Our Benefits and Money Advice team provide a range of support, from specialist compensation advice to help with debt and emergency situations.
Sabine Isaac has worked in the team as a Benefits, Money and Debt Advisor for just over a year, having previously worked as a benefits advisor for a housing trust.
“It’s important to take a step back and listen to their story because everyone is different.”
“The job has opened my eyes,” she says.
“You have preconceived ideas of the military and ex-military, but they're just people often with really troublesome history.
“And it’s a privilege to be working with them, listening to their stories and helping them.”
Working with veterans who experience a range of financial difficulties, advisers know how complex life in the Armed Forces can be and the unique challenges that can lead to financial problems.
“Often benefits and debt go hand in hand because debts are more likely to occur when people are living on very low income,” says Sabine.
“And if they have got mental health issues they're not able to engage with the DWP the way they should and so they're sanctioned and their benefits stop.”
“We could pick up the case at any stage – if they've had a sudden drop in income, or if benefits have stopped,” explains Sabine.
“They might come to me much further down the line because they haven't realised the help we can provide.
“But they didn't have a clue the Legion were able to offer that level of support. If I could have helped them initially maybe it wouldn't have got to that stage.
How The Legion Helps
At least once a week Sabine represents people at tribunals regarding decisions on benefits such as Personal Independence Payments (PIP) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA).
“The fact it gets to appeal is a traumatic time for people and it’s a lot of hard work for us to pick up the pieces and try and secure a successful outcome.
“Sometimes the outcome isn't what they wanted but we give them maybe a different option or suggest they have a review with their war pension.
“There's often things people have not thought or known about and I can point them to a colleague in a different department who might be able to support them.”
As well as financial difficulties, people seeking help are often suffering from other issues as well.
“The most common are mental health issues such as PTSD,” says Sabine.
“But also physical conditions which can exacerbate the mental health side – it’s often the two in conjunction.”
Because of this, advisors take a holistic approach, recognising that every individual case is different.
“It’s important to take a step back and listen to their story because everyone is different,” says Sabine.
“Everyone has reacted differently to what they've seen, so we try to understand from their perspective what they want and how they're going to be able to cope with things.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE LEGION’S SERVICES
From supporting veterans and their families through debt and emergency situations, to helping them set up a new home and access benefits, The Royal British Legion is here for financial advice.