Guidance

War Pension Scheme: what you need to know

Updated 3 February 2017

1. Introduction

There are a number of compensation schemes administered by Veterans UK on behalf of the Ministry of Defence available to serving and former serving personnel who are injured as a result of their service in the armed forces. The scheme that applies to each individual will depend on when and where you served and when you were injured.

  • the War Pensions Scheme (WPS)

Your claim can be considered under the WPS if you are no longer serving and your disablement was caused as a result of service in the armed forces before 6 April 2005.

You can claim under the AFCS where the illness or injury was caused as a result of service on or after 6 April 2005. You do not need to have left the armed forces before claiming.

You can claim under the CICO if you or your eligible dependants are the innocent victim of a crime of violence while serving overseas.

2. War Pension Scheme: an overview

The WPS compensates for any injury, illness or death which occurs before 5 April 2005. The AFCS provides compensation for any injury, illness or death which is caused by service on or after 6 April 2005.

2.1 Who is eligible

You can claim under the WPS if you:

  • are no longer serving in Her Majesty’s (HM) Armed Forces and your claimed disablement arose before 6 April 2005

  • were injured or disabled through serving in HM Armed Forces, including The Ulster

Defence Regiment, now known as the Royal Irish Regiment, the Home Guard and nursing and auxiliary services:

  • are a civil defence volunteer (CDV) disabled through serving as a CDV in World War 2

  • are a civilian disabled as a result of enemy action in the World War 2

  • are a merchant seaman, a member of the naval auxiliary services or a coastguard, and you were disabled because of an injury you received or a disease suffered because of conditions during a war or because you were a prisoner of war during a period when the Mercantile Marine Scheme was activated

  • are a member of the Polish Forces under British Command who served in the 1939 to 1945 war, or in the Polish Resettlement Forces and you were injured or disabled through this service

2.2 Time restrictions for claims

If you are claiming as a civil defence volunteer or civilian, you must do so within 3 months of the date of your injury. The only general exception to this is if you have independent evidence of the injury which caused your disablement.

For the other groups mentioned, there are no time limits for claiming, but any award will only be paid from the date of your claim.

2.3 What can be claimed for

You can claim for any injury or illness which has been caused or made worse by result of service. Claims can range from relatively minor fractures to amputations and other more serious conditions, including mental disorders. You can submit a claim for any injury or illness which occurs while you are participating in a service related activity. This includes Adventurous Training (AT), physical exercise and organised sport, for example inter-service athletics.

2.4 How to submit a claim

Claims must be made on an AFCS/WPS001 form signed and dated by the claimant, or someone authorised to sign their behalf. Claim forms can be downloaded here or you can request 1 by contacting the Veterans UK helpline on 0808 191 4 218.

Veterans UK staff (including the Veterans Welfare Service) and voluntary organisations can assist you in filling out the form if needed. Once a claim has been submitted, Veterans UK will inform you in writing of the outcome.

2.5 Information needed to support your claim

Any information or evidence you are able to give us in support of your claim will be helpful. However, there are certain things we need to know in order for us to gather evidence and to consider your claim accurately and reasonably.

The AFCS/WPS001 form includes guidance notes for many of the questions, which tell you the type of information we need.

For example, we need to know about the injury or illness you are claiming for, such as:

  • the total area a wound or injury covers

  • if only 1 side of your body is affected

  • the date the injury occurred or when you first noticed symptoms of illness

We also need to know about any incident or exposure you feel caused your injury or illness, for instance:

  • what were you doing when the incident occurred

  • if it occurred during a journey the details and reason for the journey

  • if the incident happened whilst participating in a sporting activity, were you representing your unit or regiment, was it during an organised Physical Training (PT) session, or was it in your own time

  • why you think your injury was caused by your service

Veterans UK will, where appropriate, request evidence in order to consider your claim. However, if you are able to provide copies of any supporting documentation such as reports from your Medical Officer, copies of Orders, accident/incident reports, please do so as soon as possible. This may help us deal with your claim quicker.

2.6 How your claim will be processed

Doctors (known as medical advisers) must consider medical aspects of war pension claims and appeals. The medical adviser has both medical expertise and special training in the War Pensions Scheme.

