The National Careline Blog

The National Careline Helpline and The Royal British Legion

17 March 2020

At The National Careline Helpline we take many calls from people, or from their families on their behalf, who are unwell and not able to manage anymore. They may be at home and unable to cope or in hospital and not able to return home. Either way, they and their families are really unsure and fearful about their future.

But they all have a common thread, that is to find a way through the care system and get the help and care they need. To find a place where they, or their family member, can be safe, comfortable and well cared for in a friendly environment.

This situation often arises when illness and frailty cause coping at home to become more and more difficult to manage. It can be a situation that has developed over time or suddenly as in a stroke but, as soon as the emergency is over, people will start to look around for sources of extra help so that they can return, or continue to remain, in their own home.

On the Helpline the first thing we will ask is “Have you had an assessment of your needs done?”

This is first thing that needs to be done as it is “the starting gate” to access the help needed.

If you contact your GP, district nurse or local authority for a health and social care assessment this enables you to find out what you may be entitled to. The assessment is not binding and you may decide a different course of action if you wish.

The process is a single assessment procedure combining the assessment for local authority social services with health care. During this assessment full details of assets, including property owned by the person needing the care will need to be disclosed.

Upon completion of the assessment, the local authority is then able to decide who is eligible for their support.

So what else is there?

When fielding calls on The National Careline’s Helpline, the one question we always ask is ‘Do you have any connections with the Forces? As there is another very valuable source of help if you do.’

The Independent Living Advice Service from The Royal British Legion provides free advice, support and advocacy for beneficiaries of all ages and their carers. They help people to access statutory support where necessary. They aim to support Legion beneficiaries to live safely, well and independently at home if possible. If not then they have dedicated care homes for older veterans.

They also provide support for carers who are caring for their loved ones at home. From dementia support, to specialist nursing, to day care at our care homes, to much-needed breaks away for serving and ex-serving personnel, their team are on hand to help.

Who is eligible?

The Legion teams are dedicated to supporting not only serving and ex-serving personnel but the whole of the Armed Forces community, including dependants and carers. This includes:

  • Serving personnel, or those who have previously served, who have received seven days pay and were aged 16 or over at the time of service
  • Reserve or Auxiliary personnel, or those who have previously served
  • Those who have served with the Mercantile Marine afloat in hostile waters
  • Current or previous full-time members of Allied Civil Police Forces
  • Those entitled to the campaign medal issued to the Royal Navy, Army or Royal Air Force to those giving them direct support or under their command
  • Any member of Voluntary Aid Societies who has served full-time and in uniform in direct support of the United Kingdom Armed Forces
  • Any British subject (by birth or otherwise) who has served at least seven days in the Forces of an Allied nation during hostilities and received seven days’ pay from that nation
  • Any British subject (by birth or otherwise) who served in a resistance organisation of an Allied nation during hostilities in which the United Kingdom Armed Forces were engaged
  • Any person who served in the Home Guard for at least six months, or in a Bomb and Mine Disposal Unit for at least three months
  • Any person who was awarded the Defence Medal in respect of service in the Home Guard or in a Bomb and Mine Disposal Unit

They can also provide support for Commonwealth citizens who are residents in the UK as well as past and present members of the Brigade of Gurkhas and their families. Find out more about eligibility online.

There is also a range of support available through the Legion’s Women’s Section.

So don’t forget, they are here to support the Armed Forces community maintain their independence and stay safe in their own home. 

From small home adaptations, to installing personal alarms, or support with funding for new equipment, the Legion can help. Their teams are based across the UK and, as well as home maintenance and repairs, they can also provide support so that you or your loved ones can access the services you might need.

If you are finding it difficult to get around and can say “yes” to any of the eligibility conditions then this may be another way to get the help you need.

Out and about

It is important to get out and about to combat loneliness and the Legion are able to support you to gain access to services or assistance that could provide you with things like mobility scooters or stairlifts.

Their friendly helpline operators are ready to talk to you. You can call them on 0808 802 8080, or email

The details of the Motability Scheme help offered by the Legion are on our website page

In conclusion, The Royal British Legion offers a very valuable service to all members of the community who have a link to the Forces in one way or another and any advisers should not overlook this source of help when helping or advising them.

Read more from our blog