Ex Service Members

Key Considerations For Ex-Service Personnel

The serving and ex-service community may encounter a unique combination of issues that can place them in a particularly vulnerable position with their gas and electricity.

This article looks at some of some of the support available and key considerations for ex-service personnel, as some will be managing their own gas and electricity accounts for the first time.

Long-term health problems compared to the general population.

A Royal British Legion (RBL) report found that 60% of ex-service personnel are in employment compared to 73% of the general population. Veterans aged 16 - 64 are more likely to have reported long-term health problems compared to the general population (24% compared to 13%).

Within the 16 - 34 age group, the RBL reports that 1 in 4 veterans are in arrears and 1 in 20 has taken out a payday loan.

Impact on Energy Payment.

A combination of the above issues may leave an ex-service member struggling to manage their gas and electricity.

The transition to civilian life may cause problems with establishing household accounts, alongside a potential risk of having a lower income and health problems. In some cases, this can lead to self-rationing and self-disconnection from supply.

Impact on Energy Payment.

An important transitional time to support a service member is when they are moving into a new property.

One of the first steps is to set the householder up as soon as possible with their supplier, so not to encounter arrears or payment difficulties further down the line.

If they are unsure who the current supplier is, they can contact the Meter Point Reference Line on 0870 608 1524 to find out their gas supplier and the regional electricity distribution number for the electric. Numbers can be found here.

  • Energy Supplier Switching

    Once an account is established and payment methods are set up, comparisons can then be carried out across the market to find out if better deals are available. See our Saving money by switching: Focus on Article for further tips.

  • Priority Services Register

    If the householder has additional health issues/vulnerabilities, see the Priority Services Register: Focus on Article for additional advice for signing people up to this extra help service.

  • Warm Home Discount

    It may also be beneficial to check eligibility for the Warm Home Discount scheme. Extra advice can be found here on this scheme.

  • Additional Resources

    There are several resources on this website which could provide ex-service members with advice around their bills, reading their meters and using their central heating system. These advice leaflets can be found here.

Energy Suppliers: Arrears Trust Funds

Some suppliers offer trust funds to customers who have gas and electricity arrears: see here for further support on applying for help with fuel debts.

If an ex-service member has found that they are struggling with their energy and are in arrears, it is advisable to contact their supplier as soon as possible to discuss these difficulties and to see what options are available.

Other Sources Of Support:

The Veterans Gateway

The Veterans Gateway is a useful initial source of information to search for what support is available nationally and locally. There are also several self-help resources on the website around housing/employment/training and finances. You can see further signposting and support here. There are advisors on hand to offer further support on 0808 802 1212 or you can text your contact details to 81212 to receive a call back.

The Royal British Legion and SSAFA

The Royal British Legion and SSAFA offer support to ex-service personnel and are well placed to find welfare and support in several regions.

The Royal British Legion gateway number will direct referrals to the right team and can be contacted on 0808 802 8080. Local SSAFA offices can be located here.

Local Authorities

Local authorities may offer an Armed Forces Outreach Service to help veterans transition into civilian life through accessing income or benefit advice/employment/training and health advice.

Veterans UK

Veterans UK is a service offered through the Ministry of Defence and provides advice around housing, benefits and welfare. They can be contacted on veterans-uk@mod.uk or 0808 1914 218.

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