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The Royal Air Force as seen by John Cooper

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RAF War Pensions

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War Pension
 
I am asked a lot regarding my experiences with war pensions as I receive one, I intend, now that my appeals have been concluded, to let you know my feelings on this matter, it has taken me 3 years to get this far (40% pension). I know some recipients of war pensions have had an easy ride and others like me, where it has been trying to get blood out of a stone. I have a dossier on the whole shebang and will start off by saying that if, in your service, you have been wrongfully treated or suffer from an illness which is service related the first thing you need to do is to get ALL your medical records from RAF Innsworth before you do anything else. 
July 02 2003

Year 2000

What started out as a mini reunion between 3 ex RAF El Ademite Aircraft Engine Fitters swinging the lamp, one of the many subjects that came up was that one had been made partially deaf by aircraft engine noise resulting in him having to wear two behind the ears hearing aids, inevitable I brought up the subject of my problem of partial deafness too which resulted (eventually) in micro surgery to one perforated eardrum and the use of a hearing aid.

I was informed that you could claim for this partial deafness but it was more difficult Y2K than in previous years to get a settlement, not knowing this I put in a claim in July 2000 to the War Pensions Agency (WPA) now renamed the Veterans Agency (VA) at Norcross in Blackpool. I was sent a claim form and duly filled it in and returned same, at this point I found the WPA/VA very quick and efficient as by September 2000 I had a hearing test conducted in a mobile van fitted out with hearing booth etc.

January 2001

I received a lump sum tax free payment of a little over 4000 for disability of 11-15% for noise induced service related injury.

February 2001

With this amount I bought myself a computer and quickly found that by just surfing the net I could claim for other disabilities incurred whilst under the care of the Royal Air Force. I wrote to RAF Innsworth to obtain release of all my medical records, twice they refused this request, I persisted and contacted the Parliamentary Ombudsman where I was told they had to issue these records under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). I gave RAF Innsworth the statutory 40 days notice and within 10 days I received approx 98% of these records with a covering letter from a Wing Commander, 2% of these records, the crucial ones, were missing! Undaunted I dug out all my diaries for this period in question and guess what I had been mistreated by a Senior Medical Officer for 5 months, who was a trained gynaecologist, when I asked for a second opinion he hit the roof and inflicted great pain to an already perforated eardrum! Again I persisted on wanting a second opinion and I got my father in the UK to write to the then Air Ministry in Whitehall to sort it out, within days I was being flown from RAF El Adem to the PMRAF Hospital at Akrotiri via Nicosia. I received first class treatment from a Wing Commander ENT specialist over a period of three weeks.

With this evidence I had more than enough ammunition to fight my way to a 20% disability which is the minimum required for a pension, so I submitted three more claims, one where the micro surgery had upset my balance through vertigo and I was grounded from working above ground level for vast stretches over the period 1964-1969, coupled to this I then put in a claim for PTSD (Aircraft crash at RAF Gan 1960) and part severance of big toe as a result of tight fitting boots during initial training in 1956. All disabilities, after undergoing thorough medical and psychiatric tests, were diagnosed as attributable to service and in year....

 

January 2002

.........was awarded a medical pension of 30%. Now comes the problems, the 4000 lump sum they had paid me earlier was clawed back in a complicated readjustment to award a pension, I still do not understand today how this conversion was made as it is too complicated however I accepted that this must be correct as these people surely should know how to adjust such amounts!

April 2002

I then found out you could appeal against an award on the grounds that the award was too low, I did just that, much complicated communication between myself and the WPA/VA resulted in the Chief Executive of the WPA/VA getting involved in some rather heated exchanges from me in their non co-operation. This went on for months, the appeal should have been heard in September 2002 but was adjourned as the WPA/VA hadnt produced all the evidence for the tribunal.

January 2003

I eventually got to The Pension Appeal Tribunal (P A T) in Chancery Lane London, this is part of the Lord Chancellors Department within the High Court Judiciary system. The PAT found in my favour and UPHELD the appeal awarding me a 40% war pension (although these courts are quite informal I found this matter utterly distressing as I was presenting my own case, I would not use this method again!)

June 2003

A separate PAT hearing was held in the same place, this time I used the offices and the expertise of The Royal British Legion (RBL), to try and get this award backdated to July 1969 and if Upheld would have given me a tax free sum of c70000. I knew I had little or no chance of being successful so I didnt attend, the appeal was NOT UPHELD and in this instance no backdating was awarded.

May 2004

I have applied twice for  'Allowance for Lowered Standard of Occupation' through the Veterans Agency, for the second time this has been rejected by the VA, I have presented evidence from my personal diaries that I could not work above ground level in the last 2 years of RAF service due to my deafness, resulting in an operation on an ear drum thus giving me vertigo. This states this on my medical records, I was 'grounded' to A4G2Z4 I was seeing specialists at the CME, Goodge Street in London and at RAF Hospital Ely. There was talk of me seeing a consultant ENT specialist at Harley Street, there was even talk of a medical discharge from the RAF, neither came.

When I left the RAF I tried for two jobs with Airwork, Hurn, on a contract to Saudi Arabia but was turned down due to my medical condition and likewise working for KLM at Schipol Airport, Amsterdam. Therefore I was not able to carry out my normal work AFTER I left the RAF as a civilian, with that I called it a day!

I have three months in which to make an appeal, these appeals are independent but only 16% of all appeals are successful, I think I would be better off stowing away in a lorry from France to England, burning my documentation, seeking political asylum and say 'I no comprehende Eglisi', that is the sorry state of Great Britain today folks!  

 

If you would like any personal discussion on this subject please contact me on the link contact me at the top of this page. If you think you have a claim you have nothing to lose by trying but as someone says youve got to be in it to win it!

If you require more information on War Pensions click here

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Copyright  John Cooper