Life after the armed forces: How to find the best financial support

Many young veterans leave the military unsure of how to manage their finances. They may find themselves in difficulty, particularly if they are facing a reduced income, additional bills, and expenses that they wouldn’t have been responsible for while they were serving.

This is more common amongst those who joined the armed forces at a young age, at a time when they didn’t have financial responsibility and were living in the family home.

It can also be especially challenging for veterans who have been injured during service, who might be facing a period of unemployment and may need help with funding for treatment or equipment.

Seeking financial advice

When leaving the forces, it can be difficult for veterans to know who to speak to for financial advice and finding someone who truly understands what life is like for a veteran starting out on Civvy Street.

It’s good for serving personnel (once they’ve decided to leave) to embark on the mentoring schemes their regiment offers to discuss their future plans and seek financial advice (the charity SSAFA offers transitional mentoring across the armed forces).

For those who are in need of general financial advice (for example information on renting, mortgages, insurance, credit scores) veterans can visit and contact the Money Advice Service and Citizens Advice. They offer resources in an accessible format and for ‘beginners’.

It’s worth veterans speaking with family and friends for their thoughts (where possible) and also conducting desktop research into how to manage their personal finances. For example:

* How to understand their finances

* Setting a financial plan/budgets – tips and tricks

* How to be strict and set financial goals

* Using comparison websites to get the best deals

*The common T&Cs in contracts for purchases and what they mean

There are a number of sources of help and advice for those who are struggling with their finances too such as the MoD’s “Financial top tips for service personnel

Charities such as The Royal British Legion offer financial advice and support for veterans, including grants. The SSAFA also supports veterans who are struggling financially and can provide details of qualified debt advisors.

Veterans and their families can find it difficult to obtain credit because their credit scores have been impacted by having to regularly change address whilst serving in the forces. Information and help regarding this issue is available at Armed Forces Credit Union

Claiming benefits

Several organisations exist that can provide advice and support for anyone who needs to claim employment or disability benefits.

The government’s website lists the different types of benefits that can be claimed.

Citizens Advice is a helpful resource with specific information about the benefits, tax credits, and concessions available to serving personnel and veterans on their website.

Financial benefits available to injured veterans

Veterans who have been injured during their service will be contacted about any entitlement they have to an enhanced pension. Veterans UK can be contacted about any pension inquiries too if veterans need any further assistance.

The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme exists to compensate service personnel and veterans who have been injured during their service or have suffered a service-related illness or mental health condition. More information about the scheme can be found here.

This compensation can help support veterans and their families, who, because of their injury, may struggle to carry out full-time employment. This fund can also help pay for any necessary adaptations to the home, care and rehabilitation.

Charities that support injured veterans

There are military charities that provide help to veterans struggling to fund treatment, specialist aids, and equipment too.

The Royal British Legion funds and supports recovery centres across the country helping wounded, injured, and sick personnel and veterans. It also assists with securing funding for aids, equipment and home adaptations.

ABF The Soldiers’ Charity provides grants to individuals and families.

Blesma helps veterans who have lost a limb, offering specialist services such as advice for those who need a prosthetic limb, and information about returning to work and getting financial support.

Housing and household expenses

For most veterans, finding somewhere to live and making sure they have enough money to pay their mortgage or rent, as well as the household bills, will be one of the most pressing concerns they face.

For those who are worried about juggling these costs and what housing options are available, help and advice can be sought from Veterans’ Gateway and Shelter.

It can be very overwhelming to juggle all of the demands that come from leaving a military career and entering into civilian life and it is important that veterans know where they can go to get the help and support they need before they reach crisis point.

Hannah Swarbrick is an associate in the military claims team at Bolt Burdon Kemp

Money Pages.