War veterans should be shielded from disability benefit cuts. They will get their own special allowance, the Coalition confirms, following MOD negotiations with the Department for Work and Pensions.

Guaranteed benefits for seriously wounded 'vets' should be worth £7,000 for life, which will do away with continued re-assessments. How will it work?


Simpler but harder to claim

The changes are part of the upheavals to the Disability Living Allowance, or DLA. The Government says the system has been abused and is replacing it with the Personal Independence Payment which should be simpler to run, as well as making it harder to claim, for some.

The DWP estimates the move should mean half a million fewer claimants for the allowance. But a key worry for ex service personnel had been that these changes would affect their own payments: the original DLA was made up of two components, a mobility payment of £54.05 and a £77.45 basic payment, worth £131.50 in total.

In recognition of their sacrifice, the MOD says war veterans will "receive around £7,000 in financial support every year for the rest of their life." This is in addition to the financial support they receive via the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.

Alternative

The Armed Forces Independence Payment though is an alternative to the Personal Independence Payment and will be settled through the Department for Work and Pensions, distributed to the seriously injured through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.

However those eligible, says the MOD, "will not be able to also receive Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance."

Disability living allowance was designed to help people face the extra costs of mobility and care. But it was also a benefit that cost almost £13 billion a year -a a benefit that Iain Duncan Smith claimed had seen a 30% rise in claims in recent years.