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Benefits and concessions for the Armed Forces, veterans and their families

About this information

This information applies to:

  • people who are serving in the Armed Forces
  • people who used to serve in the Armed Forces (veterans)
  • the dependants of people serving in the Armed Forces and veterans.

There are many different kinds of financial help available for people in the Armed Forces, veterans and their families.

You can use this information to find out what financial help might be available to you, depending on your situation. You can also use this information to find details of organisations that might be able to help you further.

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What financial help is available?

Veterans, people serving in the Armed Forces and their dependants have a range of financial help available to help them. This can include:

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Benefits in the UK

Veterans, people serving in the Armed Forces and their dependants may be able to claim a range of benefits in the UK. These include:

  • Child Benefit
  • Statutory Sick Pay
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Sure Start Maternity Grant
  • Jobseekers Allowance
  • tax credits.

You can find more information about benefits for veterans and people serving in the Armed Forces from the GOV.UK website at www.gov.uk.

For more information about benefits, see our Benefits section.

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Benefits abroad

If you are a veteran living abroad, or you are serving in the Armed Forces abroad, you and your dependants may still be able to claim some benefits in the UK. You may be able to claim:

  • Maternity Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Jobseekers Allowance (in certain European Union countries only).

If you are refused a benefit you think you should get, you can contact the Royal British Legion for help to appeal. Contact:

Legionline: 08457 725 725 (open Monday to Friday, 10am – 4pm)
Email: info@britishlegion.org.uk
Website: www.britishlegion.org.uk.

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Council Tax Relief

You may be able to get a tax-free relief payment for your council tax or contributions you pay instead of council tax. You may be able to get a relief payment if you are serving abroad in the Armed Forces and pay:

  • council tax on a property in the UK, or
  • contributions instead of council tax for service family accommodation

Payments are issued at the end of your time abroad. They are based on the number of days served abroad.

If you have served tours in Afghanistan and Iraq you should receive payments covering any period of service abroad since 1 October 2007.

If you were deployed in the following locations from 1 February 2008, you should receive payments covering any period of service abroad:

  • Bahrain
  • Bosnia
  • British Forces South Atlantic Islands
  • Diego Garcia
  • Kosovo
  • Kuwait
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • Royal Navy Ships in receipt of Deployment Welfare Package (Overseas)
  • United Nations Operations.

If you were deployed in Libya from 1 July 2011, you should receive payments covering any period of service abroad.

Armed Forces pensions

If you are claiming a war pension, or a war widow or widower pension and you are moving abroad, you should get advice on your pension.

You can get advice from the Serving Personnel and Veterans Agency. Their contact details are:

Telephone from the UK: 0800 169 22 77
Telephone from abroad: + 44 1 253 866043
Email: veterans.help@spva.gsi.gov.uk.

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Help with school fees and childcare costs

If you are currently serving in the Armed Forces, you may be able to claim an allowance to help pay for your child's boarding school fees. You can get more information from the Children's Education Advisory Service. Their contact details are:

Helpline: 01980 618244 (8.30am - 3.30pm Monday to Friday)
Email: enquiries@ceas.detsa.co.uk.

You can buy childcare vouchers to pay for the care of your child. As these are free from tax and national insurance, you can make big savings on the cost of childcare. If you register for the Armed Forces childcare voucher scheme the cost of the vouchers is taken from your pay every month. The vouchers can be used to pay for nursery care, summer camps for teenagers, boarding school fees and many other childcare costs.

You can find more information and application forms on childcare and school fees on the Ministry of Defence Childcare website at: www.modchildcare.co.uk.

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Free and reduced travel costs

Remembrance Travel

The Royal British Legion’s Poppy Travel organises visits to cemeteries, battlefields and memorials across the world. Details of future tours can be found on the website at www.poppytravel.org.uk.

Financial help from the Government is available to war widows and widowers who wish to visit their spouse’s grave or war memorial. This only applies to those who lost a husband or wife overseas before 1967.

For more details, contact Poppy Travel: 01622 716 729.

Veterans travel in London

You can apply to join the Veterans Concessionary Travel Scheme in London if you are:

  • a veteran getting financial help under the War Pensions Scheme
  • a veteran getting regular financial help under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
  • a war widow or war widower getting financial help from the War Pensions or Armed Forces Compensation Schemes.

Under the Veterans Concessionary Travel Scheme, you will be issued with an Oyster photocard. You can use this to travel free at any time within London on the bus, underground, Docklands Light Railway (DLR), tram and London overground services.

