He was unable to complete the complicated forms needed to appeal a ruling, but then got some help
A charity has helped an RAF veteran from the Swansea Valley win back disability benefits that were rightfully his.
Roger Gard, of Ystradgynlais , had a review in 2015 which led to a drastic cut in his disability benefit.
After suffering from a stroke, the 66-year-old RAF veteran was drowning in paperwork, unable to complete complicated forms needed to appeal the ruling.
So he turned to the RAF’s leading welfare charity, the RAF Benevolent Fund, which offered their new Advice and Advocacy service to help him.
A successful appeal by a Welfare Benefits Executive resulted in not only a reversal of the ruling but also a year’s worth of backdated benefits for Mr Gard.
The welfare service was launched two years ago after research carried out by the RAF Benevolent Fund indicated many of its beneficiaries were not receiving state benefits they were entitled to, such as Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction or Universal Credit.
Since then, the service has helped more than 1,000 people access £1.5million in unclaimed benefits.
Mr Gard joined the Royal Air Force in 1967. Working as an Aircraft Fitter (propulsion) on Phantoms, he was deployed on several overseas operations which included Singapore, Italy and, later, Germany.
He took voluntary release in the ‘70s and left with the rank of Corporal.
He said: “Without the support of the Fund I would have given up. I would have been at least £100 a week worse off and having that extra money makes a real difference to my quality of life.”
The charity has now launched a four-week campaign in Wales to find more people like Mr Gard who might be in need of assistance.
Paul Hughesdon, director of welfare and policy at the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: “Too often, RAF veterans simply don’t know that help is at hand. Sometimes they think that their years in National Service weren’t enough to be eligible for consideration, that there is always someone more deserving than them, or they don’t want to trouble anyone with their problems.
“But the message of our campaign is simple: If you or your partner were in the RAF and are in financial need, or you need advice and guidance, we will try to help.”
In addition to the help provided to Mr Gard, the RAF Benevolent Fund helps with a range of issues including financial assistance with things like top-up fees for a dignified retirement, help to fund domiciliary care or providing mobility aids.
For more information, call 0800 169 2942 or visit www.rafbf.org/help