War veteran, 90, backs legion campaign to secure fairer care deal

War veteran Thomas King.
War veteran Thomas King.
  • Royal British Legion calls for a fairer deal for injured veterans
  • Second World War hero Thomas King is supporting the campaign
  • Injured veterans are forced to pay for social care with their war pensions

A 90 year old Second World War veteran is backing a campaign to secure a fairer deal for injured servicemen and women who need long-term care.

The Royal British Legion has called on the government to put a stop to veterans being forced to use their military compensation to pay for social care.

Currently 88 per cent of local councils in Great Britain, including Hertfordshire, use the hard earned compensation to cover the costs of care.

Thomas King, who fought in Burma serving with the Queen’s Royal Regiment, is standing up for the Insult to Injury campaign.

He said: “I think it is absolutely shocking that veterans have to pay for their own social care.”

Under government guidelines only those hurt on or before April 5, 2005 who receive their compensation via the War Pension scheme can be charged.

“I think it is absolutely shocking that veterans have to pay for their own social care.”

Thomas King

Injured veterans on the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme - introduced for those injured on or after April 6, 2005 - do not pay towards their social care.

The Legion is calling for the government to address this irregularity, and set aside funding so that all injured servicemen and women, whenever they were hurt and wherever they live, receive the social care they need without having to use their compensation as payment.

Mr King, who lived in Highfield, Hemel Hempstead, said: “All soldiers who served their country – even if it was 20 years ago or 20 weeks ago – should be treated equally. I don’t have social care needs at the moment but I want to do everything I can to highlight the injustices of the current system.

“It is the inconsistency that annoys me. I can see no reason why Mr A should be treated differently from Mr B.”

Although Mr King currently lives independently, if he ever required home care or needed to move into a residential home his modest war pension would be eaten up in care costs.

Yet in nearby in Buckinghamshire the council has a policy of letting cared for veterans keep hold of their pensions.

Director general of the legion Chris Simpkins said: “Not only is it unfair that war pensioners are treated less favourably than a veteran injured at a later date, but it’s also unfair that war pensioners’ compensation is seen as normal income in means tests for social care.

“The fact that over 99% of councils in England disregard War Pensions for Council Tax support (and 100% of councils in Scotland and Wales), compared to the 12 per cent that do so in social care means tests, shows that politicians recognise that military compensation should not be viewed as income. The Legion is campaigning to put this right so that all injured veterans retain the compensation that is rightfully theirs.”