Wales politics

Armed forces veterans missing out on pensions, says charity

Steve Boswell
Image caption Age Cymru's Steve Boswell: "Many of them are proud people who may not like making claims"

Many veterans in Wales aged over 60 are not receiving armed forces pensions, according to a leading charity.

Age Cymru's Steve Boswell said the money could make the difference between a life of "making do" and "activities and opportunities".

Armed forces personnel who served from 1975 were automatically enrolled in the Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS).

But they must contact the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to be able to claim the cash.

The system is complex and eligibility is linked to factors such as amount of time served and the end of service, as well as retirement age.

Age Cymru said evidence from a Wales-wide project suggested many over-60s were not claiming what they are entitled to.

It is estimated several thousand veterans are losing out across the UK, according to the Forces Pensions Society.

Mr Boswell, Age Cymru project officer, said some were put off by the prospect of undertaking large amounts of paperwork, while others were not aware they needed to apply for the pension rather than be automatically awarded it.

"We know through our work with veterans that many of them are proud people who may not like making claims," he told BBC Sunday Politics Wales.

"This additional income could help transform their lives from one of making do to one full of meaningful activities and opportunities."

The Forces Pension Society, which has helped 3,800 veterans or their families with pension queries since 2017, said more than 1,500 did not know whether they had a pension entitlement - of which data suggests 483 had a pension entitlement they were unaware of.

Some have received a pension of up to £4,000 a year and a lump sum of £12,000.

Image caption The medals of a Welsh Guardsman, worn at rehearsals for Trooping the Colour

Veterans can discuss their personal circumstances by contacting the Veterans Welfare Service.

An MoD spokesman said: "The Armed Forces Pension Schemes provide a generous package of support to veterans in recognition of their service and we encourage anyone eligible to take advantage of the scheme.

"We contact all personnel upon leaving service to let them know how they can claim their pension, and regularly review members' records so we can write to individuals who may have an unclaimed pension."

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