On Saturday evening of Remembrance week, we completed two referrals for assistance to The Royal British Legion for a retired Gurkha Warrant Officer (WO2) from Bracknel and his co-tenant, a Gurkha widow.
The veteran served in the Brigade of Gurkhas for 22 years before retiring in the rank of WO2. During his service, he had the honour of serving and representing the Queen globally that included Honk Kong, Malaya, Borneo, Singapore, Australia and United Kingdom. His late father was a Queen’s Gurkha Officer (QGO, Captain) in the Brigade of Gurkhas and so are his two brothers, who now live a retired life.
The veteran has limited mobility due to Parkinson’s. He is wheel chair dependant for going out and has multiple health issues including neurological conditions, incontinence, back pain, stiff neck, constipation and sinusitis.
Both the veteran and his wife are in their mid-seventies and have been relying on their daughter from personal care to social support. The daughter has been off work for nearly two years since the beginning of Covid-19. She has no recourse to public funds despite having a family visa under the Immigration policy for the Gurkhas retired before 1997.
The family has been relying on the couple’s pension credit payment and attendance allowance for a living and to pay the rent since their housing benefit stopped in May 2021. Hence, they have been forced to cut down their nutritional intake and lower their living standard to make up rents.
The veteran and his family approached benefit advisers and charity workers for advice and support but nothing seemed to be working and the housing benefit officer appears to be either completely unaware of the crux of the matter or has failed to comprehend the gravity of the situation.
Once we spoke with the veteran, his wife, daughter and the co-tenant on a video call, it did not take us long to imagine how hard it must have been for them and how the family might have been coping.
Without any further delay, we called the Legion for help and made referrals for assessment and support via three way conversation. The family is advised that an area case officer will be allocated from the Legion in due course of time and they will receive appropriate assistance and support.
At the beginning of the conversation, the family was seemed to be stressed out, however, seeing smile at their faces before ending the call made us feel proud of our work and effort.
At The Gurkha Centre, we strive to make a difference for our veterans, widows and families. We believe in rapid action and immediate support. Do you know anyone who might need our help? Please feel free to call us on their behalf or signpost them towards us.
No one should suffer in silence. Do you have time, energy and willingness to be part of our grouwing team? Are you passionate aobut making a difference for our veterans and widows? Please do get in touch. We have plenty of volunteering opportunities.
On this Remembrance Sunday, we express our gratitude to all service members, past and present for their service and sacrifice. #lestweforget #Gurkhas