Europe

Anger over ‘costly and stressful’ payouts process for injured Army veterans

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Latest figures for the Armed Force’s Compensation Scheme show that 51 per cent of injury appeals between April 2010 and March 2021 resulted in successful outcomes, including a new award or increased support.

Hannah Pearce, of the Royal British Legion, said: “Decision-makers need to get claims right first time. Injured veterans and bereaved families are being forced to undertake stressful and lengthy processes as they challenge unfair decisions, adding insult to injury after serving their country.

“The RBL said it was now pushing for “urgent improvements” to the scheme.

Shadow armed forces minister Kevan Jones said: “These figures show that, time and time again, legitimate compensation claims by our Armed Forces are being turned down by the Government they served.

“Members of the Armed Forces deserve to have their claims considered seriously in the first instance, not stretched out into a costly and stressful appeals process.”

The scheme was also attacked by charity Help for Heroes. Its spokesman said: “We believe it is immoral that veterans already dealing with the burden of mental and physical wounds have to fight for what we believe is rightfully theirs. Some veterans are wrongly discharged without diagnosis, hindering their ability to claim compensation.”

He said many veterans are reluctant to appeal, or do not know how to, and the process can make PTSD worse.

ProfWalter Busuttil, from the charity Combat Stress, said: “The system seems pitted against the veterans’ claims, making it an overly long and protracted process.”

The Ministry of Defence said: “We’re extremely grateful for the contribution our people make, so compensation claims are not decided lightly. All decisions carefully factor in a range of points, including medical history and type of service.”

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