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Coronavirus: Changes to Veterans UK Services

Due to COVID-19 precautions, all Veterans UK services are operating via remote working and this has meant they have had to change several of their services.

The following statement from Veterans UK was updated on 3 April 2020

''Please be reassured that all Armed Forces Pensions, War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation Scheme regular payments will continue to be made as usual into your nominated account. We are also maintaining urgent welfare support for veterans.

However, these precautions, including our staff working from home, mean that we have had to introduce changes to many of our services, as follows:

Veterans UK Helpline

Unfortunately, we are currently unable to offer a telephone service from the Veterans UK helpline and we apologise for the inconvenience this may cause. Urgent enquiries, including requests for welfare support and for anyone experiencing payment problems, can be sent via email to Veterans-UK@mod.gov.uk . A reply or call back will be provided as quickly as we can but please be aware our reply times may be longer. Urgent emotional support is still available from the Samaritans by calling our helpline 0808 1914 2 18 and pressing option 1.

Veterans Welfare Service Support, Defence Transition Services and Integrated Personal Commissioning For Veterans

To protect our staff and veterans, we have decided to suspend, except in the most exceptional circumstances, all face to face meetings with clients. However, advice, information and support is still available via email and telephone call back. Please email Veterans-UK@mod.gov.uk with your name, national insurance or reference number and contact details and we will be in touch as quickly as we can. See also “Guidance for Service Personnel with imminent discharge dates” below.

War Pension Scheme and Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS)

Please be reassured that all War Pension, War Widows Pension and Armed Forces Compensation Scheme payments will continue to be made as usual into your nominated account.

Unfortunately, due to our staff not being able to attend the office, we are currently unable to process casework, including requests for new claims, reviews, reassessments and appeals until our staff are able to return. However, we have people working remotely who will ensure that no-one will fall out of payment during this time. If you experience a problem with your payments or have an urgent question, please email Veterans-UK@mod.gov.uk and we will reply as quickly as possible or call you back. We are sorry but we are unable to provide an estimate of how long claims will take to process once normal service resumes.

Medical Examinations – War Pensions and AFCS

With effect from 17 March, all planned medical examinations in relation to compensation scheme claims will be cancelled for a period of up to 3 months. All veterans with dates for medical examinations during this period will be contacted direct by the DWP’s Centre for Health and Disability Assessments (CHDA) to confirm cancellation. There is no need to contact the Veterans UK helpline.

Appeal Tribunal Hearings

With effect from 20 March, all appeal hearings against War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation Scheme decisions are being cancelled until further notice. Tribunals usually involve the attendance of veterans and it would be wrong for these to proceed in the current circumstances. The HM Courts and Tribunals Service are contacting all those with appeals affected to confirm this. Hearings will resume as soon as possible. Please read the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary response to COVID-19.

Armed Forces Pensions

Please be reassured that all Armed Forces Pensions payments will continue to be made as usual into your nominated account.

Pension enquiries can still be answered by calling the JPA Enquiry Centre on 0800 085 3600 during the hours of 10am to 4pm.

We are also prioritising work to commence new pension payments due to those leaving the Armed Forces, Death In Service entitlements and Widows and Dependents pensions.

Processing of Early Payment of Preserved Pension applications is being maintained although our timescales may be longer. Applications from individuals who are terminally ill are being prioritised.

Pensions on Divorce administration work is currently suspended - we will recommence this work as soon as the Government’s control measures are relaxed.

Pension transfer work is currently suspended - we will recommence this work as soon as the Government’s control measures are relaxed.

Pension forecast request work and Internal Dispute Resolution Procedures casework has been suspended, although ill health forecasts are continuing to be issued. If you’re currently serving in the armed forces you may wish to use the on line pension calculator to forecast your pension.

We are continuing to review our processes and priorities and updates will be posted at www.gov.uk/veterans-uk as they become available.

Guidance For Service Personnel With Imminent Discharge Dates:

We appreciate that the Covid-19 measures put in place by the government are of a particular concern for those with imminent discharge dates and those in their resettlement and transition phase. The Ministry of Defence and the single services are working hard on temporary emergency policies to address the myriad of issues which the current situation has imposed on us all at this unprecedented time. Once these are published you will be informed through a variety of means (initially your chain of command).

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), who manage the defence estate, are working on temporary policies concerning move out of Service Family Accommodation (SFA).

The MOD and the Career Transition Partnership have published advice on resettlement activities. Please read the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) response to COVID-19 for MOD guidance and link to an FAQ on resettlement.

Service personnel should get in touch initially with their chain of command through their unit, as that is how the information will be disseminated initially and it will require chain of command involvement for any measures which may affect retention or discharge.

Ongoing support remains in place through the Career Transition Partnership for employment support /resettlement related activities. Please read the Career Transition Partnership FAQsand for those who are receiving wider transition support through Defence Transition Services(DTS).

Please see the Veterans UK Helpline information above to request welfare support.

Medals

Regrettably all enquiries and applications to the MOD Medal Office will be unanswered until full operational services can resume. If you are wanting to apply to obtain either a medal entitlement or a physical medal(s) for either yourself or a relative please follow the guidance on the medals GOV.UK page. We will then deal with your application as soon as we are able to return to normal working. We acknowledge that this may be frustrating, but your patience and understanding in such unprecedented circumstances is appreciated.

General information on medals can still be obtained by calling the JPA Enquiry Centre on 0800 085 3600 during the hours of 10am to 4pm.

Source: Ministry of Defence/Veterans UK

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