What financial support is available to me?
Seeking financial advice
If you are struggling to plan or manage your finances there are a number of organisations who can provide help.
The MoD have put together “Financial top tips for service personnel” which can be found here.
There are several charities who can provide advice to you on a personal basis or refer you to local services that can help:
- The Royal British Legion offer financial advice and support to current and former-service people. They offer a range of grants to cover accommodation costs, household items or funeral costs.
- SSAFA supports veterans who are struggling financially and can provide details of qualified debt advisors.
Credit scores in the force
Some serving personnel and their families find it difficult to obtain credit because their credit scores have been impacted by having to regularly change address during their time in the forces.
More information and help regarding this issue can be found at Armed Forces Credit Union.
Other sources for financial information and support:
Throughout your time in the forces, you have probably been contributing to your pension. When you leave the forces, you might be entitled to receive your pension immediately. Alternatively, your entitlement might be deferred.
This depends on factors such as how long you have served for, and the circumstances in which you are leaving the forces (for example, those who are medically discharged might be entitled to their pension immediately).
Financial aid and assistance
You may not have found a new job in Civvy Street by the time you leave the forces (take a look at our Employment section within the hub), or the job which you have found doesn’t offer the same income or benefits that you had in the forces. Subsidised accommodation is a key benefit which you lose when you leave the forces, and having to pay for this directly could have a huge impact on your monthly bills. You may want to take some financial advice to help you with budgeting for all these expenses.
You may need help if you are unable to work, or limited in the work you can do, because of an injury. You should seek advice about what state benefits you might be entitled to.
The MOD's Pension Scheme
If you have served in the armed forces you will have an entitlement to a pension provided you have served at least two years.
There are a number of different armed forces pension schemes. Which scheme you belong to will depend on the date on which you joined. You may have pension entitlements under different schemes.
You can find details of all of the various schemes here.
If you joined after 1st April 2015 you will have entitlement to a pension under the Armed Forces Pension Scheme 2015 (AFPS 15). If you joined before this date but after 6th April 2005 you will have had an entitlement under the 2005 scheme but also under the new scheme.
Pension entitlement under AFPS 15
Under AFPS 15, your pension is calculated according to your average earnings over your career.
Your age and the amount of paid service you have completed will determine the point at which you are entitled to benefits.
If you leave at age 60 or over you will be entitled to an immediate pension.
If you leave before the age of 60 you will be entitled to a deferred pension once you reach state pension age.
You might also be eligible for:
- Early Departure Payment
- Ill-health pension
- Resettlement Grant
Further details can be found here.
The armed forces pension calculator
You may be eligible for an armed forces pension if you’re a current or former member of the armed forces.
You can use the armed forces pension calculator to work out how much you might get:
Where can I get advice?
The Armed Forces Pension Scheme is run by Veterans UK. You can find more details here.
The Royal British Legion can give advice on pensions. You can find more details on their website.
Disability and employment benefits advice
There are a number of organisations who can provide advice and support if you need to claim employment or disability benefits. Every individual’s entitlement will be different and depend on their exact circumstances. The rules change regularly so it is best to get advice at the time you need it, to make sure the current rules and your position are taken in to account. You can check what benefits you may be entitled to on the government website.
Your local council may have a welfare rights adviser who can talk you through your eligibility for any available benefits and explain how to make a claim. You can find details for your local council by searching here.
Citizens Advice are a helpful source of information about benefits and tax credits. You can find specific information about the benefits and concessions that are available to serving personnel and veterans on their website.
The SSAFA and The Royal British Legion can also provide advice and assistance with claiming benefits.