25 February 2015
Injured Armed Forces Veterans Fight for Their Pensions
The Royal British Legion has launched a campaign to defend the compensation given to armed forces personnel injured in military service.
They have discovered that many armed forces personnel injured during military service have to give up most of their War Disablement Pension to pay for their social care.
For example, Keith Clarke from Carbook in Norfolk was injured in 2000 whilst serving in the Royal Navy. He fell through a hatch whilst tackling a fire on a submarine which left him in a wheelchair and requiring the support of carers.
Keith was awarded a War Disablement Pension as a form of compensation for the Spinal Injuries he sustained as he was injured in service prior to 5th April 2005, at a rate of around £900 a month. However he now has to pay £400 a month towards the carers who look after him.
Many local authorities in the UK treat war pensions as income and as such it can be taken into account when the financial means assessment criteria for entitlement to local authority support are applied.
This now means that Keith must use his War Pension to pay for care whereas in direct comparison, service personnel injured after 5th April 2005 who receive a payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme do not as it is not classed as income. This means that military personnel injured prior to 5 April 2005 lose their compensation to pay for care, whilst those injured after this date do not.
Social care provision is means tested so that in the case of Keith Clarke, Norfolk County Council assessed his War Disablement Pension as an income and charged him for care.
Keith is backing the campaign launched by the Royal British Legion called Insult to Injury, asking the UK Government to change the guidelines and to protect war veterans’ pensions. The Government’s current line is that it is inappropriate to compare the benefits payable under the War Pension Scheme and the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme as they are “very different” schemes.
It would appear that there is somewhat of a postcode lottery on social care with armed forces veterans in one area being assessed differently to a comparable veteran in another. There does need to be a review of the approach which should be taken towards means assessments and War Pensions. I very much welcome the Royal British Legion highlighting this inequality and fully support their Insult to Injury Campaign.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers offer a free consultation for armed forces personnel injured during military service. 98% of claims are funded through a No Win, No Fee Agreement which means there is no financial risk to you. Call freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to help you.
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