Soldiers Being Let Down By The System
24 June 2019, 09:09 | Updated: 24 June 2019, 09:16
A veteran from Barrow says Universal credit is making it difficult for those coming out of the forces
Former armed forces personnel are being let down by a social security system that fails to give adequate support when they fall on hard times.
Veterans found it difficult to navigate the social security system, with universal credit adding more difficulty, the study commissioned by the Forces in Mind Trust charity said.
Chris Altree, who served in the Royal Signals in Afghanistan and the Falklands, said: "Veterans in Barrow and Furness and across the country are being sold terribly short by this government.
"It goes way beyond party politics, if you have been in an environment like Helmand then you do understand how your fellow soldiers can be affected, often permanently. I am particularly angered by the way the 'fit for work' interviews have been conducted.
The report highlighted incidents including how one soldier underwent a fit-for-work test where he was not asked a single question about his post traumatic stress disorder even though that was the main reason he was on benefits.
The soldier said: "They were asking me about how far I could walk and could I move my arms and legs, and pretty much that was it. There was nothing at all about mental health."
The research conducted 120 in-depth interviews with 68 veterans claiming social security benefits and their families, in two phases between 2017 and 2019. The sample ranged in age from 18 to 65 and the majority had served in the army. Most were men, and most had mental or physical disabilities.