Consessions for Armed Forces, Veterans and their Families


Benefits in the UK

Veterans, people serving in the Armed Forces and their dependants may be able to claim a range of benefits in the UK. These include:

— Child Benefit
— Statutory Sick Pay
— Armed Forces Independence Payment
— Personal Independence Payment
— Sure Start Maternity Grant
— Jobseekers Allowance
— Tax credits.

You can find more information about benefits for veterans and people serving in the Armed Forces from the GOV.UK website at www.gov.uk

Benefits abroad

If you are a veteran living abroad, or you areserving in the Armed Forces abroad, you and your dependants may still be ableto claim some benefits in the UK. You may be able to claim:

— Maternity Allowance
— Child Benefit
— Employment and Support Allowance
— Jobseekers Allowance (in certain European Union countries only).

If you are refused a benefit you think you should get, you can contact the Royal British Legion for help to appeal. Contact:

Legionline: 08457 725 725 (open Monday to Friday, 10am – 4pm)
Email: info@britishlegion.org.uk
Website: www.britishlegion.org.uk

Armed Forces pensions

If you are claiming a war pension, or a war widow or widower pension and you are moving abroad, you should get advice on your pension.

You can get advice from the Serving Personnel and Veterans Agency. Their contact details are:

Telephone from the UK: 0800 169 22 77
Telephone from abroad: + 44 1 253 866043
Email: veterans.help@spva.gsi.go v.uk

Help with school fees and childcare costs

If you are currently serving in the Armed Forces, you may be able to claim an allowance to help pay for your child's boarding school fees.You can get more information from the Children's Education Advisory Service. Their contact details are:

Helpline: 01980 618244 (8.30am - 3.30pm Monday to Friday)
Email: enquiries@ceas.detsa.co.u k.

You can buy childcare vouchers to pay for the care of your child. As these are free from tax and national insurance, you can make big savings on the cost of childcare. If you register for the Armed Forces childcare voucher scheme the cost of the vouchers is taken from your pay every month. The vouchers can be used to pay for nursery care, summer camps for teenagers, boarding school fees and many other childcare costs.

You can find more information and application forms on childcare and school fees on the Ministry of Defence Childcare website at: www.modchildcare.co.uk


Access to health services

If you live in England, Scotland and Wales you should receive priority access to NHS secondary care for any conditions which are likely to be related to your service, subject to the clinical needs of all patients.

There are currently no arrangements in place with the health authorities in Northern Ireland. Their aim is that all patients should have access to treatment within a reasonable timescale.

The Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA) can help pay your travelling expenses when you go to hospital for treatment for the accepted conditions for which you receive a war pension for so please ensure to check your entitlement with the SPVA.

Help with NHS Charges

If you are a War Pensioner living in the UK you should be supplied with any aids, appliances or home nursing equipment certified to be necessary for the treatment or control of your accepted disablement by the NHS or Social Services. If you need an artificial limb, the hospital will normally send you to a limb-fitting centre who will supply the limb under the NHS. SPVA can only pay for artificial limbs in very special circumstances so please check to see if you are entitled to extra help with cost from Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA).

There is a prescription charge for some items and this is payable before the item can be ordered. As a war pensioner you are exempt from NHS prescription charges for your accepted disablement. An up-to-date prescription-exemption certificate can be issued if required by Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA).

SPVA can only consider payment for necessary, medically-approved items if you would otherwise have to pay them yourself.

Private treatment

SPVA only consider claims for private treatment where the treatment is NOT provided by the NHS, is essential and the need arises wholly or mainly from the pensioned disablement. You must ensure that you get prior approval from SPVA before you incur any costs for private treatment.

Provision of Treatment for those War Pensioners Residing Overseas

If you do not live in the UK, you may be able to get financial help with the cost of treatment required for your accepted disablement. Ensure that you get in touch with your Overseas Pensions Agent, or SPVA before getting any treatment.

Prescription exemption certificates

If you are awarded a War Pension and you are under 60 the SPVA can send you a certificate to exempt you from NHS prescription charges for any condition that has an assessable degree of disablement.

The certificate allows exemption from prescription charges providing the prescribed medication, aids, appliances or equipment are required for your accepted disablements.

If you have paid prescription charges for your accepted disablement between the date of your claim and the date of your award of war pension the SPVA can consider a refund so please ensure you check with the SPVA.

