Since the launch of the Veterans' Gateway pensions advice is one of our most commonly queried subjects.
With many veterans and their families unaware of their service pension status, we have worked with the Forces Pension Society on five top tips that everyone can follow on Pensions Awareness Day, and beyond.
Here they are:
- If you leave the forces early, you'll need to claim your pensions yourself, 3-6 months before your pension age.
- If you have an injury or illness caused by something that happened when you were serving you might qualify for a disability award, even if it started after you retired.
- If you're getting divorced the arrangements for your pension can be very complicated. Get some legal advice.
- If you're still serving it can make sense to buy extra pension, this can give you more money in the long run. The sooner you start to do this the better.
- The timing of your retirement can make a difference to the pension you get so take advice.
Neil Brogan, an ex-Sapper who served nine years, including tours in Northern Ireland, Belize and the Falklands, recently got in touch with Veterans' Gateway. Unsure of his rights, we referred him to our expert partner, Forces Pension Society.
After an initial consultation, Neil discovered that he was eligible for a lump-sum pension of £7,000 on his 60th birthday followed by annual payments of £2,300. "We had some lectures on pensions before I retired from service," said Neil, "but frankly they were difficult to understand. I'm sure there are others in my position."
David Hatcher, Chairman for Veterans' Gateway, said: "Veterans' Gateway was established to ensure that former Service personnel, their families and carers can access the help they deserve. Since the service launched we have seen an influx of people contacting us with questions about their pension."
"Many people may feel as though it is too late, or they simply are not aware of when, how and if they are eligible for their forces pension. "We're taking this opportunity to try and bring some clarity to these issues and to encourage anyone who has questions around their pension to contact Veterans' Gateway where they will be connected with one of our expert referral partners in this area who can provide advice based on their individual circumstances."