Campaign leads to policy review of care costs

Royal British Legion beneficiary and former submariner Keith Clarke, from Carbrooke, is currently fo

Royal British Legion beneficiary and former submariner Keith Clarke, from Carbrooke, is currently forced to put his compensation payment towards social care costs. Photo: Mike Harrington - Credit: Archant

A policy of charging injured service veterans for care if their injuries were suffered before 2005 is to be reviewed by Norfolk County Council.

As reported in the Eastern Daily Press earlier this week, Keith Clarke, from Carbrooke, near Watton, was left in a wheelchair and reliant on carers after falling through a hatch while tackling a blaze on a smoke-filled submarine when he was serving in the Royal Navy.

The 43 year old was given a war pension as compensation for the spinal injuries he sustained in 2000 – which works out at about £900 a month – but he has to pay £100 a week to pay for the carers who look after him.

He is one of an estimated 4,000 injured former servicemen and women being forced to give up compensation money under government guidelines.

Now the Norfolk County Council is set to review the policy.

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A County Hall spokesman said Harold Bodmer, the county's director of adult social services, has been asked by the chair of the adult social care committee to carry out a review of Norfolk's and other councils' interpretation of the national guidelines and to bring a report to the next meeting of the committee in March.

Nearly nine out of 10 local authorities – including Norfolk County Council – treat war pensions as income which must be used to pay for care.

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Yet veterans given compensation under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, introduced on April 6, 2005, see their payouts protected. The policy review comes after the Royal British Legion launched a national campaign, Insult to Injury, to fight for fairer care for injured veterans.

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