Veterans and Dependants
Identifying the precise number of veterans in any area, especially at county level, is notoriously difficult. Following its first major survey in 2005, The Royal British Legion (TRBL) conducted a comparative study in 2014 to estimate current and projected numbers of veterans and dependants in the UK and identify their health and wellbeing needs (see below).
- Ex-Service Community Survey Report
Results of the 2014 RBL household survey of armed forces veterans in the UK. It estimates the size, and identifies the health and wellbeing needs of the ex-service community.
While this is a respected and authoritative piece of research, to merely apply national prevalence figures to the Somerset population requires the assumption that the county is representative of the nation as a whole.
For instance, by applying the national proportions of:-
- Veterans comprising 5.4% of the 16+ population
- Adult dependants comprising 4.0% of the 16% population
- Child (under 16) dependants comprising 8.2% of the under 16 population
we have an overall estimate of almost 50,000 veterans and dependants in addition to about 3,000 current serving personnel.
However, if we apply the veterans prevalence estimates by each age group, the relatively elderly population of Somerset means that the estimated total is somewhat higher at about 53,500, although the 'sample error' means that the true figure could be much higher, or indeed lower.
Military pension scheme data:
Pensions data is managed by DASA on behalf of the MoD. The data provides numbers of current recipients at different geographic levels. It does not show those entitled to deferred pension payments (minimum eligibility criteria is 2 years service). Data is separated into three main datasets:
- Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS). This includes AFPS 75 and AFPS 2005. Benefits are based on the rank and length of service of an individual. All personnel serving between 6 April 1975 and 6 April 2005 will have served under the AFPS 75 scheme. AFPS 05 benefits are based on length of service and final salary and personnel who joined after 6 April 2005 will be serving under the AFPS 05 scheme.
- War Pensions Scheme (WPS) operational from 1914 up to 2005. Provides no-fault compensation for all ex-Service personnel where illness, injury or death is caused by service from the start of the First World War in 1914 up until 5 April 2005. This scheme also covers War Widows, War Orphans, War Parents, Adult and Unmarried Dependants.
- Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) post 2005. Includes Reserve Forces, and came into force on 6 April 2005 to pay compensation for injury, illness or death caused by service on or after this date. The scheme can provide compensation for those still in-service as well as those who have left service.
Location of Armed Forces Pension, War Pension & Compensation recipients: 31 March 2018
|| AFPS recipients
|| WPS recipients
| Somerset 2018
| Total 2017
- Almost half of Pension recipients live in South Somerset, the location of RNAS Yeovilton
- Armed forces pensioners’ locations also available at postal district, although these can overlap with other local authorities.
- Ex- Forces personnel, in the form of AFPS and WPS members, are more likely to live in the areas where bases are located (eg Yeovil, Ilchester, Taunton areas), although about one in three live in either Mendip, Sedgemoor or West Somerset districts.
- Individuals may be in receipt of awards from more than one scheme simultaneously.
- Figures do not include veterans who are not entitled to a pension
ONS Annual Population Survey results
In October 2017, the MoD published a report based on data from the Office for National Statistics’ Annual Population Survey in 2016. This provides estimates on the size and socio-demographic characteristics of the UK veteran population living in households in England, Scotland and Wales.
From the results, the number of veterans living in Somerset is estimated to be 49,000. At 6% of the population, this is above the England proportion of 5%.
Nationally, key findings from the report were as follows:
- Both working age veterans and veterans aged 65+ are slightly less likely to say their general health is good or very good compared to the general population (74% vs 78% and 55% vs 59%)
- Working age veterans are more likely to report long term health problems in a number of areas compared to the general population:
- Arms and hands (22% vs 18%)
- Legs or feet (35% vs 27%)
- Back or neck (31% vs 25%)
- Difficulty in hearing (10% vs 7%)
- Veterans aged 65+ are more likely to report some long term health problems compared to the general population:
- Legs or feet (37% vs 34%)
- Difficulty in seeing (11% vs 8%)
- Difficulty in hearing (23% vs 17%)
- The highest reported long term health condition for working age veterans was with their legs or feet (35%), whereas those aged over 65 are most likely to report a problem with Heart, blood, pressure, circulation (53%). For those aged over 65 this was the same as the non-veteran population.
- 78% of working age veterans are employed, 4% are unemployed, and 19% are inactive (75.9%, 5.2% and 19.9% in 2015)
- Female working age veterans are less likely to be employed than their male contemporaries (72% vs 79%) and more likely to be economically inactive (25% vs 18%) – this is not significantly different to the ratios within the non-veteran population.
- Working age veterans were more likely to work in the ‘public admin and defence’ industry (12%) than employed non-veterans (6%).
- Significant differences in occupations between working age veterans and the general population show that they were less likely to work in 'Professional occupations' (15% vs 21%) and more likely to work as Process, Plant and Machine Operatives (16% vs 10%)
- Veterans are less likely than the general population to hold a degree level qualification (20% vs 30%)
- Veterans were more likely to gain qualifications via a work-related setting than the general population (63% vs 45%)
- 75% of the veteran population in Great Britain own their house outright or have a mortgage/loan, 24% rent or part rent their property.
GP Patients recorded as armed forces veterans
- At December 2015, there were 1,165 patients in Somerset with a GP record relating to service in Armed Forces, of whom 1,163 were veterans and 2 were reservists.
- 91% were men and 9% women
- Almost one in three were aged 75 or older, but one in five were under the age of 45 (see chart below)
Source: South West Commissioning Support Unit
Note: clearly not all armed forces veterans have been coded as such on GP records. Therefore it is not known whether the above age profile is an accurate representation of the total veteran community in Somerset.
Veterans and Work
In 2016, Deloitte LLP, in conjunction with the Forces in Mind (FIM) Trust and the Officers’ Association, conducted research into the challenges faced by UK veterans entering employment.
Amongst the main findings are:
- Veterans still struggle to gain a foothold in civilian employment
- There is a persistent lack of understanding of the key skills which veterans possess
- However, organisations which have employed veterans are very positive about the benefits they bring
- Many of the skills veterans possess are in areas where organisations are experiencing gaps
- Most large or medium organisations expressed interest in recruiting veterans in the future but few are affiliated to any organisation or programme providing recruitment or transition support for those leaving the armed forces.
The research involved a combination of:-
The full report can be read on the FIM Trust website.