Bravery Trust has reported April and May 2021 as two of the busiest months on record for veteran-specific financial aid and financial counselling.
As the impacts of Covid-19 restrictions take hold, phone calls to Bravery Trust have more than doubled from May 2020 to May 2021.
Bravery Trust is a nation-wide military charity that specialises in providing financial aid and financial counselling for veterans who have been injured or suffered illness as a result of their service.
Chief Executive Officer Belinda Wilson said Bravery Trust was in the process of hiring additional counsellors to keep up with demand.
“Our team of highly trained staff work with each veteran to understand their financial situation and tailor unique options specific to individual circumstances.
Bravery Trust can provide emergency payments and advocate on behalf of veterans with banks, debtors and landlords and support those in need to financial wellbeing,” Ms Wilson said.
“The number of new cases, that’s people contacting us for the first time, has increased by around 50% since February this year.
“The most common issues at the moment are rent and bond, as people are struggling to find affordable accommodation. 40% of our financial aid payments in the 2020-21 financial year were directed toward rental bond and relocation costs.”
Ms Wilson said schemes like Payday and Afterpay were having a more drastic impact since Covid lockdown.
“People are at-home and it’s easy to purchase items online using ‘pay later’ schemes, but we’re seeing increased numbers of veterans in financial hardship due to late or non-payment and additional fees that follow.”
Bravery Trust has piloted a veteran-specific Financial Counselling Service which has proven to be a shining light.
The trial reported 97% of veterans moved on to financial independence after participating in Bravery Trust’s Financial Counselling Program.
“On the positive side, we are finding when we work through each veteran’s individual circumstances, there are many cases where they afford the items they need but do not have the financial literacy to manage their own budget,” Ms Wilson said.