June 2021

Unclaimed Military Pensions

A recent quarterly Veterans UK update talked about the number of unclaimed military pensions out there.  Veterans UK recently carried out an exercise to trace those that may be entitled to a forces pension. They wrote to 13,000 individuals and had 5,000 responses with 3,000 of them being given a payment. This is quite a large issue that I suppose is in part caused by people moving between leaving service and reaching a pension age or just veterans being unaware.   Most claims that come in will probably be backdated, It is estimated that around £23M in pension payments and a further £20M in pension lump sums is owed. Most of the time, if you are a veteran when you reach pension age, you will need to apply for your pension for it to be paid.  You can submit your claim for your preserved pension around 3 months prior to reaching you pension age.  This is aged 60 for AFPS75, 65 for AFPS05 and State Pension age for AFPS15.  To do this you need to fill in AFPS Form 8, which you can find by searching on www.gov.uk, if you need support ring the JPAC enquiry line on 0800 085 3600.  A bit more detail on the issue is provided here:

https://support.veteransgateway.org.uk/app/answers/detail/a_id/395/~/unclaimed-service-pensions#:~:text=If%20you%20served%20in%20the,are%20payable%20at%20age%2060.

NHS Veterans Heath Care

Attached is a link to an update/ reminder of what services the NHS provide for veterans, a useful document and one to keep hold of in case a fellow veteran needs support.   Link

Immigration Survey

A story that has hit the news over the last year is the issues of whether visa fees should be charged to service personnel who are citizens of other countries. Under present rules, these veterans/service personnel must pay almost £2,400 to secure the documentation granting them indefinite leave to remain.  It means that someone with a partner and two children could face a bill of almost £10,000 to stay in Britain. Last week a public consultation was launched on this, details are here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/consultation-launched-to-waive-visa-fees-for-non-uk-military-personnel

The consultation is here, it is only open until 07 July:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/immigration-fees-public-consultation

The Royal British Legion 100

It might not have escaped your attention but The Royal British Legion has recently celebrated its centenary. The RBL has a special place in most veterans hearts, here details of their centenary legacy.  Do scroll down to the video at the bottom of the page.  It is really enlightening to hear how veterans’ healthcare has helped shape the NHS and the Equality Act in the UK:

https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/about-us/our-centenary#:~:text=For%20100%20years%20the%20Royal,another%20100%20years%20and%20beyond.

Some of you may recognise the video is narrated by Dr Dave Henson MBE.  Former RE Captain, Invictus Games and Olympic Games medallist, PHD focusing on amputee biomechanics for the improvement of prosthetic limbs, Help for Heroes and RBL ambassador and an MBE. 

Royal Navy Health and Wellbeing Website

The Senior Service have launched a series of videos on their Health and Wellbeing website. If you scroll down to the bottom of the link there are some ‘calming’ videos of the sea, including the back wash from a ship.

https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/community-and-support/advice-and-support/health-and-wellbeing#:~:text=The%20Royal%20Navy%20provides%20free,Support%20Team%20for%20more%20information.

Former and Current Service Personnel Taking Their Own Lives

Sadly, over the last two weeks around six former and servicing personnel have taken their own lives. This is tragic and our thoughts and hopes go out to the families and friends that may have been affected by these events.  Attached is a letter that the General Patrick Saunders wrote very recently to the Rifles family that has appeared on many social media channels. For some of you served in the Rifles and this letter may be a little bit close to the bone for some, the letter is included  because General Saunders makes a good point.  There is no single solution to this problem, it is a mixture of support that may be required. 

Armed Forces Week and Day (AFW/AFD)

Next month is Armed Forces Week and Day.  Did you know that originally AFD was aimed purely at veterans, but its remit rapidly expanded?  Armed Forces Week takes place 22-26 June 2021 and it is a time to recognise the strengths and skills of our Forces personnel. With Armed Forces Day being Saturday 26 June.  There is a national website here that tells you more details:

https://www.armedforcesday.org.uk/

Sadly this website still has some details from last year, but with COVID19 that is to be expected and I fear the events this year will also be restricted, Scarborough will still be the focus as a national event.