Lay officers make decisions on claims to war pension. If medical matters are involved, for example, in deciding whether a claimed disability is due to service or the level of disability, they take advice from, or act on, certificates provided by a medical adviser. The medical adviser takes account of the facts which are specific to the case, the relevant law and policy and the current medical understanding of the relevant disorder.

2.7 Legislation

The WPS scheme legislation has been amended several times and the AFCS and Service Pensions Order (SPO) legislation page provides access to historic and current consolidated versions of the legislation in force. Each consolidated version incorporates the effect of amendments to the scheme and shows the period to which it applies. Future revisions will be added as and when legislative amendments take place.

2.8 Types of awards

There are 2 main types of WPS awards

  • pension, an ongoing payment paid weekly or monthly

  • gratuity, a lump sum payment

2.9 How awards are calculated

The amount of money we can pay depends on how disabled you are and it does not matter how much you earn.

We will look at the conditions you are claiming for. By conditions we mean:

  • a wound

  • an injury

  • a disease

  • something that happened as a result of an accident

The amount of money we pay is dependent on the extent of your disablement, ie any physical or mental injury or damage, or loss of physical or mental capacity.

We will use the information you have provided and advice from our medical advisers in order to assess your disablement. We work out our assessment of your disablement as a percentage. If we assess your disablement at 20% or more, we will pay you a regular pension.

If your disablement is assessed at less than 20%, we will normally pay you a lump sum called a gratuity. The amount depends on the extent of your disablement and how long you are likely to be disabled.

If your condition is Noise-Induced Sensorineural Hearing Loss and your disablement is less than 20% we will not be able to pay you a pension or lump sum. For more information see our Leaflet 10: Notes about War Pension claims for deafness.

The amount we will pay you is fully explained in our decision letter but payment rates can also be found in our Leaflet 9: Rates of war pensions and allowances.

2.10 Compensation received from other organisations, elsewhere in the Ministry of Defence (MOD) or Industrial

Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB).

If you are getting or have had compensation from another organisation, elsewhere in the MOD or IIDB for the same conditions as those for which you are making this claim, we may reduce your War Disablement Pension or lump sum. We do this because we believe you should not be compensated twice for the same disablement.

The WPS a no fault scheme which means payment is made without admitting fault. It is entirely separate from personal accident cover such as PAX or SLI. Therefore, any accident cover you may already hold is not taken into account when determining an award. Other payments that we do not take into account are, for example, compensation paid under the UK Criminal Injuries Compensation Schemes as a result of terrorist activities.

3. Widows and Widowers benefits

You may be entitled to a War Widow’s or Widower’s Pension if:

  • your husband’s or wife’s death was a result of his or her service in HM Forces

  • your husband or wife was a civil defence volunteer or a civilian and his or her death was a result of the 1939 to 1945 war

  • your husband or wife was a merchant seaman, a member of the naval auxiliary services, or a coastguard and his or her death was a result of an injury or disease he or she got during a war or because he or she was a prisoner of war

  • your husband’s or wife’s death was a result of his or her service as a member of the Polish Forces under British Command during the 1939 to 1945 war, or in the Polish Resettlement Forces

  • your husband or wife was getting a War Pensions Constant Attendance Allowance at the time of his or her death, or would have been if he had not been in hospital

  • your husband or wife was getting a War Disablement Pension at the 80% rate or higher and was getting Unemployability Supplement

War Widow’s or Widower’s Pension is paid at different rates depending on your age and circumstances. Find the rate in the leaflet ‘Rates of war pensions and allowances 2014-2015’.

War Widow(er)’s Pension can be made up of several elements depending on individual circumstances.

These could include:

Basic War Widow(er)’s Pension

A tax free War Widows or Widowers Pension is payable to spouses, civil partners and in certain circumstances partners who lived as spouses or lived as civil partners.

Supplementary Pension

If your husband or wife was discharged from the Armed Forces on or before 31 March 1973, we may pay you a supplementary award.

Age Allowance

An age allowance is awarded with the War Widow(er)’s Pension at age 65 and is increased at age 70 and age 80.

Allowances for Children

An eligible child under 16 years old may receive a child allowance. The child allowance may continue whilst the child continues in full time education or if the child is incapable of self support due to an infirmity which arose before the age of 16 years.

