Campaign Pack: Fair Access to Benefits for Veterans (2023 Update)

Under the Armed Forces Covenant, Local Authorities have a duty to ensure the Armed Forces community do not face disadvantage in the provision of services.

However many Armed Forces veterans who have been awarded military compensation for injury, trauma and hardship caused in the line of their service find that this compensation interacts with other benefits and can affect their entitlement to discretionary payments provided by Local Councils – such as Council Tax Support, Discretionary Housing Payments and Disabled Facilities Grants in England and Wales, and the Scottish Welfare Fund in Scotland.

Most national benefits – such as Universal Credit – disregard military compensation as income when assessing entitlement to benefits. However many Council’s operate differently.

The Royal British Legion has produced a spreadsheet showing how each Local Authority performs in terms of exempting military compensation for each local benefit it awards (based on FOI requests).

RBL has also produced a more general spreadsheet for each constituency in England and Wales based on the 2021 Census – which has very useful information about the number of veterans living in the area and how many of them receive military compensation.

You can use this data to provide local statistics for your area.

For instance if you are campaigning Durham you can calculate that 3497 veterans live in the city of whom 1323 receive some form of compensation related to their service. However the Council takes this compensation into account when means testing Discretionary Housing Payments.

ALDC has produced some campaign materials to help you investigate this issue on your Council – and fight for fairer access to benefits for armed forces veterans. Please use the local data in the tables above to localise your materials.

You can find out more about the Royal British Legion’s campaign to ‘Make the Benefits System Fit for Service’ here.

We would love to hear how you are using these resources in your local area. Please let us know if you have moved a motion, asked a portfolio holder question or used the Council in any other way to fight for fairer access to benefits for veterans. Please email us here.

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