Finding an advocate

Last updated: 
21 April 2021

Learn about advocates and how they can help you.

What is an advocate

Advocates are people who are trained to help you access services and payments.

They are generally volunteers and work for one or more ex-service organisations (ESOs).

They tend to be members of the veteran community, such as veterans and partners of veterans. They are not DVA staff members.

Advocates are accredited under the Advocacy Training and Development Program (ATDP). Their parent ESOs hold professional indemnity insurance to protect you.

What advocates do

DVA has been working to make it easier for you to lodge claims through MyService. If you need help, advocates are available.

They can help you prepare and lodge:

  • DVA claims
  • requests for a review of our decisions
  • appeals to the Veteran Review Board (VRB) and Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

They can also represent you at VRB and AAT hearings.

Advocates can help you access information and referrals for services such as:

  • health and treatment
  • rehabilitation
  • housing
  • transport
  • support for transitioning to civilian life
  • medical, financial, legal and police matters
  • funeral arrangements and bereavement assistance.

If you need extra support, they can put you in touch with other government and community services.

Advocates accredited under the ATDP provide these services for free, although they may ask you to pay a small amount to cover incidental costs.

Where you can find an advocate

You can use the Accredited Advocate Register (AAR) to:

  • search for an ESO
  • find an advocate in your area.

ESOs provide their contact details and other information in the AAR, such as the number and level of qualified advocates they have.

The AAR does not list individual advocates.

All of the ESOs listed will try to assist you, even if you do not meet the requirements to become a member of that particular ESO.

DVA support for advocacy

We support veterans' advocacy by funding and working with ESOs to deliver training for advocates under the ATDP.

We also provide financial support to ESOs under the Building Excellence in Support and Training (BEST) grants program.

Other ways to get help

A friend or relative may be able to help you with your claims.

You may also consult a legal professional, although you would need to pay for their services.

There are also some small businesses that offer advocacy services for a fee. You should ensure that those advocates are adequately trained and hold professional indemnity insurance before you go ahead.

More information

Contact an ESO on the AAR to find out more about what an advocate can do for you. 

Advocacy News provides updates on the ATDP. It also has articles relevant to ESOs and the advocacy community.

You can view the newsletters on the ATDP website.