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From RAF service - to lifesaver!

Updated: Jul 27, 2022

Mike served with the RAF from 1952-1954 as a senior aircraftsman during his UK National Service. After raising a family and working in different professions in the UK until retirement, he decided to move to Spain.

He had a very happy time in Spain with his wife until ill-health dramatically changed their lives. Despite careful financial planning, their savings had to be used for vital operations in order to avoid lengthy waiting lists and their pensions were no longer sufficient to cover their daily costs and the upkeep of their home. When Mike’s daughter Jacqueline realised the extent of the problem, she contacted Age in Spain.

Mike with his new residency card in his electric wheelchair

We first helped Mike to apply for financial support from the RAF Benevolent Fund, which exists to support ex service men and women and their families when they need help. The Fund awarded a one off grant for some vital home repairs and a regular quarterly grant to top up his pension. This enabled the couple to manage once more.

A year later, Mike had an accident which left him wheelchair bound. Jacqueline contacted Age in Spain again to ask for advice. We helped Mike to claim the UK benefit Attendance Allowance, which is still available for UK nationals who have been living in Spain since before 2021. This enabled Jacqueline (whom he now lived with with because of his care needs) to ensure that his extra daily living costs were covered.

We also helped Mike update his residency documentation, which was 15 years out of date. This enabled Jacqueline to get him Spanish social care support and recently, residential care, not far from her, so that he can continue to live comfortably in his later years. He has taken his RAF funded electric wheelchair to his new home to help maximise his independence.

What advice would Jacqueline give to people retiring to Spain?

“We all really do have to plan for the worst case scenario. In just a couple of years, Mike went from a happy, active retirement to needing residential care - it can happen to any of us! The state care systems in Spain are fantastic, but there is not enough to go round for everyone, just when they need it. It was really difficult to navigate the systems and get him the care he now needs, even though I speak good Spanish. I cannot thank Age in Spain enough - their Casework Manager, Kayte has gone above and beyond to guide and support us every single step of the way! We are enormously grateful to the RAF Benevolent Fund and Age in Spain for being there when we needed help."

“My dad was so proud of his service with the RAF - little did he know that it would be an absolute lifesaver for him".


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