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Armed Forces: Social Security Benefits

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 6th February 2020.

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Photo of Henry Smith Henry Smith Conservative, Crawley

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on having the benefits system for current and former service personnel administered by his Department.

Photo of Johnny Mercer Johnny Mercer Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)

No such discussions have taken place. In 2000, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) took on the administration of the War Pension Scheme from the Department for Work and Pensions as a discrete Scheme with benefit recipients who were already confirmed as veterans or widow/ers. However, the MOD is not resourced to take on the administration of the entire benefits system for all Service personnel and veterans and I have seen no evidence to suggest that such a change is required. In addition, there would be very significant logistical and administrative barriers to overcome, were such a change to be effected; MOD officials advise that over four million veterans records would have to be digitised to create a definitive database of all veterans.

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