Rent Allowance

Rent Allowance may be paid when a person who receives WWP has a child in their care. War Widow(er)’s Pension payments made shortly after the date of death

Temporary Allowance

Widows of the most severely disabled pensioners may receive a Temporary Allowance based upon the War Disablement Pension in payment at the time of death.

Funeral Expenses

The person responsible for the funeral may be entitled to a grant towards the cost of the funeral. The time limit for claiming funeral expenses is 3 months from the date of the funeral.

4. Other allowances that may be available

If you get a war pension, you may also be entitled to extra allowances; however some may affect the Social Security benefits you may get.

To obtain a claim form for any of the following allowances, please click on the links for the claim form next to the allowance you wish to claim.

Allowance for a Lowered Standard of Occupation, WPA 0003 (ALSO)

To qualify for this allowance, your disablement must make you permanently unable to do your regular occupation or work of a similar standard that is suitable in your case. You must be getting a war pension at the 40% rate or higher and you must be under 65 when you make your claim.

Clothing Allowance, WPA 0003 (CLOTHING)

You may be entitled to this allowance if you are receiving an ongoing war pension and are an amputee or your clothes wear out very quickly because of the conditions for which we pay you a war pension.

Constant Attendance Allowance, WPA 0003 (CAA)

You may be entitled to this allowance if you need personal help because of the conditions for which we pay you a war pension and your war disablement pension has been assessed at 80% or higher.

Unemployability Supplement, WPA 0003 (UNSUPP)

To qualify you must be getting a war pension at the 60% rate or higher; you must be under 65 when you make your claim and your accepted condition(s) must be so serious that you cannot work. Where a personal Unemployability Supplement is awarded in certain circumstances you may also be entitled to additional unemployability allowances for any dependants. To make a claim for additional allowance please complete the WPA 0003 (UNSUPP).

War Pensioners Mobility Supplement, WPA 0003 (WPMS)

You may be entitled to help with the extra cost of getting about if you get a war pension at 40% or more and you are unable or almost unable to walk because of your accepted condition(s).

4.1 Allowances paid automatically

The following allowances are available and will be paid in certain circumstances. If you are entitled to any of these allowances, they will be paid automatically; you do not need to submit a claim form.

Exceptionally Severe Disablement Allowance

You may be entitled to this allowance if you are in receipt of War Pensions Constant Attendance Allowance at 1 of the 2 highest rates. It is payable if you are in hospital.

Age allowance

You can have an age allowance if you are 65 or over and you get a war disablement pension of 40% or more.

Comforts Allowance

You are entitled to this allowance if you are getting War Pension Constant Attendance Allowance or Unemployability Supplement.

Invalidity Allowance

You may also be entitled to this allowance if you have not reached age 60 and you get Unemployability Supplement.

Were you in receipt of Unemployability Supplement and attained State Pension age between 8 April 2002 and 10 April 2006?

If so, there were some rule changes which may affect the rate of Basic State Pension you receive. If this applies to you, and you think you may not be receiving the correct amount of State Pension, you should contact the Pensions Service claim line on 0800 731 7898 lines are open from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, except public holidays. Calls from a BT landline will be free. Other service providers and mobile networks may charge.

5. Payment arrangements

We pay your pensions directly into an account. This is the safest way to pay and lets you choose how and when to get your money. You can use a bank or building society account.

6. Further Claims

Application for a review

If you already have entitlement to a War Disablement Pension but your condition changes, you can ask us to review the assessment of your disablement. You can do this by completing WPA 0012 Application for a Review.

Claim for a further condition

If you already have entitlement to a War Disablement Pension and want to claim for an additional medical condition, you should complete WPA 0002 Further Condition Claim Form.

7. How to appeal (Pensions Appeal Tribunal Act 1943)

If you think our decision is wrong you can appeal to an independent tribunal. The steps that you must take in order to appeal depend on where you live and are set out below.

If you live in England, Wales or overseas, you must either complete an appeal form or write to us stating:

  • your name, address and member number

  • the name and address of any representative

  • an address where documents can be sent or delivered (this will normally be your home address)

  • the date and details of the decision you want to appeal against

  • why you disagree with the decision

  • sign and date your correspondence

If you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland you must complete an appeal form and send it to us.

7.1 Time limit

Your letter or appeal form must be received by us within 12 months; starting with the day after the date on your decision letter. If you request an appeal we will always send you a letter to acknowledge receipt of your appeal; if you do not receive this from us you should contact us to check we have received your request.