You don’t have to pay for NHS prescriptions when you reach the age of 60.

If you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland prescriptions are free.

Dental Treatment

If you have dental treatment or dentures through the NHS you will have to pay the Statutory NHS Charge to the dentist. However, if the treatment is for your Accepted Disablement the SPVA can consider reimbursement of the NHS charge.


If you need glasses because of your Accepted Disablement the SPVA can consider reimbursing the fees for your sight tests and the value of the appropriate NHS spectacle voucher.

Hearing Aids

In the UK, the supply of hearing aids is the responsibility of the NHS. The NHS can provide a hearing aid for all hearing impairments. The SPVA will not pay for hearing aids.


Convalescent holidays may be approved by SPVA if your accepted disablement stops you from taking a normal holiday in a hotel or boarding house when accompanied by your usual carer. This is normally limited to four weeks in a period of 12 months.Breaks are usually taken in a registered nursing home.

The Royal British Legion also provides holidays for those who are recovering from an illness, bereavement or other life affecting event at break centres around the country.

Treatment Allowance

Treatment Allowance is paid at 100 per cent pension rate instead of your normal war pension. You may be entitled to this if you are having medical, surgical or rehabilitative treatment in hospital or at home for the condition(s) you are paid a pension. It will only be paid if the treatment will help you get better, you lose some of your earnings as a result of your treatment, and it is the treatment and not the condition(s) that stop you working for eight days or more.

Part-time Treatment Allowance

This allowance is the same as for Treatment Allowance and is paid in addition to your basic pension and is limited to the loss incurred. It is also subject to a daily ceiling rate. You may be entitled if your treatment, not your disability stops you working for less than eight days but you still lose money.


Remembrance Travel

The Royal British Legion’s Poppy Travel organises visits to cemeteries, battlefields and memorials across the world. Details of future tours can be found on the website at www.poppytravel.org.uk

Financial help from the Government is available to war widows and widowers who wish to visit their spouse’s grave or war memorial. This only applies to those who lost a husband or wife overseas before 1967.

For more details, contact Poppy Travel: 01622 716 729

Free travel in London

If you receive a war pension or Guaranteed Income Payment GIP under the AFCS you can apply for a Veteran’s Oyster photocard. This allows you to travel free at any time in London on the bus, underground, Docklands Light Railway, tram and London Overground services. You can also travel free on most National Rail services in London after 9.30am on weekdays and all day at weekends and on public holidays. Veterans Oyster Card - Transport for London (TFL)

Blue Badge Scheme

If you are a disabled veteran you may be eligible for the Blue Badge Scheme which allows you to park on the road in designated disabled bays as well as in places not normally available for parking. You are eligible to apply for a Blue Badge if:

— you are paid War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement, or
— you are receiving a Guaranteed Income Payment from tariff 1 – 8 inclusive and you have been assessed as having a permanent and substantial disability which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty with walking. You should contact your local council about the scheme in your area. Find out more on the Gov.uk Website

Bus travel in Scotland

A National Entitlement Card entitles you to free bus travel anywhere in Scotland. If you have mobility problems, you can apply for a National Entitlement Card if:

— you have received a lump sum payment under the Armed Forces Compensation scheme, or
— you receive War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement.

National Entitlement Card - Transport Scotland

Bus travel in Wales

If you have mobility problems, you can apply for a Disabled Person’s Bus Pass with which you can travel free of charge on almost all local bus services throughout Wales. You can also travel to and from towns just over the border in England, providing there is no change of bus involved. You can apply for a Disabled Person’s Bus Pass if:

— you have received a lump sum payment under the Armed Forces Compensation scheme, or
— you receive War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement.

Concessionary bus fares for the elderly and disabled -Welsh Government

Forces Railcard

People serving in the Armed Forces, husbands, wives and dependent children can buy the HM Forces Railcard. This gives you 1/3 off most rail fares throughout the UK for a year.

War widows or widowers and their dependants who are getting an Armed Forces pension are also eligible for a Railcard.

