Betrayal of Armed Forces Pensioners
edited 5 January 2017 at 9:02PM in UK armed forces MoneySaving
18 replies 26.5K views
edited 5 January 2017 at 9:02PM in UK armed forces MoneySaving
THE BETRAYAL OF OUR ARMED FORCES PENSIONERS
A pensions ANNOMALY that is resulting in the GROSS BETRAYAL of a tiny group of ex Armed Forces Career Pensioners by the MOD and Government, with glaring silence from MP’s across all parties.
Over the past 5 years all approaches to Downing Street, the Royal British Legion (RBL), Sailors Soldiers Air force Association (SSAFA) as well as other forces support groups have been rebuffed. Support within the House of Lords from the former Armed Forces Defence Chiefs has also been stopped. Even the Pension Regulator shoves its snout in the air claiming it sees no wrong whilst hounding small employers into setting up pension funds and misleading employees into believing they will receive a GUARANTEED pension.
Here is a simplified break down of why this small group hold such a grievance.
There are two distinct groups of non-commissioned Armed Forces Pensioners who served at some time between 1975 and 2010 that now qualify for a Service Pension;
Group 1 Individuals who have served in the Armed Forces at some stage of their working life during the qualifying period. They would then receive an addition to the State Pension when reaching the State Pension age. This group numbers in the hundreds of thousands and receives annual pension increases in line with the Triple Lock Pension Rise Mechanism.
Group 2 Individuals who have completed a Full Contracted Career in the Armed Forces during the same qualifying period. These individuals would on completion of the Full Career ‘retire’ and immediately receive a Full Military Pension for the rest of their lives. As there are less than 200 ‘Non-Commissioned Ranks’ who complete a Full Career each year, so this group numbers less than 6000 individuals. Of these there are less than 4000 under the state retirement age as of year 2010.
Within the Pensions Act there was a sub section that relates to Armed Forces Pensioners covering State Pensions and it was quite explicit. The Act stated that Armed Forces Career Pensioners are a ‘special case’. In that individuals are financially disadvantaged as they are denied the right to transfer skills outside of service and in most cases are almost unemployable in their specialist fields. It also stated that annual increases for Armed Forces Pensioners will be applied AND will rise by no less than the Unadjusted Retail Prices Index to take account of the vagaries of Real Inflation.
So, why do retired Career Service Personnel make the accusation of BETRAYAL?
The accusation stems from how in 2010 the then Coalition Government decided that Armed Forces Pensioners should no longer be classed as a ‘special case’ but instead have pension rises linked to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) in line with other pensioners. Not only was this change implemented for future retirees but the Coalition Government also decided that this would apply retrospectively to current Armed Forces Career Pensioners, knowing that the change would result in a reduction in annual pension by about 1% each year. By 2011 the Coalition Government then introduced the Triple Lock Pensions Rise mechanism which guaranteed a minimum pension increase of 2.5%.
But surely, we hear you say, that if these Armed Forces Pensioners are no longer a ‘special case’ but instead to be classed the same as those reaching State Retirement Age, then the new Triple Lock State Pension Rise would apply instead. Well the MOD and Treasury now insist that these Armed Forces Career Pensioners ARE a ‘special case’ and not really pensioners and refuse to apply the Triple Lock Pension Rise to Armed Forces Career Pensioners. Yes I know, even the best ‘Yes Minister’ script writer could not make that one up!
Are these the same MP’s who cry foul over claims of mismanagement of pension funds and pensioners by business owners in the private sector?
A simple example of the impact this will have is of an Army Sergeant who completed a Full Career and on retirement immediately receives £8612 Annual Pension. On reaching age 55 the Sergeant will receive £1700 less per annum through the 15 years of rises being linked to the CPI rather than the Unadjusted RPI. Thus on reaching the State Retirement Age the Sergeant is now going to receive about £3500 less per annum. An even greater loss if the difference between the CPI and Triple Lock Pension increase were to be taken into account.
These are not trifling sums, for some it will be equivalent to annual council tax, gas and electric plus water and TV licence. Also many of these individuals will have presented documentary evidence to Bank Managers showing future Government Guaranteed Pension Income when applying for finance such as mortgages and loans. Some of these individuals will also be barred for life from using skills and knowledge for personal gain. They will also have International travel restrictions applied as well as having to comply with confidentiality clauses for life all in return for a Guaranteed Pension for Life. This Act of Parliament backed Guarantee now turns out to be based upon complete MENDACITY by successive Governments over the past 40 years.
