Few career changes require as much adjustment as that of leaving the military and returning to a civilian lifestyle. Veterans of the Army and Navy often find that their life of strict routine and structure bears no resemblance to that of the average UK citizen, and more often than not, that the outside world has moved on significantly since they enlisted.
It is not uncommon for veterans to struggle with this transition, and it is of paramount importance that these brave men and women understand that help is available to them and their families should they need it.
The CTP Resettlement Course, the brainchild of the MOD and careers specialists Right Management, will help, but anybody newly discharged or departed from the British armed forces should take a look at this checklist, and seek any assistance they may benefit from.
Financial Assistance for Veterans
One of the first struggles that a military veteran may encounter are financial concerns. If a serviceman or woman were to resign their position and lose their monthly wage, where would they stand? Thankfully, help is at hand in the form of grants and support from charitable organisations.
- Turn2Us are a registered charity in the UK offering assistance to people from all walks of life in need of financial advice and support. They have a special programme dedicated to assisting veterans.
- The Veterans Charity are also a charity, who specialise in assisting the man and women of our forces who are experiencing monetary hardship.
- The British Legion is an invaluable resource to anybody eligible for membership. Use this Grant Finder for an idea of what you may be entitled to, or check any of these sub-categories for specalised support:
- Crisis Grants, for small, unexpected expenses such as faulty appliances in the home.
- Veteran Medical Funding Grants, which is a funding programme financed by HM Treasury for veterans struggling with hearing loss or medical bills due to injury in service.
- Mobility Aid and Assistance Grants, for a veteran who finds his or herself requiring the use of a mobility scooter or other specialty vehicle.
- Household Equipment and Adaptation Grants, for changes that may need to be made to your home following service such as stair lifts of wheelchair ramps.
- External Grants, for any military veteran seeking financial assistance related to education and training, homelessness, family support or assisting the elderly.
- Employment Support Grants, for any veteran who may need assistance with training costs for a new career, or specialty uniforms and clothing.
- Women’s Section Allowances, for female military personnel, and the spouses of servicemen.
Debt Relief for Veterans
A veteran returning from service may also be faced with debt concerns, which can be every bit as worrying as immediate or impending financial hardship.
- The British Legion is the leading light in offering debt support, though any of the military charities listed in this document will do anything in their power to assist.
- StepChange are a notable charity that offer invaluable advice to anybody struggling with debt repayments, working closely with armed forces charity SSAFA to offer advice to armed forces veterans.
Housing for Veterans
Housing is also a concern for military personnel. Moving house is always a stressful experience, and that goes double for leaving Service Family Accommodation, or single soldiers who have been serving abroad.
- The Citizens Advice Bureau offers a service dedicated to providing advice to veterans and their families looking for after leaving active service.
- Shelter is a homeless charity with plenty of experience in assisting veterans.
- STOLL offer invaluable services, such as social housing nomination scheme for veterans.
- Haig Housing is a military-only housing association.
- The British Legion can also help once again.
Employment and Education for Veterans
Obtaining and maintaining a roof over their head is obviously of paramount importance to veterans, but what then? Many former military personnel leave the armed forces with plenty still to offer society, and the intention of working in a civilian capacity.
Unemployment statistics in the UK continue to fall, thankfully, and a number of private recruitment agencies specialise in finding civilian work for former service men and women – as do the following.
- CTP, the aforementioned MOD scheme, connects veterans with jobs, employment fairs, courses and training programmes.
- Hire a Hero is a registered UK charity that offers opportunities for training, mentoring and career coaching, as will as providing a job board where vacancies can be browsed and posted.
- Civvystreet.org is a branch of the British legion, designed to help find openings for veterans.
- Troops to Teachers is a government initiative, designed to encourage military personnel to re-train as educators.
Benefit Entitlement for Veterans
Of course, not every veteran will be able to work upon his or her return to civilian life.
- A British Veterans Recognition Card is the first step for any serviceman or woman upon leaving the armed forces.
- Government-sanctioned Military Pensions can then be claimed as standard.
- CTP lists the benefits available to former armed forces personnel.
- The Citizens Advice Bureau again offers invaluable advice.
- The British Legion also provides further guidance on the benefits available.
Compensation for Veterans
Are you eligible for compensation from your time with the armed forces? It’s quite possible, and worth investigating.
An increasing number of private companies are cropping up who will offer to investigate this on your behalf on a no-win, no-fee basis, but if you prefer to look into it yourself there no shortage of places to research.
The number of claims is steadily ascending each year as an increasing number of people are aware of these services, so do not hesitate to investigate the compensation you may be due.
- The Citizens Advice Bureau, as always, is the ideal place to start.
- The British Legion also offers advice on this matter.
- MoneyForce is another offshoot of the Legion, who can help spouses who have experienced bereavement due to military service.
Services for Injured Veterans
What of veterans who find themselves injured in conflict?
- Help for Heroes provide a fantastic service offering support to those wounded in service, and are arguably the most famous name in the field.
- SSAFA is another charity, working tirelessly to assist service men and women who have found themselves injured in service to their country.
- Blesma is also an option, a charity that specialises in assisting soldiers who have lost limbs in conflict.
- The government also has a claims process for compensation if you wish to take an official stance. Thanks to a British Legion campaign, injured veterans will soon no longer need to sacrifice their compensation payments to finance their social care expenses.
Mental Health Concerns for Veterans
Despite the famous resilience of these valiant individuals, mental health is also a concern for those who have served in the armed forces.
Statistics on this matter show that if you are struggling you are far from alone, and should not hesitate to seek help from a registered professional.
- The NHS offers treatment to veterans who may be suffering with PTSD, anxiety or depression upon returning to civilian life.
- The Ministry of Defence has their own policies in place for both prevention and cure of these conditions.
- Mind, a charity that specialises in mental health, provides a list of symptoms and potential actions for any veteran who may be struggling with PTSD.
- PTSD Resolution, another registered charity, offers advice on how to obtain free counselling.
Summary of Useful Links
As a nation, we undoubtedly owe a debt of thanks to the men and women of our armed forces, and this can only be repaid by making their transition into civilian life as comfortable and tranquil as possible. By following these steps, there is no reason why this should not be the case. Help is always at hand to those who need it, provided they know where to turn. Below you will find a list of all the links that have been discussed in this article.
- Blesma – blesma.org
- Citizens Advice Bureau – citizensadvice.org.uk
- CivvyStreet – civvystreet.org
- CTP – ctp.org.uk
- Haig Housing – haighousing.org.uk
- Help for Heroes – helpforheroes.org.uk
- Hire a Hero – hireaherouk.org
- Mind – mind.org.uk
- MoneyForce – moneyforce.org.uk
- NHS – nhs.uk
- PTSD Resolution – ptsdresolution.org
- Shelter – shelter.org.uk
- SSAFA – ssafa.org.uk
- StepChange – stepchange.org
- STOLL – stoll.org.uk
- The British Legion – http://www.britishlegion.org.uk
- The Ministry of Defence – https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-defence
- The Veterans Charity – http://www.veteranscharity.org.uk
- Troops to Teaching – https://getintoteaching.education.gov.uk/explore-my-options/teacher-training-routes/specialist-training-options/troops-to-teachers
- Turn2Us – turn2us.org.uk
- UK Government – gov.uk