Those fighting in the British Armed Forces often put themselves in the path of extreme danger. As a result, many come home with emotional and physical scars from the experience. For those with disabilities, trying to return to civilian life can be immensely difficult, but the same is often true for those leaving their Armed Forces career behind them in an attempt to move onto something new.
If you’re in a position where you need financial help having left the Armed Forces, there are many national and regional schemes that offer grants and other services. These might be the support needed to get a business venture up and running, or could provide life-changing funds to help you with a disability. One of the most important things to remember is that help does exist and you shouldn’t be shy in asking for it.
There are several major charities that operate throughout Britain and provide British legion grants and other services for those who’ve served the UK. The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, run by the government, provides grants for disabled veterans who may have experienced an illness or injury during their service. Money is also provided for families of those who’ve been killed in action.
Meanwhile, the Royal British Legion offers a variety of financial support for serving people and their families. An Immediate Needs Scheme provides small grants for emergency circumstances such as the requirement of mobility vehicles or new furniture, for example. The organisation can also pay for short getaways, both for service personnel and their family. British legion holidays are provided at one of the charity’s four holiday Break Centres in the UK. There’s also the chance for children of those in service to enjoy an adventure break.
Finally, if you’re looking to start a business after leaving the Armed Forces, the government fund a British Legion scheme called ‘Be the Boss’. The grant is open to anyone who’s left the service, and the fund is particularly interested in applications from those with a disability, injury or long-term health problems. Up to £7,500 can be granted to help set up a company, whilst £30,000 is available to develop existing businesses further.
Army Injury Compensation
If you’ve been injured whilst on duty, there are a number of charities in the UK that cater towards specific conditions. BLESMA provides financial support to people who’ve lost limbs or limb function, or who may have been blinded in action. Grants can help make everyday life a little easier, from paying for stair-lifts and wheelchairs, to helping fund any necessary car adaptations so you can get around more easily.
Elsewhere, Combat Stress can be of invaluable support to those suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or other mental health conditions. Though actual financial support isn’t provided, all of Combat Stress’s services are free for veterans to use, including residential clinical treatments, community outreach programmes and a six week treatment and rehabilitation course.
Service and Regimental Grants and Support
Depending which regiment you serve with, various means of support is likely to be available. The majority of services have their own financial aid schemes in place, allowing you to find help from the very organisation you’ve served with.
The RAF has a Disabled Holiday Trust that any ex-service personnel and their family can take advantage of if they have a disability. Most conditions qualify, and they don’t even have to have occurred during active service. Self-catering holidays, both in the UK and abroad, are offered, with the Trust paying all expenses.The organisation also provides a benevolent fund which could offer invaluable financial support. If you’re experiencing difficulties with money, the fund can help pay for property repairs, housing and educational costs, disability equipment and modifications, carers and services for dependents with special needs.
- The Royal Marines
The Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund (RMCTF) can help both serving and retired Royal Marines and their family members. Support is offered for disabled and wounded veterans moving into civilian life, whilst homecoming events and memorials can be funded.
- The Royal Navy
The Royal Navy run several grant schemes for veterans to take advantage of. Both serving and former veterans can gain financial help to pay for furniture, essential household goods, funeral expenses, respite breaks and specialist equipment, such as a mobility scooter.
- Soldiers’ Charity
For any soldier, including those in the Reserve Army (TA), the Soldiers’ Charity offers a wide variety of help. Firstly, annuities can be provided to help older veterans and widows who are trying to live on a basic state pension. Meanwhile, care home fees can also be covered, whilst bursaries are available for disabled soldiers who want to cover the cost of retraining. These bursaries are also available for ex-soldiers who want to go into higher education, or the children of service men or women who’ve died or been disabled in action, and who’s education needs to be funded.The Soldiers’ Charity can also pay for holiday schemes to provide much needed breaks, and essential needs such as mobility aids.
Finally, the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) offers grants to a wide range of personnel, both those currently serving as well as ex-veterans. Service men and women can gain funding for rehabilitation, accommodation costs for relatives visiting injured personnel and the expense of modifying a home to suit a disability.
If you’re currently served in the armed forces, or have already left the service but need help, there are many grants and compensation schemes available across the UK. The list above is not exhaustive, so don’t worry if your service isn’t listed. In the first instance, it’s best to contact the regiment you served with as they’ll have the best knowledge of the schemes on offer. Failing that, many charities also provide emotional and financial support, helping you to transition back into civilian life.