Leaving the Army is a daunting experience for a soldier. During their service in the military, they are used to a very intense physical training. And when they come back to being a civilian, they are isolated, distant to their family members and the community. There will always be a disconnection between the soldier and the community who don’t understand the life of a soldier and their values.
We can consider our veterans the modern heroes. Without them, our country is left without a protector. That’s why we should help support the ex-service men and women in their difficulties and struggles when they are coming back to the civilian life.
Coming back from the military is not an easy feat; it can be terrifying. A soldier resigning their position not only loses his/her job, but also their main source of income. Financial hardship is the first hurdle of coming back to the civilian life. Thankfully, we have organizations that specialized in serving those who have served us.
- Help For Heroes – Help For Heroes helps those who are injured that can be attributable to their service in the Armed Forces. They provide welfare, financial assistance, employment, and family support.
- Officer’s Association – Officer’s Association is a charity only for veterans who had held a commission the the Armed Forces, their widows and dependents. They can help you with private school fees, medical costs, legal expenses, mortgage fees etc.
- Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund – The RAF Benevolent Fund supports both young and older veterans and their immediate family members from injury and illness, financial assistance, disability, emotional well-being, transitioning to civilian life, and living independently. The RAF Benevolent Fund offers Regular Financial Assistance, Unexpected and unaffordable one-off costs, priority bills and debts, state benefits, and temporary financial assistance (see the helpful links at the bottom of this article for more information.)
- The Royal Naval Benevolent Trust – The RNBT supports men and women who is serving and who have served in the Royal Navy or as Royal Marine, and even reservists. They also help the dependent partners and children of the primary beneficiary. The RNBT provides a wide range of financial assistance which includes medical and dental, house repairs, funerals, education, rent, legal expenses etc. Moreover, the RNBT also offers Regular Charitable Payments (RCP) which can provide veterans a quarterly payment of £30 per week.
Debt can be a result of having a financial struggle. A veteran may also face debt problems when returning to the civilian life. The following charities can provide assistance and advice to ex-personnel who are struggling with debt concerns.
- Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund – The RAF Benevolent Fund also offers assistance with priority debts and costs associated with bankruptcy and Debt Relief Orders.
- Seafarer’s Advice & Information Line (SAIL) – SAIL offers debt advice to veterans who served in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and their dependents.
- SSAFA (formerly known as Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Families Association) – The SSAFA provides debt advice from their specialists. Once you are given an advice, they can find ways to help you relieve these priority debts.
“SSAFA were very approachable and were happy to talk through how they could help”. -Amir experienced money problems when he left the Forces so he turned to SSAFA.
The Ministry of Defense may provide soldiers and their families with good quality accommodation. But if you are retiring, this Service Family Accommodation will be also taken away from you. Although their are circumstances that one can retain their SFA, however, for most soldiers, moving out is inevitable.
- Haig Housing – Haig housing is a charity providing housing to ex-service personnel. The Charity now owns 1,500 properties across 50 locations in the UK.
- Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund – The RAF Benevolent Fund also gives financial assistance to help in housing cost and care home fees.
- The Royal British Legion – The RBL owns six care homes for ex-service men and women and their partners around the country ( 4 of 6 have specialist dementia care.)
- Royal British Legion Industries – RBLI can provide housing to ex-servicemen in their community of Armed Forces veterans called “The Village.” The Village started in 1920 when RBLI (formerly Industrial Settlements Incorporated) purchased the Preston Hall who gave home, training and healthcare to more than 240 ex-servicemen and women. Nowadays, The Village features a 2-4 bedroom accommodation, 30 apartments, and 72 family houses with gardens, respite care, and guest facilities. The Village is located in Aylesford.
- Shelter – Shelter provides housing advice and even help finding a place to live for homeless veterans that have nowhere to stay.
- STOLL – STOLL boasts itself as the leading provider of supported housing to veterans. They provide affordable, high-quality housing and support services to veterans.
- St. Vincent’s residential home and Royal Homes Wimbledon– The SSAFA also provides (aside from debt advice) housing advice and support to veterans and their dependents. They also offer housing for veterans and their dependents in St. Vincent’s residential care home, and independent living in Royal Homes Wimbledon.
Employment, Education, and Training
Giving out financial assistance to veterans is one thing. But helping them sustain their lives is another. The following charity may provide veterans with training and education that can lead up to an employment.
