical impacts prolonged processing times could have on ex-servicemen and women.

"We can use existing resources and people within the department to help with the backlog," he said.

"If DVA doesn't have the capacity, then we need to hire more people - eight months is far too long.

"We don't want people who don't understand the system or the way it works, we want people to do their jobs well, efficiently and on time."

Mr Thompson said excessive wait times could endanger a veteran's life and place extra strain on an already struggling person.

Afghanistan veteran Justin Huggett, who has helped to successfully complete hundreds of claims for veterans, said a high proportion of delays were a result of laziness and a lack of sufficient evidence being supplied.

"You'll find if the claim has been done correctly, the veteran has supplied the correct paperwork, medical evidence, those claims go through much quicker," he said.

"Lazy advocates submitting claims or veterans with a 'that will do' attitude and fraudulent claims help clog the system and make it slower for everyone else."

Originally published as MP targets veteran aid wait times