Housing Benefit Victory for Veterans

Campaigners win £400,000 benefits boost for Glasgow veterans and war widows.

For years Glasgow City Council’s Housing Benefit Office refused to pay housing benefit and council tax benefit to any claimants who received a War Disablement Pension or a War Widow’s Pension.

Almost every other council in Britain has exercised the discretionary powers they have on this, and pay out housing benefit and council tax benefit to their disabled veterans and war widows.

But not Glasgow.

Early this year a campaign was started by a few of the injured veterans in Glasgow, and they started lobbying councillors surgeries.

The succeeded in having a debate on the issue tabled for the full Council meeting On Thursday 26th June 2008.

That was cleverly timed – because the next day was UK veterans day. And 500 veterans were expected to assemble in George Square, with some of them due to receive medals from the Lord Provost. The danger of an embarrassing protest at that event helped concentrate the minds of the senior councillors.

To great delight, the council administration caved in on Thursday afternoon immediately before the debate started, and announced a policy U-turn whereby war pensions would be given a full 100% disregard.

That means an extra £400,000 per year of benefits will be paid out to Glasgow claimants.

Disabled veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan will no longer have their pensions deducted from them by the housing benefit office.

The remaining veterans and widows of the fight against Nazism in the Second World War will finally receive the pension benefit they should have been entitled to all along.

Now in all of Scotland, only North Lanarkshire Council housing benefit office is left deducting war pensions from claimants. Hopefully a similar campaign will be started up there too.

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