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Not Just Diet: The Real Way Dietitians Are Transforming Veteran’s Lives

Think seeing a dietitian is just about being told to make “healthy, balanced food choices” and being handed a few nutritious meal ideas? Think again.

Dietitians are playing a crucial role in maintaining the well-being of Australian veterans – from helping them thrive socially to helping with the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – and for many, it’s transforming their lives.

So what does a dietitian do, how does it go beyond dietary advice, and how are veterans accessing fully funded dietetic services with their DVA gold or white cards? Here’s what you need to know.

What Does A Dietitian Do For Veterans?

Essentially, a dietitian translates the science behind nutrition and turns it into practical solutions that use nutrition to improve your physical, mental and emotional health. These results can look like anything from improving your sleep or daily energy levels, to helping you better manage stress or illness, to weight loss.

While eating a range of nutritious foods may seem like something we should all be naturally able to do, the reality is that there are many things that can affect your food intake that may be outside of your control, including:

  • Swallowing problems
  • Decrease in smell and taste
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Medications
  • Unexplained appetite loss or decrease
  • Decrease in muscle strength
  • Dental problems
  • Feeling lethargic
  • Depression
  • Dementia
  • Illnesses and medical conditions

When we don’t have the right nutrition in our diets, we become at risk of malnutrition. Our bodies rely on the nutrition from our food to allow our body to effectively perform all of its complex functions – from healing wounds to regenerating cells to the hundreds of chemical reactions happening within our organs that keep us healthy and prevent illness. This means that malnutrition can have devastating effects in both the short and long term, severely impacting our health and quality of life. This is where dietitians are instrumental.

Dietitians: Assess, Diagnose and Recommend Food Choices

This is the part of a dietitian’s role that you may already be familiar with, but the way they work is often a surprise for veterans. Instead of giving you a meal plan that combines a range of nutritious foods and setting you free, dietitians start with comprehensive assessments that can include a nutritional analysis, anthropometric assessment, body composition analysis and more. These help to provide a complete picture of you, understanding your food preferences, your medical conditions and medications, your goals, any alterations in the texture of the food you may need (like if you have swallowing difficulties), changes to your taste and smell, your vitamin, mineral and other nutrient levels and deficiencies, and much more – all in the context of your age and activity levels, as dietary needs change with age.

Next, your plan is created – and the benefits to a person’s quality of life can be significant:

  • Improving mental outlook 
  • Feeling mentally and physically better
  • Having more energy for daily activities
  • Building resistance to illnesses and infections
  • Sleeping better at night
  • Being able to cope with stress
  • Reducing your risk of some health conditions
  • Keeping your weight under control

The tools that form your plan can include shopping tours, in-home cooking demonstrations, nutrition coaching and counselling, meal and menu ideas, and much knowledge about what nutrition really is, and what it should look like for you specifically.

Ready to see a dietitian?

Dietitians: Help You Maintain Motivation And Stay On Track

Aside from their assessment, diagnosis, plan and education, dietitians are also trained in motivational exploration and behaviour-change counselling, enabling them to help guide veterans to uncover the reasons why they want to make changes and take up their nutritional advice. This aspect is key, as any plan is far less likely to succeed if a person doesn’t have a complete picture of why they’re doing something, what’s in it for them, and the benefits of sticking to it. Your dietitian helps keep things in perspective – which is often an ongoing process – and may employ other strategies like equipping someone in the household with the knowledge to help support you on a daily basis.

Dietitians: Provide Nutritional Supplements

While it’s often said that we can get all the nutrition we need from the food we eat – for some people, and in some circumstances, this isn’t feasible and a nutritional supplement can be of great value. Often, supplements are needed where medical conditions may interfere with the absorption or intake of certain nutrients – or for other reasons. If your dietitian deems that a supplement is clinically necessary to support your circumstances, they can make recommendations that are sent to both your GP and the Veterans’ Affairs Pharmaceutical Advisory Centre. Once approved, your supplements will be dispensed at your pharmacy.

