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Royal British Legion offers £200 a month energy bill top-up grants for veterans

Royal British Legion offers £200 a month energy bill top-up grants for veterans


13 Oct, 2022

The Royal British Legion (RBL) has announced new top-up support for veterans to help them pay their energy bills. Veterans can find out if they are eligible for the grant and apply online.

The charity has seen an increase in the number of veterans and their families struggling to keep up with the cost of living.

Veterans can apply for an emergency grant for energy bills of up to £200 a month as part of the Everyday Needs Grants Programme.

The grant will be issued by the RBL on a means-tested basis to those in the Armed Forces community who are struggling financially.

In the past year, the Royal British Legion has issued 20% more grants to help with the costs of food and other necessities.

The charity anticipates that this figure is likely to grow in the coming months with many more people needing help with essentials like food, clothing, and temporary accommodation.

Research carried out by the RBL has found that around 430,000 people in the ex-service community report financial difficulty – equivalent to one in 10 people.

Households all over the UK are predicted to experience a financial pinch this winter. However, says the RBL, existing challenges among the Armed Forces community may make the cost of living crisis more difficult for them to cope with.

The charity has defined the groups within the military community who are more likely to struggle financially this winter as:

Working-age households with dependent children, particularly divorced parents, with the burden greater for women
Those with long-term illness and disabilities, particularly dependent widows, and widowers
Younger individuals, who are more likely to take on debt like payday loans

Frances Metcalf, a military widow who has received financial support from the RBL, said: "My energy bills have increased by more than 100% in the past year. The cost of food is going up. Everything you can think of – interest rates, insurance. "In February and March of this year, I hardly turned the heating on and kept myself warm using a hot water bottle. "The worry is the worst part. You can't eat because of worry, and you don't know which way to turn." She added: "The financial support the RBL has given me has helped no end – without it I would really struggle."

Older veterans are predicted to be especially affected by energy bills going up. According to RBL research, 14% of veterans aged 65 or over said that they turn the heating off to save money, even when it is too cold.

The charity has also said that some members of the Armed Forces community are "more vulnerable to rising costs" than other people across the UK who will also face the same cost of living pressures.

Previous research conducted by the charity found that working-age adults in the veteran community are more likely to be sick or disabled than UK adults of the same age.

Antony Baines, RBL's executive director of services, said: "No-one should have to worry about whether they will be able to keep the lights on, heat their homes or feed themselves and their families."

Anyone wanting to apply for the grants can do so directly here and the RBL says responses will be received in a matter of days.