In 2017, the RAF Association secured more than £500,000 in payments to current and former serving personnel by providing free advice and representation to those making a claim under the War Pensions or Armed Forces Compensation Schemes.
A lifeline to those who need it, the confidential service offers help around pension entitlement and compensation and in the past year has supported more than 600 service personnel in the next chapter of their lives.
With 180 active cases, the team is kept busy supporting serving and former serving personnel with a mix of claims, pensions, invaliding and tribunal cases. In 2017 they attended 42 tribunals, acting on behalf of the people who sought their help and reassuring them that the RAF Association was there throughout the process.
Working with clients every step of the way, is the Armed Forces Compensation and War Pensions Manager, Chris Francis. Chris has managed the service for 22 years, after leaving the RAF in 1996, and takes on around six new cases every week, though he responds to many more enquires for general advice and information.
He explained: “There is no set formula and every case is different. We provide tailored advice and work with each individual to gather all the relevant information. While this can be time-consuming, it is absolutely necessary in building the strongest possible case.”
Many cases relate to claims surrounding mental health and muscular-skeletal injuries and it is Chris’ role to sift through all the information and work with his clients to help build a case. And with their high success rate, building a successful case is something the team clearly excels at.
Chris continued: “The payments we secure help to change the lives of those accessing our service. Not only does the compensation give our clients a level of financial security, but the award also gives them recognition of their circumstances – something that is often very important to our clients.”
One person that the RAF Association has helped with their invaluable support is Peter, he said of the experience: “I travelled from outside the UK to attend the hearing and Chris made great efforts to meet me in advance, complete my preparation and accompany me through the procedure. As a result, nothing that happened or was said at the tribunal came as a surprise and I considered that I had done full justice to my case.”