Advice is being offered on Armed Forces pensions as part of Pension Awareness Day.
Veteran's Gateway has teamed up with Forces Pension Society to issue five key facts that everyone should know about their forces pension:
The service aims to connect veterans with the organisations most equipped to deal with their needs.
Since it was launched, pension advice has been one of the most common subjects that individuals seek guidance on.
Forces Pension Advice:
1. If you leave the forces early you must claim your pension yourself. You should claim 3-6 months before you reach the pension age for your scheme. It will not happen automatically. So make sure you remember and, when the time comes, get in touch with Veterans UK.
2. If you have an injury or illness which is caused by something that happened when you were serving you might qualify for a disability award – this is true even if the injury or illness started after you had retired.
3. If you are getting divorced, the arrangements for sharing your pension can be very complicated. You must get legal advice.
4. If you are still serving it can make sense to buy extra pension - this can give you more money in the long run, and the sooner you start to think about this the better.
5. The timing of your retirement can make a difference to the pension you get – it is good to take advice about this.
Neil Brogan, 47, a former sapper who served for nine years including tours in Northern Ireland, Belize and the Falklands, was unaware of his forces pension rights until coming into contact with the Forces Pension Society, through Veterans' Gateway.
After a consultation with the Forces Pension Society, Neil discovered that he was eligible for a lump-sum pension of £7,000 on his 60th birthday followed by annual payments of £2,300.
Neil said: "I'm sure there are others in my position.
"We had some lectures on pensions before I retired from service but, frankly they were difficult to understand."
The Royal British Legion's Household Survey 2014 revealed that one of the biggest challenges people leaving the Armed Forces face is debt and money management, with 16 to 34-year-olds reporting a number of issues around debt, employment and transition into life in civvy street.
David Hatcher, Chairman of Veterans' Gateway, said: "Many people may feel as though it is too late, or they simply are not aware of when, how and if they are eligible for their forces pension.
"We're taking this opportunity to try and bring some clarity to these issues and to encourage anyone who has questions around their pension to contact Veterans' Gateway where they will be connected with one of our expert referral partners in this area who can provide advice based on their individual circumstances.”
Veterans' Gateway connects users with the right organisation that can help on a range of issues including housing, finance, mental health, and employment.
To contact them call: 0808 802 1212 Text: 81212 or visit: www.veteransgateway.org.uk
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