John Pitt-Brooke, general secretary of the Forces Pension Society, explains what the organisation has to offer you
I am delighted to offer a warm welcome to Advance, a magazine which will I know help those managing the transition from service to civilian life. Just as we do.
I hope Advance prospers and brings much-needed information and assistance to many people.
For the Forces Pension Society, Armed Forces pensions are at the heart of transition. How much will people receive? Will it come as a lump sum or a regular pension? And when? And what can be done to influence that sum? And how secure will the arrangement be? These are vital questions, and they need to be answered clearly and with authority.
That is where we at the Forces Pension Society come in. We exist to help our members answer questions such as these and to talk to them about their pension entitlement, now and in the future. We pride ourselves on our very deep expertise in these areas and on the tremendous care, discretion, and attention to detail with which we deal with each and every members’ enquiry.
Our membership is rising steeply and is now higher than ever, at almost 50,000. As the head of the Society, every Monday morning I receive our latest membership figures and every Monday morning we break the record we had set the previous week! Why is this? In part because of our high reputation; in part because since the introduction of the 2015 scheme the pensions landscape has become so complex; and in part because of what can seem to be the inability of the Ministry of Defence to explain pensions issues with any kind of clarity or persuasiveness.
So what does the future hold? Well, we shall have to see how the new government settles down and what are its priorities are for the Armed Forces. Before the general election there was no shortage of rumour about changes in the pension landscape – maybe even a brand new pension scheme – and we await announcements on this with close interest. Such is the expertise of the Society that we will have to be closely consulted over any proposed changes.
There are also, now as at any time, a number of difficult individual cases in which we are engaged with the MOD; in particular the tragic case of Charlotte Hughes, whose husband Sergeant Hughes died without amending his nomination form in his wife’s favour with the result that his death benefit lump sum has not gone to her. This is another aspect of the Society’s work for its members and for the Armed Forces community as a whole. This is vital work which affects us all.
The Society is very active indeed among those approaching and into the resettlement process, and that’s why we are delighted to have Advance alongside us – I hope you will find each of us a valuable feature of the transition landscape. You can certainly expect to see us again in these pages!
For more information about the work of the Forces Pension Society, visit our website at www.forcespensionsociety.org or contact us at 68 South Lambeth Road, Vauxhall, London, SW8 1RL. Tel: 020 7820 9988 or email: [email protected]