Injured veterans let down by War Pensions Scheme says MP

Wednesday January 19th 2022

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Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Midlothian MP Owen Thompson has called for an independent inquiry into failures of the UK Government’s War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation schemes, after injured veterans report a lengthy and stressful struggle to get the level of payouts they need.

The system, administered by Veterans UK (part of the Ministry of Defence) is set up to provide compensation for veterans who have an injury or illness which has been caused or made worse by their service. Mr Thompson says there are serious concerns about the complexity, lack of transparency and impartiality of the assessment process, with veterans regularly finding claims rejected despite the medical reports provided, forcing them into a lengthy and difficult appeals system. Many veterans report giving up on their claims, while others are driven into poverty and face deteriorating mental health, he says.

Mr Thompson has tabled an Early Day Motion calling for an inquiry into the failings of the system.

Commenting, Mr Thompson said:-

“I have heard appalling stories of veterans who were physically or mentally harmed during their service being left to struggle for years to get the fair compensation they are due.

“We all owe an immense debt of gratitude to our servicemen and woman, but the government is failing in their duty of care to injured veterans.

“It’s increasingly clear that the War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation scheme is simply not fit for purpose. The lengthy, non-transparent process seems designed to make things as difficult as possible for injured veterans to get their payments, not to make their lives easier.

“Assessors from UK Veterans seem to regularly reject applications despite the medical reports provided, leaving veterans to struggle with a complex and stressful appeals process. One constituent with complex PTSD tells me he has been battling Veterans UK for a decade, to the serious detriment of his mental health. This is simply scandalous.

“The UK Government are good at making shiny announcements about supporting veterans but the reality is they are letting them down with a system which treats them more like criminals than heroes.”

“Injured veterans need support from government, not a stressful fight for fairness. It’s time for a root-and-branch inquiry to tackle these issues, fix the system and make sure all veterans get the respect and the support that they deserve.”

Text of Owen Thompson’s Early Day Motion (published 19/1/2022)

“That this House believes that the current process for claiming War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation payments is not fit for purpose and drives many veterans to give up on claims, severely deteriorates many veterans’ mental health, drives many into poverty, and increases the risk of suicides; applauds our veterans for the immense sacrifices they have made and believes that all veterans deserve to be fairly compensated for injury, illness and death caused by their time in service; but is deeply concerned about the mental health impact on veterans of the complexity, lack of transparency and lack of impartiality in the process of putting in a claim, requesting a review of evidence and engaging with the War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation Tribunal, which results in too many veterans not getting the level of payment they need and then facing complex processes in order to get an increase; believes that serious questions must be answered with regards to the use of Veterans UK medical assessors in assessing claims, in particular the practice of the same medical assessor assessing a veteran’s claim at three separate stages of the process instead of separate assessors being used to ensure impartiality and a range of opinions; is deeply concerned by reports of medical evidence and paperwork being removed from veterans’ evidence bundles by Veterans UK during the tribunal process; and calls on the Government to honour its duty of care to veterans by launching an independent inquiry into the failings of the current system.”

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