Benevolence

In Brief

Details of Benevolence available and organisations that can help.

Am I eligible for benevolence?

The following aim of the Association is relevant to basic eligibility criteria:

To provide financial and other assistance to serving and former members of the Corps, their spouses, widows, widowers and dependants who are in need through poverty.

To be a serving or former member of the Corps that person must have served at least one day in the Royal Engineers. Membership of the REA does not qualify the member for benevolence.

Who is a dependant?
A dependant is:

  • A husband or wife of a serving or former member of the Corps
  • A civil partner (same or opposite sex relationships) of a serving or former member of the Corps
  • Children of eligible persons who are aged under 18

The husband/wife/partner of a serving or former member of the Corps who then remarries or forms a new relationship with a non-eligible person may not be eligible for future assistance from the REA.

QGEA/REA Members; When considering an application for Benevolence assistance for a joint QGEA/REA member support will be requested from QGEA association funds and other military charities.

Eligibility for assistance from the REA does not mean that assistance will be routinely provided. Each case submitted to the REA will be considered on its merits.

£357,939 Benevolence provided to Sappers & Dependents in 2021

When can I apply?

The question ‘when is a member of the Corps eligible for benevolence assistance’ is often asked and the answer is given as ‘when the applicant has served one day in the Corps’.

Regular Army
For the Regular Army, there are three points of entry where an event occurs that is used to determine when a person becomes a member of the Corps.

  • Officer entrants – Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
  • Adult soldier entrants through ATC Pirbright or ATR Winchester
  • Junior soldier entrants through AFC Harrogate

For officer entrants to the Corps, the first day of service in the Corps is the day of their commissioning into the Corps. This will be documented in The London Gazette.

For adult entrants through either ATC Pirbright or ATR Winchester, or junior entrants through AFC Harrogate, the REA considers their first day of service in the Corps as the day of their pass-off parade from their respective training establishment. This will always be after they have successfully completed Phase 1 training.

Reserve Army
For the Reserve Army, there are a variety of points of entry where an event occurs that are used to determine when a person becomes a member of the Corps

  • Reserve officer entrants – Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
  • Reserve soldier training through ATR Pirbright, ATR Grantham and a further eight regional Army Training Units

For Reserve officer entrants to the Corps, the first day of service in the Corps is the day of their commissioning into the Corps. This will be documented in The London Gazette.

For Reserve soldier entrants, regardless of the entry point, there is one common event that is used by the REA to determine when a person becomes a member of the Corps, as with the Regular Army, it is when they have successfully completed Phase 1 training.

General
Soldier recruits who have failed to achieve trained soldier status or officer cadets who have not been commissioned into the Corps will not be considered as eligible for benevolence from the Royal Engineers Association. Officer cadets attending university prior to RMAS may hold RE ‘sponsorship’ but this is not a formal acceptance into the Royal Engineers and is more a mechanism to nurture potential Sandhurst candidates. Individuals in this situation will not be recognised as eligible for benevolence assistance. Other service charities may consider them eligible for assistance.

Past requests for assistance have shown that eligibility criteria is particularly difficult to confirm for Reservists who have served in a number of different Arms for short periods of time. VOS documents provided by Historic Disclosures in Glasgow may indicate that the soldier has served with the RE and other Arms. The length of service shown with each Arm often appears too short for trained soldier status to be attained and in these cases, applicants requesting assistance from the REA will be asked to confirm in some manner their status as a trained soldier during their time with a Reserve Engineer unit.

Accepting Hand

Why does the REA provide benevolence?

REA Benevolence aims to provide financial and other assistance to serving and former members of the Corps, their spouses, widows, widowers and dependants who are in need through poverty. Benevolence should be seen as ‘a hand up, not a hand out’.

2021 Benevolence Assistance by category (75 disabled, 5 elderly, 45 Widowed, 120 Unwages, 95 Miscellaneous, 60 No Grant)

What support does the REA provide?

Each case is considered on its own merits, but generally speaking:

  • Payment of rent, rates and other utilities bills or arrears that are considered priority debts.
  • Bankruptcy fees or Debt Relief Orders where recommended by a recognised Benefits and Money Advisor.
  • Purchase of essential needs such as clothing, essential household goods and in emergency situations, food.
  • Contributions towards the cost of Electrically Powered Vehicles (EPV) i.e. scooters or wheelchairs, stair lifts, bath lifts and riser/recliner chairs, and other medical aids not supplied by NHS.
  • Contributions towards convalescent/respite holidays for the sick, elderly or infirm and/or their Carers.
  • Essential house repairs/maintenance such as rewiring, decorating, replacement doors or windows of private properties that cannot be done by grants from Local Authorities. Apart from essential interior decorating this does not apply to Local Authority or private lets.
  • For the elderly/sick/disabled – bathroom or kitchen adaptations that cannot be done by the Local Authority or where unnecessary delay is imposed.
  • Small grants towards essential tools of trade, course fees to enable training for other/better employment – from Robert Gabriel Bequest (small funds administered by the REA).
  • Weekly annuities (£50.00pw) for people over 70 years of age, living in their own homes on low incomes and in receipt of all eligible state benefits. A new Form A or MOSAIC case must be submitted every 12 months for weekly annuity clients.
  • Weekly annuities (£42.50pw) for people over 70 years of age as ‘top-up’ fees for elderly/infirm living in Local Authority or Private Nursing/Residential homes after all State benefits are in place, and who have savings below the recognised state limits. A new Form A or MOSAIC case must be submitted every 12 months for weekly annuity clients.
  • Payment towards spectacles or dental treatment if applicant is in receipt of Income Support/Pension Credit.
  • Funeral expenses payment in exceptional circumstances and where an application for State Benefits has been made, a contribution may be made up to £500.
  • Repatriation costs for immediate family for compassionate reasons or urgent medical need.
  • RE soldiers who originate from the Commonwealth in exceptional circumstances can apply for flights to a family funeral. They can also apply for immigration/citizenship costs to stay in the UK.
  • Contribution towards specialised medical treatments where urgent need has been identified by a recognised medical specialist
  • Education of dependent children between the ages of 0-25 meeting the criteria of the RE Kitchener Fund
  • Anyone serving a prison sentence. However, the REA’s main consideration is given to assisting with pre-release courses that enhance the client’s employability upon release. Help may be given to dependants at home.

How do I apply for benevolence?

Anyone seeking assistance from the REA should follow the procedure outlined below, although RE Unit Welfare Officers can deal direct with HQ REA by submitting a current version Form A via email to REA HQ. However, it is better to use a SSAFA or TRBL caseworker as other charities will be able to support the case.

For ease of reference, we will use the term ‘client’ to identify the person in need.

  • The client should contact either SSAFA or TRBL and request a visit from a caseworker. Contact telephone numbers for both organisations can be found online using the links below.