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Friday, 5 October 2012

Armed Forces Compensation Scheme

You may be able to get compensation for any injury or illness caused by service in the Armed Forces on or after 6 April 2005. In case of a service-related death, it can provide a payment to a surviving partner or child. Learn more about the scheme.

Who can get it

Current or former members of the UK Armed Forces or reserves can make a claim for any illness or injury caused by service related activity. This includes adventurous training (AT), physical exercise or organised sport e.g. Inter-service athletics.

Who can't get it

You will not qualify for compensation if your injury or illness or your partner's death is caused by service before 6 April 2005.

The War Pension Scheme (WPS) compensates for any injury, illness or death which occurs up to 6 April 2005. Please see the link ‘War Disablement Pension’ for more information.

If you receive a current War Disablement Pension or War Widows Pension you are not affected by the scheme. You will continue to receive War Pension or War Widows Pension and any related benefits.

How much you can get

If you qualify for compensation, a tariff-based lump sum payment of between £1,200 and £570,000 will be paid. This amount is based on the seriousness of your injury or health condition. There are 15 levels to the tariff. Level 1 gives the highest payment covering the most severe conditions, Level 15 covers less severe injuries such as minor burns.

More information about the tariffs can be found on the Veterans UK website.

Loss of earning capacity

If you have a serious injury or illness, the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme provides a monthly payment known as the Guaranteed Income Payment (GIP). This is a tax free payment which is paid when you’re discharged from the Armed Service until death.

A number of factors are taken into consideration when calculating the GIP. These reflect the lasting effect of more serious injuries on future promotion prospects and on the ability to work to age 65.

Surviving partners

Under the terms of the scheme, a Survivor's Guaranteed Income Payment (SGIP) may be paid to your partner if:

  • you have a partner, including unmarried and same sex partners
  • your death is caused by your service in the Armed Forces

The SGIP payment is taxable.

Unmarried surviving partners must meet certain criteria to be eligible. One of them is that a 'substantial relationship' needs to be demonstrated. This can include same-sex couples who have not entered into a Civil Partnership.

Child payments are also made to eligible children.

Effect on other benefits and entitlements

If you claim for an illness or injury through the scheme and have received one of the following for the same injury:

  • a payment
  • a pension through the Armed Forces Pension Scheme

Then the payment or pension will be taken into account when calculating the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) Guaranteed Income Payments. The same may apply for awards received under other schemes such as Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme or through a claim for contributory negligence.

If you already receive or plan to claim an income-related benefit e.g. Income Support, you should tell Jobcentre Plus about any AFCS payments received.

Benefits such as Disability Living Allowance, that you may be entitled to, are not affected by the scheme.

How to claim

You can contact the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency to get a claim form and help completing it:

Telephone: 0800 169 2277

Textphone 0800 169 3458

Lines are open 8.15 am to 5.15 pm Monday to Thursday, and 8.15 am to 4.30 pm on Fridays.

You can also download a claim form and find out more about the scheme from the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency website, Veterans UK.

How to appeal

There is a reconsideration process where you can ask for your case to be looked at again. Decisions made under the scheme can also be appealed to the independent Pensions Appeal Tribunal.

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