Less Staff Means Less Help For Injured Veterans

veteransWith fewer staff dealing with cases of injured or disabled veterans, many have been left unemployed, without income and a heightened mental anguish. Ms Temour described the situation by saying: “You’ve got to adapt to a completely new environment and to your injuries… But you can’t move on with your life until it’s sorted.” The waiting time for compensation claims has reportedly increased from 82 days in 2012, to 219 days in 2014.

Despite Veterans UK claiming their service is in fact improving, a letter seen by the BBC from Defence Minister Anna Soubry, revealed they were aware of a backlog, and that staff were under extreme pressure. Last year, claims increased by 36,000, a total of 16 percent.

Alex Ford, 44, referred to the delays as a “little form of torture.” He suffered from a slipped disc, and then have to take redundancy in 2012 to care for his wife, who suffered from back injuries whilst serving as a staff sergeant. He was diagnosed with depressed six months after returning from Afghanistan, however did not receive any compensation until May 2014.

veteransA similar scenario occurred with Chris Yates who worked for the Royal Engineers. In 2011, he was struck by a truck tailgate that had given way. As a result, he suffered from prolapsed discs, a paralysed bladder, severe kidney damage and also mental side effects, such as depression.

He applied for compensation in early 2012, however was only given an interim payment of £3,000 in February 2013, and told his case would be reviewed one year later. However when he rang back this year, he was repeatedly told to call back, and later told his case had been passed on to a case worker. In other words, he had been put into another queue. He was then told he would have to wait for another few weeks, because they were dealing with thousands of backlogged cases. Yates was medically discharged in 2014, meaning he is awating his pension. However in the meantime, all his income has stopped and he is unable to work.

Although MOD maintain they are doing their best and services are improving, many argue more needs to be done to help injured veterans. Madeline Moon, an MP who sits on the defence select committee, criticized the government who have blamed the backlog on an increasing claim culture, and the 12,000 redundancies in the armed forces since 2011. She stated it was extremely offensive, to talk about a claiming culture when these men and women had put their lives and future on the line to serve our country.

Michael Lewin

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