- ABF The Soldiers’ Charity – ABF The Soldiers’ Charity gives a lifetime support to soldiers, veterans, and their immediate families when they are in need. Their mantra: “A hand up, not a hand out” signifies they are helping these veterans to make themselves self-sustaining. They provide practical courses to veterans in their transition to the civilian life. These courses include Heavy Goods Vehicle licenses, plumbing and electrical engineering, and even teaching.
- Civvy Street – The Royal British Legion offers employment grants to ex-servicemen and their dependents when they leave the Armed Forces through their employment service: Civvy Street.
- Hire a Hero – Hire a Hero trains veterans, coaches them for their new careers, and help them make the right choices through the transition in the civilian life. You can see their job vacancies here.
- LifeWorks – The Royal British Legion Industries started helping army veterans in fighting tuberculosis after the First World War. They are still supporting ex-servicemen and their dependents nowadays and also started helping people with disabilities and people without jobs. They are boasting an 83% success rate in employment for ex-forces personnel after attending their LifeWorks training.
- The Royal British Legion – If you are a Legion beneficiary with a psychological or physical injury or illness (caused by your service or not), you are entitled to the state disability benefits. These benefits can include Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance, Carer’s Allowance, and Employment and Support Allowance. They also offer Handy Van for small home repairs, care phones for personal alarm, and mobility aids.
Compensation & Services
- Blesma, the Limbless Veterans – Since 1932, Blesma has been the only national Armed Forces charity that supports the limbless throughout the duration of their lives. They help limbless veterans by providing rehabilitation activities and welfare support. They offer financial assistance to its members with the additional costs and hardships of their disabilities. They provide wheelchairs, prosthetic, small home repairs, and legal advice.
- Blind Veterans UK – Blind Veterans UK helps ex-service men and women with significant sight loss. Blind veterans can suffer from social isolation when they are not supported. That’s why Blind Veterans UK provides supports such as rehabilitation & training, care, arts & crafts activities, sports & recreation activities etc.
- The Royal British Legion – The RBL also offers compensation advice and support via the War Pensions Scheme (if injured on or before April 5 2005), and Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (if injured on or after April 6 2005.)
The wrath of war can leave one damaged physically, mentally, and emotionally. Soldiers can experience mental and emotional damage when coming back to civilian life. Issues like PTSD, anxiety, and depression are prevalent. The following organisations may assist you in dealing with these problems.
- Combat Stress – Combat Stress is leading charity for battling mental health issues in UK. They boast to have helped over 3,400 veterans in just the past year. They provide specialized treatment for PTSD, anxiety, and depression giving veterans hope and a future.
- SSAFA – The SSAFA offers services that can support veterans and their dependents in battling mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. They are not offering diagnosing and treatment of these mental health issues but rather offer you with support (financial etc.)
Summary of Helpful Links
- ABF The Soldiers’ Charity – https://soldierscharity.org/
- Blesma, the Limbless Veterans – https://blesma.org/
- Blind Veterans UK – https://www.blindveterans.org.uk/
- Civvy Street – https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-support/employment/civvy-street/employment-grants/
- Combat Stress – https://www.combatstress.org.uk/
- Haig Housing – https://www.haighousing.org.uk/
- Help For Heroes – https://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/get-support/get-support/
- Hire a Hero – http://www.hireahero.org.uk/
- LifeWorks – https://www.wearelifeworks.org.uk/
- Officer’s Association
Grants and Welfare: https://www.officersassociation.org.uk/benevolence/contact-benevolence/
- Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund
Financial Assistance: https://www.rafbf.org/how-we-help/veterans/financial-support
- The Royal British Legion
Care Homes: https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-support/care/care-homes/
Benefit Entitlement: https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-support/finance/help-with-disability-benefits/
Independent Living: https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-support/independent-living/
- Royal British Legion Industries
- The Royal Homes Wimbledon – http://www.theroyalhomeswimbledon.org/
- Royal Naval Benevolent Trust – http://www.rnbt.org.uk/
- Shelter – http://enlgand.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/homelessness/your_situation/ex-services
- STOLL – https://www.stoll.org.uk/
- St. Vincent’s residential care home – http://www.stvincentscare.co.uk/
- Seafarer’s Advice & Information Line – http://sailine.org.uk/
- SSAFA – https://www.ssafa.org.uk/help-you/do-you-need-our-help-or-support