Benefits and Financial Advice for the Armed Forces Community

Find out about benefits, financial advice and discounts available for members of the Armed Forces Community.

IN THIS ARTICLE

  • Types of benefits and financial advice available.
  • How businesses are helping to deliver the Armed Forces Covenant
  • About the Defence Discount Service

Whether you are currently serving, or have previously served in the Armed Forces, you may need some help with benefits and financial advice.

The Ministry of Defence has published a helpful guide on financial top tips for service personnel to ensure they get a fair deal when they need to access financial services.

The MOD have produced information on financial and pension advice and support services for the defence personnel and families.

What types of benefit and financial advice are available?

Housing Benefit and Local Council Tax SupportWar Disablement Pension, War Widow’s Pension or War Widower’s Pension will not be taken into account when calculating income for Housing Benefit and Local Council Tax Support.

Council Tax - If you are a member of the Armed Forces and your property is deemed to be your sole or main residence, if your absence is a result of your service you will be eligible for a 50% job related discount. To find out more please email council.tax@colchester.gov.uk

Universal Credit - helps people find out what benefits they should be claiming, and provides more detail about how Universal Credit can help them move into, or progress in, work.

Read more about Universal Credit

Claim Universal Credit 

Freephone Helpline: 0800 3285644

To access support relating to benefits and financial advice, see the following links:

  • Discretionary Housing Payment - A fund aimed at helping people who find themselves in a crisis. If you're leaving or have just left the Armed Forces, and are moving in to new accommodation then the fund may be able to help with housing costs. DHP's cannot be awarded to help towards Council Tax liability or costs.  
  • MoneyForceThe home of money advice for UK Service personnel and their families. It includes an innovative budget planner, car cost calculator and credit forecaster.
  • Joining Forces - 3 credit unions working together to provide savings accounts and loans to the armed forces and their families.
  • The Royal British Legion - Offers a range of financial assistance services, including benefits and money advice, grants and loans. If you have a compensation claim arising from your Service the Legion can help you through the process under the War Pensions Scheme or the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. The nearest Pop-In Centre is based at 133 High Street, Colchester, CO1 1SP.
  • The MOD Army - Provides details about cash grants available to dependents of soldiers who die in service. 
  • SSAFAA national charity that provides support to thousands of Armed Forces personnel and their families. The local branch can be contacted Essex@ssafa.org.uk.
  • Citizens AdviceProvide guidance and advice on a whole range of issues.
  • GOV.UK - The government website provides a comprehensive list of potential benefits entitlement.
  • Veterans Gateway Gives access to a network of organisations, making it easy for veterans and their families to connect with the help, advice and support needed from their first point of contact.
  • Veterans UKProvides a full range of information for people injured, disabled or bereaved by the service, including details of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, War Disablement Pensions and Armed Forces Pensions.
  • The Army Families Federation (AFF)Independent of the Army and offers confidential advice on a range of welfare issues including money matters and family life. AFF works at a local level directly with families and local command.

Other local organisations that can provide benefit and financial advice include:

  • Christians Against PovertyService passionate about releasing people from a life sentence of debt, poverty and their causes.
  • Open Door, ColchesterA café-style drop-in centre which welcomes without judgment anyone who needs help or wants someone to talk to.
  • Colchester HIVEArmy Welfare Service: This blog aims to provide local information to all service personnel and their families.

How businesses are helping to deliver the Armed Forces Covenant

You can find a useful summary of the businesses helping the Armed Forces community with mortgages, motor insurance, broadband, media packages and mobile phone contracts here

Defence Discount Service

If you are a member of the Armed Forces community you are eligible for a Defence Privilege Card, at a cost of less than £1.00 a year. Visit the Defence Discount Service website to find out how you can start saving now on high street and online purchases.

Colchester Borough Council have registered with the Defence Discount Service: a range of discounts/concessions are available at venues including Leisure World, Colchester Castle and Colchester Events Company.

The UK Armed Forces Veterans ID Card

The Ministry of Defence will be launching a new Veterans ID card which will enable public and charitable sector services to instantly recognise the service of a Veteran. This card will provide proof that a Veterans has served in HM Armed Forces in line with the Government definition of a Veteran, which is one day’s service.

Currently, there is no way for existing Veterans to easily prove the fact that they have served, and the administrative burden on providers when verifying that a person is a Veteran can be considerable, both in time and cost. This card will allow you to confidentially verify that someone has served in the Armed Forces.

However, this card will not be held by all Veterans as it is being rolled out in tranches and some genuine Veterans in need may not have the capacity to apply for one.

Therefore, please do not take the absence of a Veterans ID card as proof that a person is not a Veteran. Instead continue to use your existing processes to verify their Veteran status.

If you are asked questions about the ID card, please refer Veterans to the Veterans UK helpline number and they will be able to provide the relevant information, details below.

Telephone: 0808 1914218

Website: www.veterans-uk.info

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