Meet Veterans Support Centre Advocate Tony Hornby

Meet Tony Hornby, Advocate at the Veterans’ Support Centre (VSC). With over 700 clients totaling an excess of 2,300 claimed medical conditions under his belt, he knows the Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) like the back of his hand.

Last year, a seriously ill veteran had lodged an EDA (Extreme Disablement Adjustment) claim. The claim was denied 5 months later where he fell short of obtaining this by just 3 points (70 points are required to receive EDA). At this time Tony was alerted to the fact that the veteran had passed away. Tony called the veteran’s wife and found out she had lodged a claim at another ESO (Ex Service Organisation) to obtain a War Widows pension.

Had this veteran obtained an EDA, the War Widows entitlements would have been granted automatically. The cause of death could not be linked to service, however the claim that Tony had lodged was still alive through the appeals process. Tony explains, “I noted that his tinnitus, whilst an accepted condition, had not been assessed as he had passed away before his audiologist appointment. However, I had lodged a Medical Impairment sheet for tinnitus with an assessment of 15 impairment points. So I lodged a review under Section 31 Review where a Senior Delegate examines Delegates decisions. As a result of the Medical Impairment sheet, the points were awarded and the EDA was granted which lead to a subsequent War Widows Pension with back pay for the veteran’s wife.”

It’s amazing the difference an Advocate can make to someone’s life and it is not only the older generation that are experiencing the life changing benefits of Advocate’s knowledge.

It was just before Christmas last year when a younger veteran, who was married with a five year old child and an eviction notice hanging over his head came to see George Van Liessum, another Advocate. His wife had a part time job but due to psychological issues, the veteran could not work and support his family. The bills remained unpaid and Christmas was looking bleak. The weight of his financial burden was evident.

With George’s assistance and consultation with Tony, the VSC Emergency Fund and District RSL were able to put food in his cupboard, pay for his car to be repaired, cover his rent in arrears as well as pay his rent one month in advance. The cherry on top was when the District RSL bought a Christmas present for his son – a bike. During the VSC’s Christmas party, guests did a ‘whip around collection’ which was enough to fund a birthday party at McDonalds for his son and his friends.

The DVA had already accepted the Veterans’ condition but the veteran was unaware of Incapacity Payments. Within two weeks of the George contacting the DVA they had approved his Incapacity Claim and in just over three weeks the Incapacity Payment funds were in his bank account, backdated to the date of his claim.

Just two months after initially seeing the veteran close to breaking, George and Tony saw a changed man in front of them.

His whole demeanour had transformed and he had such a positive attitude, with the financial load being lifted for a while to come, the veteran is now attending vocational training through the DVA.

On his role at the VSC, Tony explains, “It’s not a job. It’s a lifestyle that I love. The desire to help people is a lifestyle. I look forward to going to work where I have immense job satisfaction. The results are very tangible.”

Tony’s need to help began many years ago when he was learning what his own entitlements were when he had issues with the F111 Deseal Reseal Program. He also realised that his Mum should have had a Gold Card and that many others needed help.

Tony has a burning desire to the best at what he does with a meticulous eye for detail, which is obvious when you see the size of his claims – approximately 3cm thick of neatly organised, typed paperwork. Tony is always learning through formal courses, competency based training, networking with other advocates and consultation with the DVA. He is currently mentoring an advocate at Murwillumbah RSL Sub-Branch where they don’t have a VSC.

If you or someone you know needs assistance, please call Tony at the VSC on 07 5559 5022 or email

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