As stated, having been barred or rebuffed in all attempts to seek assistance and support from the highlighted groups best placed, this small number of ex services career pensioners feel the time has come to start and air what they feel is a fully justified grievance in the public arena.
And now these pensioners’ eyebrows have been raised at the Supreme Court and High Court decision to back a claim against the government for apparently ignoring an Act of Parliament, in relation to triggering Article 50 post referendum, without going before that same Parliament. Yet those same Judges accept the Government can contemptuously ignore an Act of Parliament relative to Armed Forces Pensioners!!!!
Finally, when working out how much these few thousand ex service personnel stand to lose individually from age 40 to the State Retirement Age, no thought was taken regarding whether a few of these individuals might interpret the Governments actions as a BETRAYAL of trust and breach of contract and feel justified in responding in kind. What if for example, these individuals decide to make up these massive financial shortfalls in Guaranteed Pension through using skills and knowledge that previously they were contractually barred from using!
Surely the Government would have to accept culpability.
Postscript; NewYears Honours list for January 2017 sees the former Coalition Government Pensions Minister awarded a Knighthood. Whilst at the same time MP’s and the general press are clamouring for the removal of the title bestowed on the former owner of BHS whom they blame for wrecking the BHS workers pensions. Hmmmmm!
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What? If you mean deferred pensioners, they receive their deferred pension benefits at either age 60 or 65 (depending on when they left) which are absolutely nothing to do with the State old age pension. The deferred Armed Forces pension increases each year in line with CPI both before and after payment age, just the same as the immediate pension. The 2.5% triple lock has only ever applied to the old basic State pension of £119 per week.
Cobblers. The majority of ex-Service personnel have no problems fnding jobs on civvie street - we are welcomed for our work ethic, sense of duty, etc etc. The ones who may not have actual transferable skills (artillery etc) are given ample opportunities for re-training prior to being discharged. I, myself, (ex administrator) went on to have another career in Local Government. The Armed Forces Pension Scheme was granted 'special case' status simply because the immediate pension is payable from age 40, subject to length of service, rather than the civilian minimum age of 55.
So the same as most people with an occupation pension before the 1975 change in the Social Security act then.
That said, the people I know who ( well over 50) have reached the top of the tree in the military either don't want another job with such responsibility, or are headhunted for a job because employers are biting their hands off to snap up such experience.
My understanding is: A full career is (or certainly was) 37 years. The "Start Date" couldn't be before someone's 18 th birthday.
To receive an immediate pension one had to have 22 years qualifying service. So in effect a soldier enlisting at 17 yrs 340 days old, completes 22 yrs reckonable service (ie, from age 18, less any time spent in detention, AWOL, LWOP etc) would qualify for that pension at age 40 (Provided he was discharged of course).
He would then receive pension rises (if any) each year.
I believe your example of a sergeant completing a full career aged 40 is flawed. To complete the full career he would already be 55?
Many soldiers who completed 22 yrs services opted to commute their pensions ie, receive a larger lump sum on discharge offset by a reduction in their annual pension. At the age of 55 (your 15 years perhaps?) the pension was restored with the yearly rises applied. Those who completed a full career could not compute their pension because they were getting the full amount on discharge.
I joined the army in Aug 1964 and up until retirement I only spent one day unemployed. I know of no SNCO who left the army having completed a full career (37 years) or the "normal" 22 years and not find meaningful and valued employment.
Just as a matter of interest I was serving in BAOR in the 90s (extended service). Working in the local PSA (as a civilian) was an old comrade of mine who had completed 12 years reconable service. I pointed out to him that he might be entitled to a preserved pension when he reached the age of 60 but he would have to contact the Army Pensions Office. He replied that he thought he had to do 22 years to get his pension. Well he wrote to the Army Pensions Office and they confirmed that he did qualify for a preserved pension. I'm still waiting the crate of Herforder Pils.
Later working in the civil service I worked with a guy who was entitled to a preserved (12 year)pension and he was convinced that he would receive it at the age of 55. I told him that as far as I was aware it was aged 60. Same again, he contacted Army Pensions Office who confirmed it was 60.
Certainly when I had completed my 27 years service I just received a booklet through the post referring to the military pension. Most of the information related to medical discharges, re-enlistment, invalid, buying-in of civilian pensions into the scheme. Difficult to understand for some people.
He got Sod all....
It makes me so, so angry.
and we will never, ever return.
Yes but presumably they got their contributions refunded on leaving the job. We got zip!