Armed forces veterans are being urged to check if they are eligible for a military pension because one in five might not be claiming it, a charity has warned.
Research from Age Cymru – a national charity for older people in Wales – suggested there were many armed forces personnel aged over 60 who were serving at any time from 1975 that are not claiming the defined benefit pension they are entitled to.
A survey of more than 300 veterans found 17 per cent of respondents who were potentially eligible for an armed forces pensions but were not accessing it.
Armed forces personnel who served between 1975 and 2005 were automatically enrolled in the Armed Forces Pension Scheme 1975, a public sector pension fund.
Members must have completed two years’ qualifying service to be entitled to most pension benefits, but they must contact the Ministry of Defence to claim these.
Age Cymru officials believe some veterans are put off by the prospect of undertaking large amounts of paperwork, while others aren’t aware they need to apply for the pension and think they will automatically be awarded it.
According to Heather Ferguson, manager of Age Cymru’s Project 360 – which focus on the development of services and support specifically for older military veterans – pensions money which rightfully belongs to those who have served their country and which could help transform their lives is going unclaimed each year.
She said: “I would urge any veteran aged 60 or over and who were serving anytime from 1975 to call the Veteran Welfare Service to find out if they are eligible.
“We know through our work with veterans that many of them are proud people who may not like making claims. But eligible veterans have already paid into a pension scheme, so it is therefore rightfully theirs to claim.
“This additional income could help transform their lives from one of making do to one full of meaningful activities and opportunities.”
What do you think about the issues raised by this story? Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know.