Dietitians: Prescribe Aids

Like supplements, dietitians can also prescribe aids or appliances, such as those to assist swallowing or feeding, where they are clinically necessary to support a condition. To access your aid, your dietitian fills out a form through DVA and an order is then placed through the Rehabilitation Appliances Program, which is designed to help veterans live safely and independently. An order then needs to be placed upon approval (if needed, your dietitian will guide you on this) and your items will be supplied directly by a DVA-contracted supplier.

Dietitians: Help Veterans Overcome Social Challenges

Dietitians that work extensively with veterans, like the ones that work alongside Veteran Benefits Australia, understand the complex social impact that food has on the daily lives of veterans and their social interactions. When challenges arise, some veterans choose to withdraw and avoid social situations that include a meal. Dietitians step in to provide the right advice, guidance and strategies to help veterans overcome these challenges and enjoy these social interactions.

Dietitians: Reduce The Impact Of Disease On Your Life

When you have diseases or conditions such as heart disease or diabetes (among many more!), they can have a significant impact on the quality of your day-to-day life, and can progressively worsen over time. As part of your plan, your dietitian will include specific evidence-based advice and strategies to help you best manage these conditions and reduce your disease burden.

Dietitians: Help With Mental Health – PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, Stress And More

Research shows that diet can worsen the symptoms of mental health conditions – or it can help to reduce or even prevent them. Dietitians understand this, and consider your current mental state and history of mental health when assessing you and creating your unique nutritional advice. Dietitians also understand the ways that PTSD, anxiety and depression can affect your appetite, which can look like developing erratic eating patterns, a reduced or increased appetite, associating feelings with certain foods that lead to harmful food choices, and more. They also have a thorough knowledge of the foods that may help ease stress, anxiety and depression – leveraging these strategically in your plan.

Get Connected To Dietitians Who Understand Australian Veterans 

Many veterans know their current diet isn’t ideal – but may not realise the magnitude of effects that it’s having on their health or bodies – and where to start to get supportive, informative and non-judgemental help from some who understands their unique challenges. This is where Veteran Benefits Australia comes in to connect veterans to not only the services they’re entitled to, but with experienced, excellent practitioners, including dietitians, who understand how to set them up for success.

Alongside dietetics, we also connect Australian veterans to other DVA-funded services they are entitled to, so they don’t miss out by not being familiar with how the system works, or not having all the right information about their entitlements.

To take advantage of our fully-funded services and get connected to the best providers for veterans, simply fill in our contact form.

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Veteran Benefits Australia Privacy Policy

Here at Veteran Benefits Australia, (we, us, our, or Veteran Benefits Australia) protecting your privacy and treating your personal information with care is of paramount importance to us. This Privacy Policy explains why we collect personal information and how we collect, use, disclose, store and protect your personal information when you use our Veteran Benefits Australia Services (our referral services to third party suppliers of goods and services to veterans and anything we add to those services from time to time).

It also explains how to contact us to correct, update or delete any personal information provided to us, or make a complaint if you have concerns. We are compliant with the privacy principles of Australia.

We will only collect and process personal information about you where we have a lawful basis to do so. Lawful basis includes consent (where you have given consent such as filling out our “contact us” form), contract (where processing is necessary for the performance of a contract with you) and legitimate interests (including security threats or frauds, compliance with applicable laws, and enabling us to administer our business).

You expressly and voluntarily grant your informed consent to Veteran Benefits Australia to deal with your personal information in accordance with the terms and conditions of this Privacy Policy. You have the right to withdraw or decline your consent at any time and where we rely on legitimate interests, you have the right to object.

Changes that we make to our Privacy Policy

We will notify you about any changes to our Privacy Policy by updating the “Last updated” date of this Privacy Policy.  You are encouraged to periodically review this Privacy Policy to stay informed of updates. You will be deemed to have been made aware of, will be subject to, and will be deemed to have accepted the changes in any revised Privacy Policy by your continued use of the Veteran Benefits Australia Services after the date such revised Privacy Policy is posted.

Which entities does this Privacy Policy cover?

This Privacy Policy applies to Veteran Benefits Australia with respect to the Veteran Benefits Australia Services.

