Help for Heroes calls on government to remove unfair financial benefit barriers for Veterans suffering from chronic pain

Help for Heroes, the UK’s leading Armed Forces and veterans’ charity, has today launched a campaign, pressuring the government to remove unfair barriers to financial support for veterans, including amputees and those suffering from chronic pain.

If successful, this would ensure veterans receive the compensation and financial support they deserve. It would prevent the exclusion of those living with chronic pain due to their service and end multiple assessments for amputees who often must re-prove their entitlement every two years to qualify for benefits.

To bring about this change, Help for Heroes is rallying the public to sign its open petition with the aim of receiving 100,000 signatures which if successful would require the issue to be considered for debate in Parliament.

To sign the petition please visit here.

Help for Heroes believes the Ministry of Defence is currently out of step with medical guidance and that too many veterans are having to fight the system to get the compensation and financial support they deserve – often while battling physical or mental illness and injuries from service.

The petition is also calling for an end to compensation being classed as income when considering benefits and pensions.

Chronic pain is recognised by the World Health Organisation as pain that persists for more than three months. In 2022, 78%* of veterans with long-term health conditions who sought support from Help for Heroes struggled with long-term pain.

Chronic pain affects around 15.5 million people in England (34% of adults)**, and can lead to depression and feelings of hopelessness, as well as impacting employability or exacerbating isolation, loneliness, and poor mental health.

For veterans who suffer from chronic pain, it can hinder common day to day activities such as sitting, standing, and queuing at the shops with moderate levels of pain being shown to negatively impact sleep patterns.***

Help for Heroes patron, veteran and sports presenter JJ Chalmers is backing the campaign, bringing on his experience with chronic pain caused by life-changing injuries suffered from an IED blast whilst serving in Afghanistan.

He said:

“Living with chronic pain brought on by my injuries in service is the most debilitating aspect of my disability. I will still need more surgeries in the future, and for the thousands of veterans in the UK who also suffer, being able to receive the compensation they deserve will be a small but vital step towards making their lives better in a way they absolutely deserve.”  

You can read JJ’s full story here

Former servicewoman Vicki Ross who served 22 years in the Army and now plays for Leicester Tigers’ wheelchair rugby team, has struggled with chronic pain for more than a decade.

Vicki, 46, said:

“I’ve got severe osteoarthritis – my doctor says I’ve got the knees of a 90-year-old woman who’s run a marathon every day of her life.  

“Exercising a lot is something I prided myself on in my military career. I was always fit. I always passed the men’s standards set back in those days. I always wanted to be that role model for everybody.  

“Chronic pain affects many everyday tasks – driving is painful, even getting out of the car can be quite difficult” explained Vicki, from Leek near Staffordshire, who was medically discharged from the Army in 2022.  

Specialist one-to-one counselling from Help for Heroes has helped her cope with the debilitating chronic pain that she suffers because of her service.

Alexandra Lovett, Lead Occupational Therapist at Help for Heroes, said:

“We believe chronic pain should be recognised more widely, and with greater transparency, by the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. It would simplify the process for veterans where potential compensation routes may already exist.  We believe the system fails to adequately consider the lifelong and extensive impact of this condition on a significant proportion of veterans.”   

Help for Heroes has supported more than 30,000 ex-Armed Forces and their families and is the only military charity with a dedicated Clinical team providing physical healthcare.

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By @Cobseo 54 years ago

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In light of recent events in Afghanistan, please find information and support resources here