The Map of Need: Identifying and predicting the spatial distribution of financial hardship in Scotland’s Veteran Community

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Abstract

Introduction:
During military service, many household costs for both married and single service personnel are subsidised, and transition can leave veterans unprepared for the financial demands of civilian life. Armed Forces organisations such as Sailor, Soldier, Air Force Association (SSAFA) play a central role in understanding the financial challenges that UK veterans face and provide an insight into the financial hardship experienced by veterans. The aim of this study was to use SSAFA beneficiary data as a proxy to identify the nature of financial benefit, the spatial distribution of financial hardship in the Scottish SSAFA beneficiary community and explore factors that might predict where those recipients are located.

Methods:
Using an anonymised dataset of Scottish SSAFA financial beneficiaries between 2014 and 2019, this study used a geographical methodology to identify the geospatial distribution of SSAFA benefit recipients and exploratory regression analysis to explore factors to explain where SSAFA beneficiaries are located.

Results:
Over half of benefit applicants (n= 10,735) were concentrated in only 50 postcode districts, showing evidence of a clustered pattern, and modelling demonstrates association with area level deprivation. The findings highlight strong association between older injured veterans and need for SSAFA beneficiary assistance.

Conclusion:
The findings demonstrate that beneficiaries were statistically clustered into areas of high deprivation, experiencing similar challenges to that of the wider population in these areas. Military service injury or disability was strongly associated with areas of high SSAFA benefit use and in those areas high unemployment was also a significant factor to consider.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMJ Military Health
Early online date4 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Mar 2021

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