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War Pensions Scheme

Key information

You might be able to get financial help from the War Pensions Scheme if you have an illness or injury caused by service in the Armed Forces, or your husband, wife or civil partner died as a result of serving in the Armed Forces before 6 April 2005. 

Applies to: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Age Rules: Of the legal age to join the Armed Forces

Type: Non means tested

Taxable: No

Administered by: The Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA) (link opens in a new window)

Illness/injury: If you have an illness or injury caused by service in the Armed Forces on or after 6 April 2005 or your husband, wife or civil partner died on or after 6 April 2005 as a result of serving in the Armed Forces, see Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.

 

Index

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Serving Armed Forces personnel and veterans

Who does it help?

You might be able to get financial help from the War Pensions Scheme if you have an illness or injury caused by service in the Armed Forces before 6 April 2005 and are no longer serving in the Armed Forces. 

If your illness or injury was caused by an event on or after 6 April 2005 you may be eligible for financial help from the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme instead.

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What help does it provide?

You may receive either a weekly pension or a one off lump sum payment.

The basic pension is worked out based on your degree of disability as a percentage. If you are assessed at 20% or more then you will receive a weekly pension. If you are assessed at less than 20% you will receive a one off lump sum payment.

If you get a war pension, you may also be entitled to extra allowances, however, some may affect other benefits you may get.

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How much does it pay?

Rates of War Pensions and Allowances 2014-15 (Link opens in new window PDF file)

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How do I make a claim?

You should get in touch with the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA) (link opens in a new window) to get a claim form. They will help you fill it in. You should claim within five years of the event causing the injury or ill health.

You can call their helpline on:

  • 0808 191 4218 (UK) or
  • +44 1253 866043 (Overseas)

You can also download claim forms on the Veterans UK website (link opens in a new window).

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Benefit cap and War Pensions

If you or your partner receive a War Pension, you will be exempt from the Benefit Cap

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Bereaved partners of serving Armed Forces personnel

Who does it help?

You may be entitled to a War Widow's/Widower's Pension if your spouse’s or civil partner’s death was a result of their service in the Armed Forces prior to 6th April 2005.

If the death happened on or after 6th April 2005 whilst still serving in Armed Forces, you may qualify for the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) instead.

You are not entitled to a War Widow's/Widower's Pension as well as a Bereavement Benefit. However the War Widow's/Widower's Pension is usually paid at a higher rate and is tax-free.

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What help does it provide?

A War Widow's or Widower's Pension is a tax-free pension.

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How much does it pay?

The pension has a higher rate and a lower rate.
You will get the lower rate unless you fit one of the following criteria:

  • the widow/widower of an officer above the rank of Major or equivalent; or
  • aged 40 or over ; or
  • under 40 and getting an allowance for a child; or
  • under 40 and unable to support yourself financially

Rates of War Pensions and Allowances 2014-15 (Link opens in new window PDF file)

Christmas Bonus
If you receive a War Widow/Widower's Pension, you also qualify for a Christmas Bonus each year. This is usually £10. You do not need to make a claim for the bonus it is paid automatically. It does not affect any other benefits you might get.

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How do I make claim?

You can get in touch with the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA) (link opens in a new window)by calling their helpline on:

  • 0808 191 4218 (UK) or
  • +44 1253 866043 (Overseas)

A war pensions welfare officer will visit you to help you claim this and anything else you may be entitled to.

You can also get a form from your nearest War Pensioners' Welfare Service Office. You'll find them in the local phone book under 'Veterans Agency'.

You can also download a form on Veterans UK website (link opens in a new window).

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Further information

You may find the following resources helpful:

Benefit cap and War Widow/Widower's Pension

If you receive a War Widow/Widower's Pension, you will be exempt from the Benefit Cap

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Last updated: 08 April 2014

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