Armed Forces Charity Sees Calls Increase To Their Helpline

An Armed Forces charity is reporting a jump in calls from veterans and serving troops - with many concerned about debt and suicidal thoughts.

SSAFA says its helpline has received an 11% increase in calls from retired and serving personnel in the first half of 2018 compared to last year.

It saw 14,339 incoming calls or emails compared to 12,888 for the same period in 2017.

Debt is one of the main reasons for incoming contacts to Forcesline with advisors also seeing an increase in calls from those having negative and suicidal thoughts. 

The charity says changes to disability benefit eligibility caused finances to be "cut to the bone".

Recent research from SSAFA found 87% of veterans helped by SSAFA had experienced financial problems since leaving the Armed Forces with the average net household income under £17,000 per year. 

As a result, 79% of veterans surveyed said they struggled to make ends meet at the end of the month.

Bill Grant, Forcesline Manager at SSAFA, said:

“Despite the concerning increase in the number of calls to Forcesline, it is reassuring that the Armed Forces community feels comfortable contacting our service for support. 

“It’s important to us that we always give our callers the space to talk through the challenges they are facing so we can best support them. 

"If you are a member of the Armed Forces, a veteran or a family member of someone who has served and in need of practical, emotional or financial advice, we are here for you.”

SSAFA's Forcesline advisors are being closely supported and trained to find the best way to deal with these calls.

A government spokesperson said:

“We deeply value the welfare of our serving personnel and veterans, and we encourage anyone in need to take advantage of the range of support available.

"This includes our two 24 hour helplines which can provide advice on topics from mental health to housing and finances.

"We are also committed to ensuring disabled people get the right financial support and are spending more than £50 billion a year to support them and those with health conditions."

If you are a member of the Armed Forces, veteran or a family member in need, you can contact Forcesline on 0800 731 4880.

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