Wigan former soldier hits out at war pensions and allowances system

Former serviceman Paul Hull
Former serviceman Paul Hull

A former soldier from Wigan has heavily criticised the system looking after the war pensions those who have served on the front line receive.

Paul Hull, from Swinley, says Veterans UK leaves ex-military personnel embroiled in long battles to get money to support them back on Civvy Street.

Other news: More than 4,000 neglected children in need of support in Wigan

Mr Hull, who spent seven years in the Army, says he is making his fourth claim and has been to two tribunals.

Despite that he says he is still not receiving the Lower Standard of Occupation Allowance for a condition called cervical spondylosis in his neck.

Mr Hull says veterans claiming war pensions and disability support money face a lack of communication and support from Veterans UK and this increases the length of time the whole process takes as information gets missed out as people struggle to fill in the applications.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD), though, has strongly denied that veterans are left to get on with their claims alone.

Mr Hull, 36, said: “I know people, myself included, who have been fighting their applications for between one and three years.

“I have been in the process of getting Lower Standard of Occupation Allowance for a year now and it is probably going to go on for another fewmonths.

“It took 12 months to get an outcome on my original appeal and if you want to appeal I guarantee that is at least six to eight months.

“Last year I was awarded an increase on my war pension which was backdated and that entitled me to apply for Lower Standard of Occupation Allowance, but no information is carried over. When claiming you have to provide all the evidence again.

“It’s all a waiting game. There are lads who’ve got post traumatic stress disorders and they are waiting months for money which could help them if they’re entitled to it. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

“When you ring them all they say is that they’ve got a backlog.”

An MOD spokesperson said: “Although we cannot discuss the details of individual cases, each case is considered on its own merits in accordance with legislation.

“As well as administering the compensation schemes, Veterans UK provides a dedicated welfare service offering help and advice to veterans, their families and dependents. This includes help with completing forms and ensuring appropriate benefits are applied for.”