What is the War Pensions Scheme?
This scheme gives money to ex-service personnel for any disablement caused by service. It’s administered by Veterans UK on behalf of the Ministry of Defence.
You may be eligible for a War Disablement Pension if your hearing loss is the result of military service or wartime experiences, such as military noise, before 6 April 2005. If you were injured on or after 6 April 2005, your claim will be considered under The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS).
You don’t need to have paid national insurance contributions to get a War Disablement Pension. It's also not means-tested, which means your level of income or savings doesn’t affect your claim.
If you're a widow or widower of a war pensioner you may also be eligible for a War Widow’s or Widower’s Pension – contact Veterans UK to find out more.
There are two main types of awards:
- pension – an ongoing payment paid weekly or monthly
- gratuity – a lump sum payment.
How do I qualify?
You must be at least 20% disabled from service-related, noise-induced, hearing loss to qualify for a pension. You will be assessed as 20% disabled or more if your hearing loss in each ear averaged over 1, 2 and 3 kHz is at least 50 decibels (dB).
To make a claim, your hearing loss doesn’t have to be caused by active service or combat. For example, if your hearing loss was caused by an injury on a military base, or by an ear infection linked to service, you can still claim.
What if my hearing loss results in less than 20% disablement?
It depends on the type of your hearing loss. There are two main sorts:
If you have sensorineural hearing loss caused by chronic exposure to loud noise, you won’t receive any gratuity or pension if your disablement is less than 20%. But if you have conductive hearing loss due to service resulting in less than 20% disablement, you will be paid a gratuity.
What about tinnitus?
Separate awards are not paid for tinnitus. But, if your tinnitus is ‘part and parcel’ of your noise-induced sensorineural hearing loss, which is accepted as being due to service, and assessed at more than 20%, an additional allowance may be made.
How do I make a claim?
If you are medically discharged from service through injury, your claim under the scheme may be automatically assessed, otherwise, you need to fill in an claim form. Most ex-service organisations will also offer you help and advice on how to complete your claim form.
There’s no time limit for claiming, but it's often easier if you make your claim quickly.
What happens next?
Once you've submitted your claim:
- A hearing test may be arranged and the results recorded on a chart known as an audiogram
- A doctor will look at your service medical records, audiograms and other information, including medical records, to determine the type of hearing loss and whether it was due to service
- If accepted as due to service, your level of hearing loss is then assessed and your hearing loss converted into a ‘disablement percentage’.
How much will I get?
Your disablement assessment will affect how much pension you get. Plus, the rates change every April so contact Veterans UK for up-to-date information.
In addition to a basic War Disablement Pension, you may be entitled to the following war pension allowances.
- Unemployability Supplement
- War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- Exceptionally Severe Disablement Allowance
- Lowered Standard of Occupation Allowance
- Clothing Allowance
- Comforts Allowance
- Age Allowance.
A War Disablement Pension may affect other benefits you receive. Contact Veterans UK for more information.
To find out more, see our factsheet War Pensions Scheme