These charities offer financial support to current and former members of the armed services, and those who make their living at sea.
SSAFA - The Armed Forces Charity
This charity provides financial, practical and emotional support to anyone who has served in HM Forces and their families. This includes merchant mariners if they served on operations.
SSAFA can arrange small financial supplements, funding for equipment like wheelchairs or stair lifts and even the cost of medical treatment abroad.
There are no fixed rules about support in relation to your financial status. The charity considers every application individually.
Phone: 0800 731 4880
Email: Email form
Royal British Legion
This charity provides financial support and helpful information for all ex-service people and their dependants in need.
You may be able to get financial support for immediate needs, such as household equipment, funeral costs or moving. There’s also a loans scheme to help you fund essential repairs on your property.
To qualify, 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 how long you served might affect the amount of support you receive.
You apply through your local branch, which you can find by contacting the head office.
The Royal British Legion Information Line (Legionline)
Phone: 0808 802 8080 (Every day, 8am to 8pm)
Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund
This organisation provides a range of financial and practical support. It can help with care home fees and day to day living expenses, especially if you're retired or have a long term illness or disability. It can also give advice on debt, benefits and managing finances.
To qualify, you need to be a current or former member of RAF or WRAF, or a dependant. If you're a serving member, contact your Flight Commander or Chief Clerk - they'll arrange the application. If you're a former member, call the support line or apply in writing or online.
Phone: 0207 580 8343
Fax: 020 7636 7005
Freephone: 0800 169 2942 (support line)
Association of Royal Naval Officers (ARNO)
This organisation provides financial and practical support. This may include care home fees, medical equipment, and adapting a property to help with disability. It can also help with the cost of private medical treatment if NHS care is delayed.
To qualify, you need to be a serving or retired officer of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, QARNNS, WRNS and the Reserves or a dependent, and in financial distress.
Phone: 020 7402 5231 (Monday to Thursday, 9am to 4.30pm)
ABF The Soldiers' 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. This includes debt relief, mobility assistance, education bursaries, care home fees and respite breaks.
All serving and former army personnel are eligible. If you’re still serving, apply through your Corps or Regimental Association. If you’re no longer serving, get in touch with SSAFA or The Royal British Legion (details above). They’ll give you a caseworker who will then approach ABF The Soldier's Charity.
This charity provides financial and practical support. For example, it can provide small grants to help with house repairs, household goods and other items. It also helps disabled ex-service people with mobility problems.
They have employment and advice helplines and can provide help with holidays, small business loans and grants for retraining.
To qualify, you need to be a former member of the armed forces or a member of their family, and live in Scotland. You don’t have to be Scottish.
Phone: 0131 557 2782
Support line: 0131 550 1557
This charity provides financial help to seafarers in need and their families. It's for people who made their living at sea, such as those in the Merchant Navy, Royal Navy, Royal Marines and fishing fleets.
Seafarers UK doesn't give grants to individuals. It gives them to organisations who provide support for individuals.
Phone: 020 7932 0000
For a more complete list of charities offering grants, ask for this book in your local library.
The Guide to Grants for Individuals in Need 2016-2017
Rachel Cain & Jennifer Reynolds
Published by the Directory of Social Change, 15th edition, March 2016
ISBN 978 1 78482 005 3