The Royal British Legion has launched a ‘Credit Their Service’ campaign calling for military compensation to stop being counted as income in benefits means tests.
This includes local benefits paid out by councils such as Housing Benefit, Council Tax Support, Discretionary Housing Payments and Disabled Facilities Grants. Currently 4 out of every 5 councils treat military compensation as income when calculating local benefits.
A template Council Motion from the RBL, calling on your council to discount military compensation from local benefits calculation, is below.
This can be used alongside this ALDC Campaign Pack that includes a template Focus Article and Press Release that you can use to draw attention to your campaign and council motion.
The council notes;
- The obligations it owes to the Armed Forces community within [INSERT LOCAL AUTHORITY AREA HERE] as enshrined in the Armed Forces Covenant; that the Armed Forces community should not face disadvantage in the provision of services and that special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given the most.
- [INSTER LOCAL AUTHORITY NAME], along with all other local authorities in Great Britain, has proudly signed the Armed Forces Covenant.
- That in the course of their service in His Majesty’s Armed Forces, some members of the Armed Forces Community, by virtue of the often dangerous and risky nature of their work, or environments in which they are required to operate, become wounded, injured or sick in such a way that affects their life in a permanent or significant way.
- That a number of military compensation schemes exist to recognise and compensate Service Personnel and sometimes their families, for the hardship, inconvenience or ongoing impact conditions such as PTSD, limb loss, hearing loss etc.
- Military compensation can be awarded through the War Pension Scheme (WPS), Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) or through a veteran’s occupational Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS), known as Service Invaliding Pensions (SIPs) or Service Attributable Pensions (SAPs). Compensation awards under these schemes may also include supplementary payments. This compensation often interacts with benefits issued through Local Authorities and may impact a veteran’s entitlement to such benefits.
- That whilst some benefits such as Universal Credit rightly disregard military compensation as income, others administered by or subject to the discretion of Local Authorities, do not always do so, meaning that some veterans must give up their compensation in order to access essential financial support.
- A 2022 Freedom of Information request by the Royal British Legion showed that only one in five (19%) of Local Authorities in Great Britain rightly disregarded all military compensation when assessing local benefits claims for Housing Benefit, Council Tax Support, Discretionary Housing Payments and Disabled Facilities Grants.
In light of the above, this council resolves;
- That no member of the Armed Forces Community should be forced to give up their military compensation to access the same welfare support as their civilian counterparts.
- That all compensation paid under any of the relevant military compensation schemes should be treated as such and not regarded as income when the Local Authority assesses applications for benefits over which they exercise discretion: Council Tax Support scheme, Housing Benefit, Discretionary Housing Payments and Disabled Facilities Grants. Rather it should be treated as intended, as a compensatory payment made in recognition of the often significant and life changing service or sacrifice an individual has made in the course of their service in our nation’s Armed Forces.
- To support the Royal British Legion’s call for all forms of military compensation to be disregarded as income in the assessment and administration of locally administered benefits over which this council exercises discretion.
- To ask the relevant cabinet member/committee chair/senior officer [DELETE AS APPROPRIATE] to amending relevant local policies to reflect such a position,.
- For a relevant cabinet member to update members on this work, reporting back to an appropriate meeting or committee of this Council.
Contact the Royal British Legion If you have any questions about this work, please contact us at: email@example.com