Our 2020 report explores how disabled veterans experience the social security system and the unique barriers that they face to accessing statutory support.
The report focuses on aspects of the benefits system that most impact disabled veterans’ ability to access and manage benefit claims and statutory support to gain employment, as well the effect this has on their overall health and wellbeing.
Making the benefits system fit for Service
Our work continues...
We are currently working to implement the key recommendations from our 2020 report and ensure that no veteran is disadvantaged when accessing the benefits system.
We will focus on ensuring that veterans are not forced to give up their military compensation to pay for the same support to which their civilian counterparts are entitled. Whilst some benefits rightly disregard military compensation as income, others do not, meaning that some veterans must give up their compensation in order to access essential financial support. We also believe that the Armed Forces Champions network, that currently operates in England and Wales, should be extended to Scotland.
The key aims within our work are:
- The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) should fully disregard all military compensation awards as income in means tests for Pension Credit.
- All military compensation awards should be fully and clearly disregarded in policy for means tests and income assessments for all locally administered benefits and support payments, such as Housing Benefit, Discretionary Housing Payment, and Disabled Facilities Grants.
- Together with our sister charity, Poppyscotland, encourage Social Security Scotland to implement an Armed Forces Champions network, similar to that of DWP.
If you would like to find out more about our campaign or if you have been affected by these issues and would like to share your experience, please do get in touch via our email at email@example.com
Key findings from the 2020 report
- 63% of survey respondents who applied for ESA and 76% of PIP Applicants found completing the form ‘difficult’ or ‘very difficult’.
- Only 8% of respondents claiming ESA and 20% claiming PIP believed the assessor considered their Service Medical Records in assessments.
- Only 30% of Survey Respondents who were unhappy with their initial decision appealed their initial decision.
Overall, the report made 24 recommendations on how to improve the benefits journey for veterans.
The recommendations are aimed at several agencies including the Ministry of Defence and the Department for Work and Pensions.
The main recommendations of the report include:
- MoD, DWP, and SSS, work together to extend and widely implement the data sharing already in place for veterans being medically discharged, to all veterans with compensation who make a claim for disability benefits.
- DWP and SSS should use the most up to date military compensation assessment and report to inform disability benefit assessments, thus reducing the need for multiple and face-to-face assessments
- Compensation and payments awarded for illness, injury as a result of Service should never be treated as normal income. The Government should ensure that injured veterans are not forced to give up compensation payments in order to pay for supporting their civilian counterparts can access.