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Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS)
Changes to AFCS from 9th May 2011
AFCS general information
Key features of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
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Frequently asked questions
What is the purpose of the Compensation Scheme?
It replaced previous arrangements for attributable benefits under the War Pensions Scheme (WPS) and Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS) for injuries, illnesses or deaths caused by service in the Armed Forces on or after 6 April 2005. It introduces modern, fair and simple arrangements with greater focus on the more severely disabled.
When was the Scheme introduced?
The new Scheme was introduced on 6 April 2005 for all members of the Armed Forces whose injury, illness or death is caused on or after that date.
What about injuries, illnesses or deaths which are linked to incidents prior to 6 April 2005?
Any injury, illness or death which is linked to events prior to 6 April 2005 will continue to be dealt with under the War Pension Scheme and the Armed Forces Pension Scheme 1975.
Who runs the Compensation Scheme?
The Service Personnel and Veterans Agency is responsible for delivering the Compensation Scheme.
Are attributable awards tax-free?
Awards under the new Scheme for members' attributable benefits in retirement will remain tax-free. However, as with the current AFPS scheme, dependants' benefits will be taxed. For the first time lump sums in service are also payable. These will be tax-free.
How are compensation payments made?
A lump sum is payable to the Service person or former Service person based on a range of tariffs according to the seriousness of the condition. A graduated Guaranteed Income Payment (GIP), payable for life, will also be paid to those whose injuries would cause a significant loss of earning capacity. A GIP will also be payable to surviving partners, including unmarried and same-sex partners, where the service person’s death was caused by service.
How are Lump Sums and GIP calculated?
The value of the lump sum award is determined by a tariff which has 15 levels. Level 1 gives the highest payment, covering the most severe conditions, such as loss of sight and hearing, or severe spinal cord injury leading to immobility and nursing care. Level 15 covers the least severe injuries for which compensation is paid, such as minor burns or a dislocated knee.
The value of the GIP is determined both by the Service person’s earnings and the severity of the condition. The GIP is calculated by multiplying the basic pensionable pay of the Service person by a factor which depends on the age at last birthday – the younger the person the higher the factor.
What is the basis of the 15-tier tariff?
The tariff takes account of the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases and will be updated to take into account any developments in this and in medical understanding.
How will the Scheme view 'home to duty' travel?
It is not considered appropriate to allow comprehensive cover for home to duty travel. However, travel on detached duty, to and from operations and exercises abroad, and travel to emergency call-out will be covered. Also travel to and from Service Family Accommodation where none can be provided within 50 miles of place of work is covered.
How does the Scheme view sporting injuries?
The AFCS covers injuries caused by service related physical development activities including Adventure Training (AT), physical education, exercise and sport. Generic activities have to be approved by the relevant Service authorities. The scheme also covers cardio vascular training to ensure fitness levels to pass military physical fitness or swimming tests are maintained. Playing in mandated and recognised sports events and Officials and organisers are also covered. However, the AFCS does not include participation in equivalent civilian events nor any social activities related to a sporting activity. It is the Service person’s responsibility to arrange insurance cover for any non Service activities
Are War Pensions Scheme (WPS) supplementary allowances still payable under AFCS?
No, but the claimant is eligible to claim the corresponding State Benefits. It is no longer considered necessary to replicate the benefits which are now available from the State, which are paid on the basis of need.
Who is covered?
All Regulars (including Gurkhas) and Reservists for all deaths, injuries or illnesses caused by service on or after 6 April 2005 .
Why is there a time limit for claiming attributable injuries?
The sooner a claim is made, the better to allow easier access to evidence relating to the claim. However, a 7-year time-limit, together with a procedure to accept conditions whose onset we recognise may be delayed, should ensure that any claims relating to injury or illness due to service are compensated.
Are claims likely to be successful?
Claims that are supported by reliable evidence and processed using the AFCS standard of proof are likely to be successful. The scheme has a 7-year time limit to claim, but is supported by a procedure for late onset conditions. There is also a reconsideration and appeals process which allows claimants the opportunity to further their claims.
Does this Scheme allow for review in cases where the condition or disablement deteriorates over time?
There is no routine review process. Awards are intended to be full and final. The level of the tariff takes into account the normal expected deterioration of a condition. There will be some situations where at the outset the long term prognosis for an injury will be uncertain. In these cases an interim award will be made relating to a tariff level which appears appropriate at that point . With this decision, the length of the interim award will be specified; this can be extended for up to a period of 2 years, within which time a re-assessment of the condition will take place. The level of the award will then be either confirmed, raised or lowered.
Additionally, after a final decision on awards has been made, there is a procedure for review in exceptional circumstances, in cases where deterioration goes significantly beyond that normally to be expected of a condition.
Is there an appeals process?
There is an internal reconsideration process, where the claimant can request a review of the case or award. Decisions made under the Scheme can also be appealed to an independent Tribunal. Decisions made by the tribunal can then be appealed on a point of law to the Social Security Commissioners. Further appeal can be made to the Court of Appeal (or Court of Session in Scotland), and after that, to the House of Lords.