Insult to injury

The Royal British Legion should be praised for its latest campaign Insult to Injury in which it is highlighting the fact that thousands of injured veterans are having to pay for their own social care, contrary to the Military Covenant.

Veterans who were injured in Service before 6 April 2005 receive a War Disablement Pension, and are known as War Pensioners. Should a War Pensioner have social care needs, they will routinely find that the local authority will take most of their War Pension to cover the cost of that essential care. It is important to note that a War Disablement Pension is not “compensation”, as has been reported. Neither is it called compensation. Rather, it is like an industrial disablement pension but which unfortunately, like any such pension, falls within means testing for state benefits and local authority care and assistance. There would need to be a change in legislation to prevent this. A veteran who was injured on or after 6 April 2005 and therefore receives money through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) will face the same problems.

We agree with the Royal British Legion that it is unfair that War Pensioners are using their pension to pay for their social care. The Military Covenant states that Service personnel, veterans and their families should face no disadvantage as a result of Service. It is therefore imperative that all War Pensions and AFCS awards are ring fenced by the government, as happens in claims for compensation through the courts. The money given to the wounded Veteran should automatically be placed in a Trust, for the sole benefit of the Veteran. We hope that someone sits up and listens after this year’s general election.

Grant Evatt