You can find out more information about this scheme by contacting Transport for London. Their contact details are:

Helpline: 0845 331 9872 (open Monday to Friday, 9.00am – 5.00pm)
Website: www.tfl.gov.uk.

Veterans bus travel in Scotland

The National Entitlement Card entitles you to free bus travel anywhere in Scotland. If you are a seriously injured veteran with mobility problems you can apply for a National Entitlement Card if you:

have received a lump sum payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme

receive a War Pensioner Mobility Supplement.

Further information is available from Transport Scotland. Their contact details are:

Helpline: 0141 272 7170
Website: www.transportscotland.gov.uk

Service personnel and veterans bus travel in Wales

In Wales, seriously injured service personnel and seriously injured veterans are entitled to a free bus pass and free local bus travel at any time within Wales.

More information about the help available for service personnel and veterans in Wales is available on the Welsh Government website at: wales.gov.uk.

Blue Badge Scheme

You may be eligible for a Blue Badge if you are a disabled veteran or a member of the Armed Forces.

If you are currenty in the Armed Forces and are no longer resident the UK, you or a member of your household can apply to the Ministry of Defence for a blue badge. If you've kept your UK residency, you should apply to your local authority.

For more information about the war disablement pension, see Pension and compensation schemes for the Armed Forces, veterans and their families.

For more information about eligiblilty for the Blue Badge scheme, see

You can find more information on the Blue Badge scheme on the GOV.UK website at www.gov.uk.

Forces Railcard

People serving in the Armed Forces, husbands, wives and

dependant children can buy the HM Forces Railcard. This gives you 1/3 off most rail fares throughout the UK for a year.

War widows or widowers and their dependants who are getting an Armed Forces pension are also eligible for a Railcard.

You can find more information about the Forces Railcard, including how much it costs and the savings you can make, on the HM Forces Railcardwebsite at: www.hmforces-railcard.co.uk.

If you are a war widow or widower you can apply for a Railcard through the Royal British Legion. Contact:

Legionline: 08457 725 725 (open Monday to Friday, 10am – 4pm)
Email: info@britishlegion.org.uk
Website: www.britishlegion.org.uk.

Veterans cannot apply for this railcard.

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Forces discounts

People serving in the Armed Forces, veterans and their families can get discounts for many goods and services.

You can find out more about the discounts available from the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency website at www.veterans-uk.info.

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Further help

More information for the Armed Forces, veterans and their families on Adviceguide

For more education information, see Help with training and qualifications for people leaving the Armed Forces and veterans.

For more health information, see Healthcare for people injured in the Armed Forces and veterans.

For more housing information, see Housing options for people leaving the Armed Forces, veterans and their families.

For more pensions information, see Pension and compensation schemes for the Armed Forces, veterans and their families.

Other organisations

Royal British Legion – England and Wales

The Royal British Legion can offer advice to the Armed Forces, veterans and their families on many issues, including money matters.

Their contact details are:

Legionline: 08457 725 725
Email: info@britishlegion.org.uk
Website: www.britishlegion.org.uk.

Armed Services Advice Project – Scotland

The Armed Services Advice Project (ASAP) offers free, confidential, impartial information, advice and support on a wide range of subjects to the Armed Forces Community in Scotland. This community includes people who are serving, those who have served (whether regular or reserve), and their dependants and members of the Merchant Navy (and their dependants) who served in a commercial vessel in support of certain UK military operations.

To get in touch you can:

  • call the helpline on 0845 231 0300
  • visit the website at www.asapadvice.org.uk for more information about the service
  • ask us to call you. You can use the form on the website to send us your contact details, and a trained adviser will get in touch
  • visit your local bureau. To search for details of your nearest CAB, including those that can give advice by email, click on nearest CAB.

Our clear, practical advice is free. Call charges to the national 0845 number are around 6p per minute from a BT landline (depending on your package). Charges from other networks may vary and mobiles may cost considerably more.

Service Personnel and Veterans Agency

The Service Personnel and Veterans Agency, which is an Agency of the Ministry of Defence (MOD), is the sole Government-funded source of help and advice for veterans. Its website has a lot of useful information for veterans and their families, including on welfare support and other specialist support programmes that are available to veterans. It also provides links to many other veterans organisations.

The Agency also runs a free helpline for veterans, which gives advice on many topics.

The contact details of the Agency are:

Service Personnel and Veterans Agency
Room 8102
Norcross
Thornton Cleveleys
Lancashire
FY5 3WP

Veterans Helpline: 0800 169 2277
Bereavement and textphone line: 0800 169 3458
Email: veterans.help@spva.gsi.gov.uk
Website: www.veterans-uk.info

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