7.2 Late appeals

In some circumstances you will be allowed to appeal even if you have not written to us within the 12 month period. When you write after this period, you must state why you (or someone on your behalf) did not write to us within the 12 month period. The Tribunal may extend the time limit up to a maximum of a further 12 months. There is no provision to appeal later than this date. If you did make an application after 24 months this would be processed as an Out of Jurisdiction Application instead of an appeal.

If you would like some help or advice about making your appeal you can contact:

  • the Veterans UK helpline on 0808 1914 2 18

  • any of the service charities or support organisations who provide guidance and offer personal representation at appeal hearings

  • the Veterans Welfare Service (VWS) who will be happy to conduct home visits and provide assistance on any practical issues concerning your appeal

8. Help with Medical Treatment

If you are a War Pensioner, Veterans UK may, in some circumstances, be able to help with costs related to treatment for your accepted disablement. More information can be found below but if you think you may be entitled to assistance, please contact us [link] with details.

Access to Health Services, Priority Treatment for Veterans

All veterans in England, Scotland and Wales should receive priority access to NHS secondary care for any conditions which are likely to be related to their service, subject to the clinical needs of all patients.

There are currently no arrangements with Health Authorities in Northern Ireland. Their aim is that all patients should have access to treatment within a reasonable timescale.

Help with NHS charges

War pensioners living in the UK should be supplied with any aids, appliances or home nursing equipment certified to be necessary for the treatment or control of their accepted disablements by the NHS or Social Services.

Some items may attract a prescription charge which is payable before an item can be ordered. War pensioners are exempt from NHS prescription charges for their accepted disablement. An up to date prescription exemption certificate can be issued if required.

We can only consider payment for necessary, medically approved items if you would otherwise have to pay them yourself.

Prescription Exemption Certificates

If you are awarded a war pension and you are under the age of 60 we can send you a certificate to exempt you from NHS prescription charges for any condition that has an assessable degree of disablement.

The certificate allows exemption from prescription charges providing the prescribed medication, aids, appliances or equipment are required for your accepted disablements.

If you have incurred prescription charges for your accepted disablement between the date of your claim and the date of your award of war pension we can consider a refund.

Under NHS regulations you are no longer required to pay for NHS prescriptions when you reach the age of 60. Prescription charges have been abolished for residents in Scotland and Wales and completely in Northern Ireland.

Dental Treatment

If you obtain dental treatment or dentures through the NHS you will be required to pay the statutory NHS charge to the dentist. However, if the treatment is for your accepted disablement we can consider reimbursement of the NHS charge.

Spectacles

If you require spectacles because of your accepted disablement, we can consider reimbursing the fees for your sight tests and the value of the appropriate NHS spectacle voucher.

Hearing Aids

Veterans UK will not pay for hearing aids. In the UK, the supply of hearing aids is the responsibility of the NHS. There is no specific hearing impairment for which the NHS cannot supply a hearing aid.

9. Help and advice

If you require help or assistance in completing your claim form you may contact Veterans UK. Veterans UK helpline 0808 1914 2 18

A helpline operator will be able to give you help and advice over the telephone on how to complete your claim form.

Veterans Welfare Service

The Veterans Welfare Service can provide help, advice and guidance to people who are in the process of claiming a war disablement, a war widow’s/widower’s pension or a claim under the Armed Forces Compensations Scheme.

If you would like to talk to a welfare manager, you may either call the Veterans UK helpline 0808 1914 2 18 or your nearest welfare office.

Norcross, near Blackpool (covering NW England, Yorkshire and Humber, North Wales and Isle of Man). Telephone: 01253 333494 Email: veterans-uk-vws-North@mod.uk

Kidderminster (covering East England, Midlands, South and Central Wales). Telephone: 01562 825527 Email: veterans-uk-vws-Wales-Mid@mod.uk

Gosport (covering London, SE and SW England). Telephone: 02392 702232 Email: veterans-uk-vws-South@mod.uk

Glasgow (covering Scotland, NE England, NI & ROI). Telephone: 0141 2242709 Email: veterans-uk-vws-Scot-NI@mod.uk

Ex Service Organisations

Ex Service organisations can also provide help and assistance to veterans, a full list of organisations can be found in the Member Directory.