Personal finance can be an emotional subject as well as a complicated one. We break down some of the top money worries and point you in the direction of support. Many ex-service men and women struggle financially after they leave the Forces. It’s important to remember that whatever your financial concerns are, there are plenty of organisations out there who will give you guidance and support.
You may be eligible for benefits upon leaving the Armed Forces – on top of your pension. Child benefit, tax credits, jobseekers allowance or statutory sick pay are just a few of the benefits that your circumstances may make you eligible for. If you’re ill, injured or disabled, there are benefits in place to support you, including the Disabled Facilities Grant which supports you financially to adapt your home for your needs. If you are registered as disabled, you can apply for the blue badge, which lets you park in disabled parking spots. There are also some benefits that are regionally specific – for example, in Wales, seriously injured Service personnel and veterans are entitled to free bus travel.
Home ownership is low in the Armed Forces – 59% of the Navy own their home, and 55% of the RAF are homeowners, and 46% of the Royal Marines, but only 33% of people in the Army own a property. One option is affordable housing: members and ex-members of the Armed Forces have priority status. Applying for a mortgage can feel daunting – remember to get all your details in order and ask as many questions as you can.
Applications can be to banks or building societies, or through a broker. There are also other fees to take into account, such as solicitor’s fees, any reports into the property and Stamp Duty or LBBT – and then there is the monthly repayments. If you’re behind on your mortgage, contact your mortgage provider and ask to start on ‘pre-action protocol’ which will help you with your payments to keep your home.
If you are struggling with debt and feel that you’re not on top of things, then it’s imperative you don’t ignore the situation in the hope that it will go away. Make a list of all your creditors, then divide them into urgent and non urgent. Contact them immediately and explain what the situation is and ask if you can come to an arrangement. You may be able to pay off your debt in a manageable way. Contact your local authority if you have trouble paying your Council Tax – and remember to claim Council Tax Relief if you’ve just returned from deployment.
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