As an Armed Forces veteran myself, I was very honoured to be asked by a previous Secretary of State for Defence to write a report to improve life for the families of those serving in the Armed Forces. I am pleased to say that almost every recommendation in my ‘Living in our Shoes’ report was accepted by the Government, and I am keeping close track of the implementation of them.
My ministerial colleagues and I also recognise the sacrifices made by the brave men and women who serve in our Armed Forces, which is why this Government has done more for veterans than any of its predecessors.
As you will know, many veterans have access to a number of pension benefits and, in the unfortunate event they face injury when serving, compensation schemes too. War pensions and Pension Credit are both designed to help with day-to-day living costs, however, in recognition of the sacrifices made by members of His Majesty’s forces, £10 per week of any such pension is ignored in the calculation of a Pension Credit award. This is a more favourable approach than to other forms of income, such as a personal pension. Additionally, Local Authorities have discretionary powers to disregard in whole or part of certain war pensions when calculating a person’s entitlement to Housing Benefit.
It is my view, and that of this Government, that the best way to ease cost of living pressures is to tackle inflation. To this end, the Chancellor has put forward a plan to halve inflation this year and lay the foundations for long-term growth to improve living standards for everyone, including veterans and personnel. In addition, all households, including veterans, can access an unprecedented package of support to help with the cost of living, including through the Energy Price Guarantee, cost of living payments and council tax rebate, as applicable to their location and personal circumstances.
Furthermore, I would urge any veteran who may be struggling financially to be in touch with the Veterans Welfare Service, which can assist with benefits checks, completion of application forms and signposting to entitlements and support available from the wider public and voluntary sectors. I understand that one to one advice can be provided by phone or home visit when needed. Financial advice specifically tailored for veterans can also be found at Veterans’ Gateway.
You may also be interested to know that the Defence Discount Service (DDS) provides savings and discounts for members of the Armed Forces, veterans, and defence community.