You can find more information about the Forces Railcard, including how much it costs and the savings you can make, on the HM Forces Railcard website at: www.hmforces-railcard.co.uk

If you are a war widow or widower you can apply for a Railcard through the Royal British Legion. Contact:

Legionline: 08457 725 725 (open Monday to Friday, 10am – 4pm)
Email: info@britishlegion.org.uk
Website: www.britishlegion.org.uk

Motability scheme

Motability is an independent charity set up to help people with disabilities use their mobility benefits to either buy or lease a car, powered wheelchair or mobility scooter. To qualify for the scheme, you must be receiving:

— War Pensioner’s Mobility supplement, or
— Armed Forces Independance Payment, or
— higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance, or
— enhanced rate of mobility component of Personal Independence Payment

To use the scheme, your mobility benefit must have at least 12 months still to run. The Department of Work and Pensions will pay Motability direct from your entitlement allowance. For more information on the scheme, contact Motability Operations, City Gate House, 22 Southwark Bridge Road, London SE1 9HB; telephone 0845 456 4566; Minicom (textphone) 0845 675 0009 or look at the Motability Website for more information.


If your injuries as a War Pensioner mean that you have to adapt your home to make life easier for you, there is financial support available. There are numerous service charities that may also be able to offer financial assistance.

Getting a Care Needs Assessment

If you need support with daily living because you're disabled, elderly, or you have a long-term health condition, then you have the right to an assessment by your local authority.

If you haven’t already done so, contact your local social services department via your local council to arrange to have an Occupational Therapist assess your needs.

— Apply to your Local Councils social services department for a care needs assessment.
— In Northern Ireland, assessments are carried out by your local trust. You can find the trust nearest to you by searching on the nidirect website.

Major or Minor Adaptations

The financial help that is available depends on whether the adaptations you need to make to your home are minor or major.

— Minor adaptations would include, for example, fitting lever taps in the kitchen, or hand rails around the home.
— Major adaptations could include, for example, installing a downstairs shower room, widening doorways, or lowering the work tops in your kitchen.

Minor Adaptations and Equipment - What Help is Available?

If you Live in England

Your local authority in England will normally provide you with disability equipment and small adaptations costing less than £1,000 free of charge, as long as you’ve been assessed as needing it and you are eligible.

If you Live in Wales

You may have to pay towards disability equipment and minor adaptations but the amount you’re asked to pay must be reasonable and based on your financial circumstances.

If you Live in Scotland

Your local council in Scotland will normally provide you with essential equipment or adaptations costing less than £1,500 free of charge.

If you Live in Northern Ireland

Your local trust will decide whether they will fund the equipment or minor adaptation or whether you’ll have to pay for it yourself.

Funding Major Adaptations – The Disabled Facilities Grant

If you require major adaptations to make your home accessible you will normally have to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant. These are paid by your local authority (or Local Housing Executive if you live in Northern Ireland).

Are you Eligible for a Disabled Facilities Grant?

You can apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant if your local authority is satisfied that the work you’re having done is necessary and appropriate for your needs.This usually involves an assessment by an occupational therapist.

The grants are means-tested (unless you’re applying for a disabled child under theage of 17), so the local authority will take into account any income and savings that you and your partner have. The Royal British Legion can help you with an application for the grant.

How much can you get?

The maximum amount you can get for a Disabled Facilities Grant depends on where in the UK you live.

Maximum Disabled Facilities Grant Payable

England £30,000

Wales £36,000

Scotland The amount you get varies depending on your Local Council.

Northern Ireland £25,000

How to claim a Disabled Facilities Grant

Find out How to Claim a Disabled Facilities Grant on the Gov.uk website.

Find out more about Disabled Facilities Grants in Northern Ireland on the nidirect - Disabled Facilities Grant website.

Help from your Local Home Improvement Agency

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to getting funding, planning the work and employing trades people, Home Improvement Agencies can ease a lot of the worry.

They can help in a variety of ways including:

— Visiting your home and providing advice
— Getting quotes
— Drawing up plans for the work
— Checking what financial help you may be eligible for.

They also publish a list of trusted trades people on their website.

For more information, including how to find your local Home Improvement Agency, please see the Foundations website.

Housing Executive Grants - in Northern Ireland

If you live in Northern Ireland, there are a number of grants available to improve or adapt your home. Check the Housing Executive website for details of the grant funding available.

Funding Repairs, Improvements and Adaptations

Significant improvements can be costly but help is available from a variety of sources. Service charities can also provide financial assistance towards adapting your own home or vehicle on a case by case basis.

