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How ex-service organisations help

The following list of charities form a huge interconnected network of support organisations. These organisations co-ordinate their efforts to relieve any financial distress suffered by current and former members of the armed services as best they can. Seafarers UK also provides financial help to others who made their living at sea, such as merchant seamen and fishermen.

There are others. Ask for this book in your local library. It provides a more complete list - 

A guide to grants for individuals in need 2013-2014
Jude Doherty and Jonny Morris
Published by the Directory of Social Change, 13th edition, March 2013
ISBN 978 1 906294 670


Soldiers', Sailors' and Airmen's Families Association (SSAFA) Forces Help

SSAFA Forces Help provides a range of services including financial support, practical support, emotional support, and advice to anyone who has served in HM Forces and their families. They include merchant mariners and their families if they served on operations.

SSAFA can arrange small financial supplements, funding for the purchase of wheelchairs or major equipment such as stair lifts, and may even cover the cost of medical treatment abroad. When you apply you are assigned your own personal case worker. Your case worker will often try to raise the money you need from a number of sources. 

Because each case is considered individually, there are no hard and fast rules governing support in relation to your financial status. You may possess capital, but if this is accounted for in care costs, then supplementary financial support can still be arranged by SSAFA. Every application is considered on merit. Applications can be made directly to

Central office
4, St Dunstan's Hill

Phone: 0845 241 7141
Email: Email form
Website: www.ssafa.org.uk


Royal British Legion

Financial support and information for all ex-servicemen and women and their dependants in need. The Royal British Legion may offer financial support for immediate needs, such as household equipment, funeral costs or moving for example. It also has a loans scheme for ex-service people who need to fund essential repairs on their property. The British Legion website has lots of information about convalescent facilities, residential homes, employment opportunities, housing and medical support and sheltered housing.

To be eligible you need to be a current or former member of the armed forces or their dependant. This includes the Territorial Army. You only need to have received 7 days pay, although length of service may affect the amount of support you receive. Apply for support through local branches of the Royal British Legion. For your local branch contact

The Royal British Legion Information Line (Legionline)
Phone: 0808 802 8080 (Every day, 8am to 8pm)
Website: www.britishlegion.org.uk


RAF Benevolent Fund

This organisation provide a range of financial and practical support. The Fund can help with care home fees and day to day living expenses, particularly for people who are retired or have long term illness or disability.  They will give advice on debt, benefits and managing finances.  Eligibility is limited to current and former RAF and WRAF personnel and their dependants.

Serving personnel should contact their Flight Commander or Chief Clerk, who will arrange the application. Former personnel should call the support line or apply in writing or online.

RAF Benevolent Fund
67 Portland Place, 
W1B 1AR 
Phone: 0207 580 8343
Fax: 020 7636 7005
Freephone: 0800 169 2942 (support line)
Email: mail@rafbr.org.uk
Website: www.rafbf.org.uk


Association of Royal Navy Officers (ARNO)

Provides a range of financial and practical support which may include care home fees, medical equipment, and modifications to property in order to accommodate disability. Funds are also available for private medical treatment should National Health Service care be delayed. Eligibility is limited to serving and retired officers of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, QARNNS, WRNS and the Reserves and their dependents who are in financial distress. Applications should be made direct to ARNO.

Association of Royal Navy Officers (ARNO),
70 Porchester Terrace
W2 3TP
Phone: 020 7402 5231 (Mon to Thur, 9am to 4.30pm)
Website: www.arno.org.uk
Email: asec@arno.org.uk


ABF - The Soldier's Charity

This charity used to be called the Army Benevolent Fund.  It provides financial help to all soldiers and their families who are in need. They provide debt relief, mobility assistance, education bursaries, care home fees and respite breaks. All serving and former army personnel are eligible. Servicemen and women who are still serving apply through their Corps or Regimental Association. Former services personnel should approach the SSAFA (see above) or The Royal British Legion, who will assign them a caseworker who will then approach The Soldier's Charity.

ABF The Soldier's Charity
Mountbarrow House
6-20 Elizabeth Street
Phone: 0207 901 8900
Fax: 0207 901 8901
Website: www.soldierscharity.org



Provides financial and practical support, for example by small grants to help with house repairs, household goods and other items. They also offer disabled ex-servicemen  financial help with mobility problems. There are also employment and advice lines and help with holidays, small business loans and re-training grants. Eligibility is limited to all former servicemen, their widows and dependants who live in Scotland (you don't have to be Scottish).

New Haig House,
Logie Green Road,
Phone: 0131 557 2782
Fax: 0131 557 5819

Support line: 0131 550 1557
Email: GetHelp@poppyscotland.org.uk
Website: www.poppyscotland.org.uk

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Updated: 15 October 2014