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Ex-services organisations

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.

Contact details:

Phone: 0800 731 4880
Email: Email form

The 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 help getting into rented accommadation. They also have a Handy Vans service to help with 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.

You can apply by email or by contacting their helpline.

Contact details:

The Royal British Legion Contact Centre helpline: 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.

Contact details:
Support line: 0800 169 2942 
Address: 67 Portland Place, London, W1B 1AR

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.

Contact details:

Phone: 020 7402 5231 (Monday to Friday, 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.

Contact details:

Phone: 0207 901 8900


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.

Contact details:

Phone: 0131 557 2782
Support line: 0131 550 1557

Seafarers UK

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.

Contact details:

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 (15th edition)
Rachel Cain & Jennifer Reynolds
Published by the Directory of Social Change, 2016
ISBN 978 1 78482 005 3

Information and help