Ministry of Defence (MOD) Assistance

If you live in Service Family Accommodation (SFA) or Single Living Accommodation (SLA), the MOD will adapt your home for you or a member of your family. Many units already have adapted accommodation. You should contact your Commanding Officer (CO) or unit Human Resources (HR) in the first instance.

If you live in your own home, you may be able to get help from the MOD's Works Requirement Team. The MOD will pay for essential work needed under medical and clinical needs and which are required to meet building regulations standards under the Disability Discrimination Act. The team is notified of someone who needs help to adapt his or her home by the Personnel Recovery Unit. A home visit is then organised with the DIO requirements team, the injured person, a local surveyor and an occupational therapist. Then a requirements document is produced which is put out to contractors to tender for the work.

The work deemed essential is paid for out of the Net Additional Cost of Military Operations (NACMO) Fund, while work deemed desirable will be met by yourself or charities.


The Royal British Legion gives grants to eligible clients for mobility aids, adaptations and equipment, which include the following:

— Accessibility fixtures and fittings eg hand or grab rails, door widening, ramps, external hard surfaces, including drop kerbs and steps and indoor fittings such as sockets, door entry systems, security fixtures and lighting
— Shower and bathroom adaptations to aid mobility, including ramped access to existing showers
— Mobility equipment, such as wheelchairs, Zimmer frames, manual and electric bath hoists and lifts, riser/recliners, stairlifts, electric profiling beds
— The clients contribution to a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG), subject to the Legion’s financial assessment criteria
— Client’s who own their own home, and who meet the equity requirements, may be offered a Property Repair Loan
— Home adaptations to allow access and egress from the client’s property for an Electronically Powered Vehicle which they have supplied
— Small jobs up to the value of £300 provided by their Poppy Calls service

If you are receivinga war pension you may be able to get a one-off House Adaptation Grant of up to £750 from the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA). This is to make a contribution towards the cost of adapting a home where the need for such an adaptation arises wholly or mainly from the accepted disablement. The grant can be issued if you cannot get help from another source such as social services. You must get approval from SPVA the before any costs are incurred or work started. Contact them on 0800 169 1277.

Find out if any of the other Service charities are able to help too - see Who else can help? on The Royal British Legion website.

Claim VAT Relief

If you’re disabled, any building work you do to adapt your home may be zero-rated for VAT. Find out more about VAT Exemptions on Building Work - HMRC on HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) website.

Council Tax Reduction

If the adaptations you are having done to your home push your property into a higher Council Tax band, you might be entitled to a discount on your Council Tax. This is called the ‘Disabled Band Reduction Scheme’. Please contact your LocalCouncils to apply for the scheme.

Council Tax Relief – (Serving Armed Forces Personnel - Abroad Only)

You may be able to get a tax-free relief payment for your council tax or contributions you pay instead of council tax. You may be able to get a relief payment if you are serving abroad in the Armed Forces and pay:

— council tax on a property in the UK, or
— contributions instead of council tax for service family accommodation

Payments are issued at the end of your time abroad. They are based on the number of days served abroad.

If you have served tours in Afghanistan and Iraq you should receive payments covering any period of service abroad since 1 October 2007.

If you were deployed in the following locations from 1 February 2008, you should receive payments covering any period of service abroad:

— Bahrain — Bosnia — British Forces South Atlantic Islands — Diego Garcia
— Kosovo — Kuwait — Oman — Qatar
— Royal Navy Ships in receipt of DeploymentWelfare Package (Overseas) — United Nations Operations

If you were deployed in Libya from 1July 2011, you should receive payments covering any period of service abroad..


Grants can be provided by The Royal British Legion to buy and repair an Electrically Powered Vehicle (EPV) if you cannot get help from statutory sources. EPVs bought by the Legion remain the property of the Legion at all times and are given to you on loan.

The Legion can also provide home adaptations to allow access to your property for an EPV that they have provided.

The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund (RAFBF) administers its own scheme for the provision of EPVs to the Royal Air Force (RAF) community as well as providing other financial assistance.

The Royal British Legion also provides advice and support for you and your family in:

— claiming benefits and war pensions,
— dealing with creditors and unmanageable debt
— the independent inquest tribunal process
— small jobs around the home
— providing breaks for families, teens, carers and those being cared for, and
— giving grants for immediate needs for those in financial difficulty.

