Welfare support in the UK

Gurkha Welfare Advice Centres

Since their inception, our Gurkha Welfare Advice Centres (GWAC) in Salisbury and Aldershot have helped thousands of retired Gurkhas to successfully settle in the UK. Our teams work closely with government bodies and service charities such as SSAFA, the RBL and the ABF, who are committed to supporting Army veterans.

Managed by retired Gurkha officers, the two offices are ideally placed to impart advice and help tailored to the elderly ex-Gurkhas and widows coming to settle in the UK, who might otherwise lack the necessary language skills to access the welfare state.

Whether it be for accessing living expense grants or eligible state benefits, seeking employment or simply general advice on life in the UK, the GWACs play a vital role to help those in need.

Frequently Asked Questions

Benefits – Pension Credit (PC)

When will I be eligible for PC?

This depends on your date of birth. You can find out by logging into https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit-calculator

What documents do I need for PC?

You can go to GWT website: www.gwt.org.uk and download it from there or contact your Gurkha Welfare Advice Centre (GWAC) office: Salisbury: 01722 343 111  Aldershot:  01252 329460

We are new arrivals of mixed age, will we still be eligible to claim PC?

If the Universal Credit – Full Digital Service (UCFDS) has not been implemented in your locality, you can apply as mixed age couple; but if it has been implemented, you will not be eligible for PC. The younger partner will have to work or apply for Universal Credit online.

As existing PC claimants of mixed age, will we be affected by the implementation of UCFDS in our area?

Yes, only if your PC is stopped for some valid reasons. You will need to contact your relevant Pension Service Centre (PSC) to find out why it has been stopped. Seek advice from GWAC.

On change of circumstances (COC) due to death of a partner, change of bank account or income source, what do I do?

Death of partner – inform GWAC, your Pension Service Centre, local council for Housing Benefit, your local GP and bank.

Change of bank account – inform your relevant Pension Service Centre, local council, utility (electricity/gas/water) companies.

Change of address – inform your GP, bank, Pension Service Centre, local council and utility (electricity/gas/water) companies and Concessionary Buspass office.

Temporary Leave of Absence from the UK (Going Abroad)

As a PC recipient, how many days of leave am I entitled to when going abroad?

You are entitled to 28 days leave and you can go abroad as frequently as you like. The day of departure is not counted but arrival date is counted. So if a person leaves on 20 Jul, the day of absence will be counted from 21 Jul. This means they will need to be back in UK on 17 Aug as the 28th day is counted. You must return within the entitled period of leave otherwise your PC may be stopped.

Who do I inform when going abroad?

A. Firstly, ensure you have NINO and your return ticket 

B. with you as you will need to give your departure and arrival date. You will need to inform the following:

• DWP Pension Service Centre by contacting them on 0345 6060 265 or contacting GWAC who will be able to advise you.

• Local Council 

• Local GP

While still on leave, what happens should my partner or dependant unfortunately die or fall seriously ill requiring hospital treatment?

Before you go, ensure that you get DWP contact number from GWAC as you will need to inform them on such circumstance.  The following applies on such circumstances:

Death of partner/dependant – up to 8 weeks absence allowed.  You must send a photocopy of the death certificate to your SPC. You must return to UK within the stated period or your PC could be stopped.

Serious illness requiring hospital treatment and recovery time – up to 26 weeks of absence allowed. However you need to send a doctor’s certificate to your DWP Service Pension Centre along with any medication documents. You must return to UK within the stated period or your PC could be stopped.

Benefits – Housing Benefit

When can I apply for a housing benefit?

You need to be in receipt of another benefit (Pension Credit, Universal Credit etc) in order to claim housing benefit or if you have low income.

What documents do I need to claim Housing Benefit?

The most essential document is the tenancy agreement document from your landlord along with your PC Notification Letter. Besides these, you will also need: both partners’ passports, Service Record (Lal) Book, NINO, any income/service pension statements and bank details. 

How do I apply for council housing?

You can apply for council housing through your local council. They will be able to advise you on what you need to do. You will probably be put on a waiting list as council houses are granted on priority needs. Visit: https://www.gov.uk/council-housing for more information or contact GWAC for advice.

I have just moved into a council housing but there are no electrical appliances (white goods), furniture or carpet (brown goods). Will I get help?

Contact GWAC in the first instance and we will be able to help you to the most essential white and brown goods depending upon your financial circumstances. The rest, you will need to buy it yourself. 

When and how can I claim Attendance Allowance (AA)?

You will be eligible to claim AA if you are 65 or over and if you have the following: 

• You have a physical disability (including sensory disability, for example blindness), a mental disability (including learning difficulties), or both

• Your disability is severe enough for you to need help caring for yourself or someone to supervise you, for your own or someone else’s safety

For further information go to: https://www.gov.uk/attendance-allowance/eligibility 


I have an expired Nepalese passport with an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) visa and the new Nepalese Machine Readable Passport (MRP). Can I travel abroad carrying these two passports?

Yes, you can. Visit Gov.UK website: www.gov.uk/transfer-visa
You do not need to apply for a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).

How do I apply for a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) and how much will it cost?
What do I do if I lose my passport or is stolen?
What is the difference between ILE and ILR? If the visa has a validity date, do I need to renew it when the passport expires?

The main difference between ILR and ILE is as follows:

• ILR – this visa is issued to those who apply for UK Settlement Visa in the UK.

• ILE -  this visa is issued to those who apply for UK Settlement Visa from outside the UK.

Since April 2015, those who apply for UK Settlement Visa from outside the UK are given 30 day visa only. Along with the visa, they will also be given a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) Notification letter. They need to take this letter and their Identification documents to the Post Office (address of Post Office will be stated in the notification letter) to obtain their BRP within 10 days of arrival in the UK.  When travelling abroad, they need to carry their passport and the BRP card which will have ILR written on it.

Funeral Payment and Repatriation Grant

On the unfortunate death of my partner, what benefits/grants will I be eligible for?

Yes, you can. Visit Gov.UK website: www.gov.uk/transfer-visa
You do not need to apply for a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).

Will I still be eligible for funeral payment and grant, if I wish to repatriate the deceased to Nepal?

No, as benefits and grants are only granted for funerals conducted in the UK.

I have fully paid the funeral cost of my partner and still have all the invoices. Will I still be eligible for reimbursement?

Visit https://www.gov.uk/funeral-payments/how-to-claim for information.

Are we eligible to bury the deceased in military cemetery?

Speak to your local Funeral Director in your council and s/he will be able to advise you.

Will I get any financial help if I wish to return to Nepal permanently?

This would very much depend on your circumstances. You should contact your relevant GWAC office and our advisers will be able to advise you.


Join our mailing list

Sign up to receive emails keeping you updated about our work in Nepal, inspiring news and film footage, and how you can support Gurkha veterans, their widows and communities.