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War Pensions Scheme

The War Pensions Scheme provides financial help if you have an illness or injury caused by service in the Armed Forces before 6 April 2005. It can also help if you are the husband, wife or civil partner of a service person who died as a result of serving in the Armed Forces. In the case of unmarried partners, a substantial relationship must be demonstrated. The War Pensions Scheme consists of either a weekly pension or a one off lump sum payment.

1. What is the War Pensions Scheme?

The War Pensions Scheme provides financial help if you have an illness or injury caused by service in the Armed Forces before 6 April 2005.

It can also help if you are the husband, wife or civil partner of a service person who died as a result of serving in the Armed Forces. In the case of unmarried partners, a substantial relationship must be demonstrated.

The War Pensions Scheme consists of either a weekly pension or a one off lump sum payment.

Applies to: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Age Rules: You must be of the legal age to join the Armed Forces

Type: Non means tested

Taxable: No

Administered by: Veterans UK

2. Can I apply to the War Pensions Scheme?

Serving Personnel and Veterans

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 you have an illness or injury caused by service in the Armed Forces on or after 6 April 2005, you might get help from the Armed Forces Compensation scheme instead.

Bereaved partners of serving Armed Forces Personnel

You may be entitled to a War Widow's/Widower's Pension from the War Pensions Scheme if your spouse’s or civil partner’s death was a result of their service in the Armed Forces before 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 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.

3. How much can I get from the War Pensions Scheme?

Serving Personnel and Veterans

The basic War 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 instead.

If you get a War Pension you may also be entitled to extra allowances.


See GOV.UK website for War Pension Scheme rates from April 2019 (link opens in a new window).

Bereaved partner of serving Armed Forces Personnel

The War Pension Scheme includes a War Widow/Widower’s Pension which has a higher rate and a lower rate.

You will get the lower rate unless you fit one of the following criteria for the higher rate:

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

 

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.

How will I be paid from the War Pensions Scheme?

Payments are made directly into your bank, building society or other account providers.

War Pensions Scheme and other benefits

If you receive additional allowances on top of your basic War Pension, some of these extra allowances may affect your entitlement to other means-tested benefits. You must inform the relevant benefit offices, local authorities and Tax Credit office if you receive payment under the War Pension Scheme.

Benefit cap and the War Pensions Scheme

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

4. How do I apply to the War Pensions Scheme?

Armed Forces Personnel and Veterans

You should contact Veterans UK to get a claim form. They will also help you fill it in.

You can call their helpline on:
0808 191 4218 (UK) or
+44 1253 866043 (Overseas)

You can download a claim form from the Gov.uk and  Veterans UK website (link opens in a new window)

You should claim within five years of the event that caused the injury or ill health.

Bereaved partner of serving Armed Forces Personnel

You should contact Veterans UK to get a claim form. A War Pensions welfare officer can visit you to help you claim this and anything else you may be entitled to.

You can call their helpline on:
0808 191 4218 (UK) or
+44 1253 866043 (Overseas)

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 download a claim form from the Gov.UK and Veterans UK website (link opens in a new window)

What documents will I need to apply to the War Pensions Scheme?

You must enclose any evidence that you feel will support your claim, such as letters or reports from doctor, consultant or hospital, your Certificate or Statement of Service or Accident Report Form

When will my War Pension claim begin?

War Pension claims  aim to be made within an average of 52 working days. Some cases take longer than others simply because they are more complicated.

Change of circumstances

You must report changes in your circumstances which might affect your entitlement to this benefit  to Veterans UK

5. How do I challenge a War Pensions Scheme decision?

If your claim is unsuccessful, you can ask Veterans UK to reconsider their decision see the Veterans UK website (link opens in a new window)

You may appeal if your claim was rejected or if you you think the type of award you’ve been given is wrong, e.g. if you don’t think your disability has been correctly assessed.

Contact the Veterans UK Helpline on 0808 1914 218  for information on challenging a decision.