Anyone who has received seven days’ pay in the Armed Forces is entitled to apply for help from the Legion. Their dependants and carers are also eligible to apply for assistance.


Service Personnel and Veterans Agency

The Service Personnel and Veterans Agency, which is an Agency of the Ministry of Defence (MOD), is the sole Government-funded source of help and advice for veterans. Its website has a lot of useful information for veterans and their families, including on welfare support and other specialist support programmes that are available to veterans. It also provides links to many other veterans organisations.

The Agency also runs a free helpline for veterans, which gives advice on many topics.

The contact details of the Agency are:

Service Personnel and Veterans Agency
Room 8102
Thornton Cleveleys

Veterans Helpline: 0800 169 2277
Bereavement and textphone line: 0800 169 3458
Email: veterans.help@spva.gsi.gov.uk
Website: www.veterans-uk.info

The Cinema Exhibitors' Association Card Cinema ExhibitorsAssociation Website

To apply for the card you will need to submit proof to show that you meet one or more of the following criteria:

a) Be in receipt of Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, or Armed Forces Independence Payment.

b) Be a registered blind person.

You will also need to supply a passport-sized photo with your application to appear on the card.

A processing fee of £5.50 is chargeable per card. This is to be sent along with the completed application.

Printed application forms are available from cinemas across the UK supporting this card.

You can download an applicationform to print out and fill in.

Please note they are unable to provide Application Forms by post so you must download the application form from there website

Defence Discount Service Defence Discount Service Website

The Defence Discount Service was launched as part of the nation’s recognition and appreciation of the Armed Forces Community.

The Defence Discount Service gives members of the Armed Forces Community discounts both online and on the high street. The Membership Card is a physical card that members of the Armed Forces Community can take into stores, restaurants and venues in order to obtain a discount.

The Defence Discount Service is available to the following eligible members:

— Serving Armed Forces
— Reserve Forces
— Veterans
— Service Family Members
— MOD Civil Servants
— Cadet Forces (over 16)
— NATO Personnel serving in the UK

The Defence Privilege Card cost £4.99 for 5 years.

Forcesline Forcesline weblink - (MOD)

Forcesline offers 100% confidential, non-judgemental guidance on all personal and welfare issues including sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying, racism, drugs, depression, alcohol, debt, relationship counselling and suicide to the Army community from anywhere in the world. It is completely independent of the military chain of command.

Any vulnerable soldier or family member phoning, writing or emailing the trained civilian support staff of Forcesline receives guidance as to what their options are. The soldier or family member must then make their own decision as to how to progress the issues raised.

Forcesline is a free service that is operated by the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) Forces Help.

The line is available from Monday to Friday, including Bank holidays from 1030hrs to 1930hrs (UK time) and can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

From UK: 0800731 4880

From Germany: 0800 1827 395

From Cyprus: 800 91065

Most other op theatres: Use the Paradigm 'Homelink' service; enter '*201' at the pin prompt - call time is unlimited

Rest of the World: Phone 44 [0] 1980 630854 and the support staff will phone you back.

Service personnel who are absent without leave (AWOL) can now speak in complete confidence to the SSAFA AWOL Support Line Worker.

The line is manned 9.00 - 10.00am Monday to Friday with an answering machine for call back outside these times.

Tel: 01380738137

Service Complaints Commissioner for the Armed Forces

The new post of Service Complaints Commissioner was created by the Armed Forces Act 2006 with a remit which covers any complaint made after 1 January 2008. It follows recommendations made by Nicholas Blake QC in his Review into the death sof four soldiers at Princess Royal Barracks, Deepcut.

The Act introduced a number of significant changes to the Service complaints system to make it fairer, more independent and more transparent. As well as the Service Complaints Commissioner, these include new joint standards for the three Services and a new Service Complaints Panel, with an independent member to consider some complaints on behalf of the Defence Council. Service Complaints Commissioner for the Armed Forces Link

MOD - Armed Forces Redundancy Calculator MOD - Armed ForcesRedundancy Calculator link

War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation Tribunal War Pension and Armed Forces Compensation Tribunal link

Armed Forces Pensions- Equiniti Paymaster Armed Forces Pensions - Equiniti Paymaster link

Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP) Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP) link

Consumer Action Group – Armed Forces, Families and Veterans Link Consumer Action Group – Armed Forces, Families and Veterans Link

Consumer Action Group Consumer Action Group (CAG) link

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