What is personal information?

Personal information is defined as information or an opinion (including information or an opinion forming part of a database), whether true or not, and whether recorded in a material form or not, about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can reasonably be ascertained, from the information or opinion.

What personal information do we collect?

From time to time Veteran Benefits Australia may offer the ability to make a donation or purchase goods or services including merchandise through its Website. The terms of donation or purchase will be in accordance with the online check-out terms and conditions appearing on check-out of the transaction.

Why do we collect your personal information?

We may collect your personal information when required by law but generally we collect personal information from you (or about you) to allow us to:

  • supply you with the Veteran Benefits Australia Services;
  • supply you with tailored service offerings that may benefit you;
  • communicate more effectively with you about our services such as through our newsletter;
  • supply marketing or promotional materials and other information to you;
  • ensure your experience with us is a positive one; and
  • notify you about our new services or product offerings, discounts, promotions or upcoming events.


Personal information collected or received by us will only be used for the stated purpose for which it was provided.

When you access the Veteran Benefits Australia Services, we may collect certain information automatically, including, but not limited to, your operating system, the type of Internet browser you use, unique device identifiers and other diagnostic data (Usage Data).

When do we disclose your personal information?

Your personal information will not be used contrary to this Privacy Policy but may be disclosed to third parties in the following circumstances:

  • for the purpose it was collected (such as a referral to a third party service provider);
  • if we sell all or part of our business and the purchaser also requires your personal information;
  • to enforce our legal rights or those of others;
  • to prevent actual or potential fraud or illegal activity; or
  • if we are required to do so by law.


If personal information is disclosed to a third party, we are required to take reasonable steps to ensure your personal information is treated in accordance with the laws that apply to personal information.

When and how do we collect your personal information?

We collect most personal information directly from you when you make an enquiry about our Veteran Benefits Australia Services from us. Your consent may be express (e.g. you agree to the use of your information by ticking a box) or implied by an action you take or do not take (i.e. because you have agreed to terms and conditions that contain information about the use or disclosure of your information).   At the date of this policy, your consent is given when you register your interest in a service, sign up for our newsletter or complete our contact us registration form.

What if you don’t want us to collect your personal information?

You are not obligated to provide us with your personal information. You may choose whether you receive communications from us. Whilst it is your choice not to provide your personal information to us this may impede our ability to provide you with all of the functionality of our Veteran Benefits Australia Services.

What if you don’t want to receive further communications from us?

Should you wish to remove yourself from our contact database you may do so at any time by contacting us at www.veteranbenefitsaustralia.com/contact-us/

How can I access, correct and/or update personal information you have collected?

At any time you may contact our Privacy Officer and request your personal information be modified. We will make all efforts to correct data once we have proved your identity.

We will deal with all requests for access to personal information as quickly as possible, but no later than 30 calendar days from the date of your request (unless any complexities arise).

We will refuse access where the personal information relates to existing or anticipated legal proceedings, and the information would not be accessible by the process of discovery in those proceedings. Further, we will refuse access where your request is frivolous or vexatious, and where we reasonably believe that: giving access would pose a serious threat to the life, health or safety of any individual, or to public health or public safety; unlawful activity, or misconduct of a serious nature, is being or may be engaged in against Veteran Benefits Australia and giving access would be likely to prejudice the taking of appropriate action in relation to that matter.

If we refuse to give you access we will provide you with reasons for our refusal, unless doing so would be unreasonable in the circumstances. We will also take reasonable steps to give you access in a way that meets your needs without giving rise to the reasons of our refusal. Further, we will provide details of how you may make a complaint about our decision.

Please note that the access and correction requirements under this Privacy Policy operates alongside and do not replace other informal or legal procedures by which an individual can be provided access to, or correction of, their personal information.

How do we store and protect your personal information?

For us to provide excellent service we are required to store some personal information and take the greatest of care to ensure this information is treated as private and confidential. Transmitting personal data via the internet does have inherent risks associated with it. We will however take all reasonable steps to ensure the security of this data. Note that no information transmitted over the Internet can be guaranteed to be completely secure. While we will endeavour to protect your personal information as best as possible we cannot guarantee the security of any information that you transmit to us, or receive from us. The transmission and exchange of information is carried out at your own risk.

