Social Services: Veterans

Department of Health written question – answered on 23rd February 2015.

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Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb The Minister of State, Department of Health

This Government has made a clear commitment, through the Armed Forces Covenant, which we enshrined in legislation in 2011, to support members of the Armed Forces Community, which includes both serving personnel and veterans.

Social care has never been free and people have always been asked to make a contribution based on what they can afford. However, we know that the current system for paying for care no longer reflects the needs of today’s society which is why we are in the process of introducing the biggest reforms in over 65 years.

The War Pensions Scheme, which predates the introduction of the welfare state, provides a range of allowances in addition to the basic war disablement pension. Some of these allowances are designed to specifically pay for the ongoing care costs associated with an individual’s disability and these are paid at a preferential rate, meaning that a war pensioner does not have to use their basic war disablement pension to meet these costs or seek other benefits to cover them.

The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme that was introduced in 2005 operates differently and is therefore currently treated differently in assessing what a person can afford to contribute to the cost of their care. However, officials in the Department have been working closely with the Royal British Legion to assess how the two schemes might be aligned under the social care charging rules in future.

Alongside this we are in the process of introducing much wider reforms to how we pay for social care that will make the system fairer for everyone, including veterans. At the moment, someone who is unlucky enough to have the highest care needs can risk losing all they have to meet the cost of their care. These reforms will mean that, for the first time ever, everyone will be protected from the risk of catastrophic care costs. The proposals are currently out for consultation and can be found at:

www.careact2016.dh.gov.uk

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