Making the benefits system fit for Service

Injured veterans are struggling to access the benefits they need. Together with the Royal British Legion, we have published a new report which makes a series of recommendations to the Scottish and UK Governments aimed at improving the way in which the Social Security system supports disabled veterans.

The report explores how disabled veterans experience the social security system and the unique barriers that they face to accessing statutory support.

Our key findings include:

  • 63% of survey respondents who applied for ESA and 76% of PIP Applicants found completing the form ‘difficult’ or ‘very difficult’.
  • Only 8% of respondents claiming ESA and 20% claiming PIP believed the assessor considered their Service Medical Records in assessments. 
  • Only 30% of Survey Respondents who were unhappy with their initial decision appealed their initial decision. 
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Poppyscotland Chief Executive Mark Collins said: “The report highlights that injured veterans often struggle to access benefits because the system doesn’t understand their needs or time in service.  Too many face challenges accessing the essential financial support that they need and deserve.”

Overall, the report made 24 recommendations on how to improve the benefits journey for veterans. The recommendations are aimed at several agencies including the Ministry of Defence and the Department for Work and Pensions. The main recommendations of the report include: 

  • MoD, DWP and SSS, work together to extend and widely implement the data sharing already in place for veterans being medically discharged, to all veterans with compensation who make a claim for disability benefits.
  • DWP and SSS should use the most up to date military compensation assessment and report to inform disability benefit assessments, thus reducing the need for multiple and face-to-face assessment.
  • Compensation and payments awarded for illness, injury as a result of Service should never be treated as normal income. The Government should ensure that injured veterans are not forced to give up compensation payments in order to pay for support their civilian counterparts can access.

To view the Making the Benefits System Fit for Service: Improving Support for Veterans with Military Compensation report click here.