Although we take measures to safeguard against unauthorised disclosures of information, we cannot assure you that personal information that we collect will not be disclosed in a manner that is inconsistent with this Privacy Policy.

We have taken the necessary measures to ensure the personal information (including the financial information about yourself) we hold is not compromised. In accordance with and as permitted by applicable law and regulations we will retain your information as long necessary to serve you, to maintain your Veteran Benefits Australia registration or as otherwise need to operate our business.

It is important that you protect your privacy by ensuring that no one obtains your personal information and you must contact us directly if your details change. Should your information be erroneously provided to us or no longer remain valid within the constraints of this Privacy Policy we will securely destroy or de-identify it as soon as practicable, as long as it is lawful to do so.

We have obligations to notify you if you are affected by an data breach. We will take all reasonable precautions to take remedial action to prevent such an event. However, as we cannot guarantee that remedial action will be sufficient to prevent all instances of a breach, we will take steps to notify you of an eligible data breach as soon as practicable and provide recommendations as to what steps you should take to mitigate any serious loss or damage.


Cookies are text files placed on your computer to collect standard Internet log information and visitor behaviour information. When you visit our website, we may collect information from you automatically through cookies or similar technology.

Insofar as those cookies are not strictly necessary for the provision of our website and services, we will ask you to consent to our use of cookies when you first visit our website.

How do we use cookies?

We use cookies in a range of ways to improve your experience on our website, including understanding how you use our website.

What types of cookies do we use?

There are a number of different types of cookies, however, our website uses:

  • Functionality – we use these cookies so that we recognize you on our website and remember your previously selected preferences. These could include what language you prefer and location you are in. A mix of first-party and third-party cookies are used.

  • Advertising – we use these cookies to collect information about your visit to our website, the content you viewed, the links you followed and information about your browser, device, and your IP address. Sometimes we share some limited aspects of this data with third parties for advertising purposes. We may also share online data collected through cookies with our advertising partners. This means that when you visit another website, you may be shown advertising based on your browsing patterns on our website.

How to manage cookies

You can set your browser not to accept cookies, and the above website tells you how to remove cookies from your browser. However, in a few cases, some of our website features may not function as a result.

Third party sites

Our site has links to other websites and services provided on those websites not owned or controlled by us. These links are meant for your convenience only. Links to third party websites do not constitute sponsorship or endorsement or approval of these websites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practises of other such websites. We encourage our users to be aware, when they leave our website, to read the privacy statements of each and every website that collects personal identifiable information.

Disclosure policy:

Veteran Benefits Australia is in no way associated with the Department of Veteran Affairs. Veteran Benefits Australia is an online service providing an information blog that has affiliate agreements with its service providers. Veteran Benefits Australia is remunerated for its services from the service providers for the marketing and services it provides. Please note that some of the links on this website are affiliate links. This means that Veteran Benefits Australia will earn a commission if you decide to proceed with the service providers services they are providing. Please understand that I have thoroughly checked these service providers and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful for veterans, not simply because we make money from referring you to them. Please don’t proceed with these services if you don’t think they will benefit you or your family. Veteran Benefits Australia is purely designed to promote the awareness of these services and does not accept payments from veterans directly.

Veteran Benefits Australia Terms & Conditions

These are the terms and conditions of Veteran Benefits Australia. All advices, referrals and other services provided by Veteran Benefits Australia (“Services”) whether via its website at www.veteranbenefitsaustralia.com (“Website”) or by contacting Veteran Benefits Australia in any other manner, are provided on these Terms & Conditions and all customers of Veteran Benefits Australia’s Services (each a “Customer”) agree to these Terms & Conditions as a pre-condition of obtaining any Services from Veteran Benefits Australia. No terms and conditions introduced by the Customer shall take effect to vary these Terms & Conditions unless expressly agreed in writing by Veteran Benefits Australia.

