Thousands of cash-strapped military personnel are being forced to turn to the benefits system in a move that has been branded a ‘shameful insult’ to Britain’s armed forces heroes, it can today be revealed.
Almost 3,000 military personnel are claiming Universal Credit, figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have shown.
The revelation comes as military charity bosses today warned they were mobilising in preparation for a fresh surge of forces families desperate for help this winter.
The statistics, obtained by the Labour Party and shared with MailOnline, also show at least 37,000 retired military heroes are now reliant on state handouts.
The news has left a former soldier and leader of a charity supporting suicidal veterans indignant with rage and saying: ‘It’s pathetic. These people are willing to give their everything in service of this country and staff in McDonald’s are earning more.’
While another ex-soldier, Liam Cary, 28 – who has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and is on benefits – labelled the situation ‘an insult’, adding: ‘I’m ashamed… this shouldn’t be happening.’
Government sources have claimed the numbers are ‘misleading’, insisting that there is ‘no way’ to tell whether or not those currently in the armed forces claiming benefits were full-time personnel or part-time military reservists.
‘The DWP don’t take that detail down… so it would be pretty difficult to determine definitively,’ the source told MailOnline.
But a Labour spokesman said: ‘The reason there is no way of knowing is because the government simply hasn’t bothered to check.’
Read more: Why defend a system doing this to you when it couldn’t give a damn about you? More than 37,000 veterans are being forced to turn to benefits, new figures show as ex-soldiers say: ‘McDonald’s staff earn more than us’