University presents evidence to MPs on health assessments for veterans claiming benefits
University of Salford Research Fellow Philip Martin joined representatives of veterans’ charities as an expert witness for a House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee last week (30 March).
The committee session considered the impact of benefit-related health assessments on UK military veterans, as part of its wider inquiry into health assessments for benefits.
Researchers from the university had already submitted written evidence to the committee and were invited along with representatives of the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) and the Royal British Legion to provide further information in person. Since 2017, a research team led by Professor Lisa Scullion at the University of Salford, has undertaken extensive research looking at how veterans interact with the mainstream benefits system and how these experiences affect them.
One of these projects, ‘Sanctions, Support and Service Leavers’, led to the research team being awarded the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) Research Award 2020 for achieving significant impact.
Philip said: “It was great to be invited to present findings from our research to the select committee, giving them an insight into the real experiences and barriers that veterans have told us they come across when trying to navigate the benefits system.
“Funded by the Forces in Mind Trust, our research has already generated significant impact, leading to substantial investment by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) into their support for the armed forces community. We hope that this discussion continues and leads to more solutions being put in place for our veterans.”
The committee session followed on from a parliamentary debate on military pensions and payments which took place the previous evening. During the debate, research co-authored by Professor Lisa Scullion on the potential for the benefits system to adopt trauma informed approaches when dealing with veterans was cited.
Philip and Lisa are based in the Sustainable Housing & Urban Studies Unit (SHUSU) in the School of Health and Society.
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