About Veteran Benefits Australia’s Services

Veteran Benefits Australia’s Services are an online service and information blog designed to connect Customers to third party service providers (“Service Providers”) to facilitate Customers’ awareness and access to possible useful services for veterans, whether at full or discounted prices, as described in the various service categories described on the Website.

Veteran Benefits Australia does not of itself provide any health care service, social security service, legal or financial advice or any other direct service of any kind.

Veteran Benefits Australia is not affiliated with the Department of Veteran Affairs or any other Government department, the Returned and Services League Australia (RSL) or any other veterans association.

Veteran Benefits Australia’s Services are an independent online service.

About Service Providers

Whilst all care is taken to connect Customers with suitable, qualified and appropriate Service Providers based on the Customer’s instructions as to their needs, Veteran Benefits Australia does not endorse the advices of any Service Provider and expressly disclaims any liability for any products and services provided by Service Providers. Customers are encouraged to consider if the products and services of the Service Provider are suitable for the Customer’s needs and seek independent advice if required.

Veteran Benefits Australia will not conduct any assessments of the Customer’s needs and any recommendation that Veteran Benefits Australia makes for use of any Service Provider including for the making of any social security application, health care or other services is purely based on Veteran Benefits Australia’s response to the Customer’s request and their own assessment of their needs and circumstances.

Donations, merchandise and paid goods and services

From time to time Veteran Benefits Australia may offer the ability to make a donation or purchase goods or services including merchandise through its Website. The terms of donation or purchase will be in accordance with the online check-out terms and conditions appearing on check-out of the transaction.

Informed Consent for Social Worker Services

The purpose of the following is to inform you about the provision of social worker services by Medilinks Australia Online Pty Ltd t/as VBA Health (“us”, “we” “VBA Health”) and for you to consent to receive social worker services from us and to our management of your personal information.

Part A

Social Worker Services

Type of Services

Social worker services include the following supports:

Part B

Management of Health and Medical Information

Collection of Personal Information

As part of providing social worker services to you, we need to collect and record personal information from you that is relevant to your situation, such as your name, contact information, medical history and other relevant information. This collection of personal information will be a necessary part of the services that are provided.

Viewing Your Accepted Conditions

The following steps will help view the accepted conditions of your DVA white card via the MyGov website.

Step 1:

Go to https://my.gov.au

Sign in to your myGov account using your Username and Password.

You can sign in to myGov using the following:

  • Your username (Your myGov username has 2 letters and 6 numbers. For example XY123456)
  • Your email address used to create your account
  • Your mobile number (if you have enabled this option)

After entering your login details you may be required to provide a one-time access code.

  • A one-time use code is sent by SMS to your mobile phone.

If you do not have a myGov account, you can create one by selecting Create myGov account on the myGov sign-in page.

using the MyGov login page

Step 2:

Once you have logged into your account scroll down until you see the heading ‘Your Services’.

Your Services lists the government programs you access that offer online services through myGov. You should see ‘Department of Veteran Affairs’ listed here.

Select ‘Department of Veteran Affairs’.

If you do not see Department of Veteran Affairs listed you will have to link this service to your account (See the video below).

You can do this by selecting Link another service.

Select the DVA tile

Step 3:

This is your Department of Veterans’ Affairs My Service Home Page.

My Service allows you to access DVA services online such as:

  • Access support for a service-related condition or injury
  • Access your digital DVA Veteran Card
  • Lodge and track the status of your claims

Look in the middle column titled Claims.

Select Accepted Conditions.

Select Accepted Conditions from the Claims Menu

Step 4:

This page shows your digital DVA Veteran Card.

You will see information such as your Card NumberExpiryCard Type and the Conditions listed on your card.

Select the Conditions Listed drop-down menu to view the conditions listed on your card.

Step 5:

Select Print this Page in the top right-hand corner of the page to download your digital DVA Card as a PDF.

Alternatively, if accessing this on your mobile phone you can take a screenshot of this page. Depending on your phone you can:

  • Press the Side button and the Volume up button at the same time (iPhone)
  • Press the Power and Volume Down buttons at the same time


Video on how to log on and link my service: