Allowances – What you might be entitled to
When we speak to families they tell us that navigating allowances can be difficult. To make life a little easier we have pulled out some useful information that could have an impact on family life. There are various allowances that Service Personnel may become eligible for in certain circumstances or at different qualifying points in their career, such as a new Assignment. Advice can be taken from your family member’s Unit Personnel Office (UPO) and up to date information can also be found here.
This article aims to highlight a few of the allowances that your family member may be entitled to, and which have to be claimed for and assessed for eligibility by your family member’s UPO rather than paid automatically, of which you may not have been aware and some will require evidence, such as proof of address. Reservist’s eligibility for some allowances will be based on the type of their commitment so regulations should always be checked.
1. Home to Duties – (HTD) – An allowance paid to personnel who travel to work daily based on the mileage travelled. If the serving person lives in privately owned or rented accommodation they must contribute for the first nine miles before they are eligible to claim; if personnel live in Service Family Accommodation the allowance starts after the first three miles. It is paid automatically at a daily rate for shore side personnel but it is paid on a manual basis for personnel serving onboard a Ship. Personnel can also claim for travel on Public Transport, which will also be claimed manually.
2. Get You Home (Travel) – GYH (Travel) – Payable to personnel who live at work in Single Living Accommodation (SLA) or a Residence at Work Address and travel home at weekends. To be eligible you need to live over 50 miles away. This allowance cannot be paid alongside allowances such as HTD or Longer Separation Allowance. If you are temporarily serving at a different location for 10 days or more, then you can claim this allowance for the distance between the permanent and temporary duty station.
3. Get You Home (Sea goers) – If you are serving on-board a Ship then you are entitled to 10 warrants per leave year in order to travel to an eligible nominated address, such as Next Of Kin, Spouse or Parent. You could also transfer up to six warrants per year to your immediate family, a Spouse or Dependent Child, to travel from their home to the family member’s place of duty. When your Ship is deployed, up to six warrants per year can also be transferred to close family such as a Grandparent, Parent or Sibling, as long as the travel is to visit the Spouse, or to the Spouse/Child in order to visit either set of Parents.
4. Railcards – All personnel are entitled to apply for an HM Forces Railcard at a cost of £19. The card saves 1/3 of the cost of most rail fares in the UK and is valid for a year. Spouses and Dependent children are also eligible for a card. Please note that expenses for a duty or GYH journey can’t be claimed for if that journey is undertaken using an HM Forces Railcard.
If you and your family change location due to assignment, then you may be able to claim the Continuity of Education allowance.
1. Continuity of Education (CEA) – There are several parts to this allowance to take in individual circumstances, including Boarding School and children with Special Educational Needs. To be eligible in most cases, the family must be living with the Service Person unless they are serving on board a Ship at sea, or are deployed in an Operational Area where families are not allowed to accompany them.
Relocation Expenses and Allowances
Moving home due to a new assignment? Help is available with those extra costs involved.
1. Disturbance Expenses – If you are assigned a new Unit then you can claim Disturbance Expenses, though you cannot claim if you are moving on board a Ship. The allowance is paid at different rates depending on the type of accommodation such as SLA or SFA (Service Family Accommodation) and the location, for example UK or Overseas.
2. Movement and Storage of Personal Effects – This is to enable personnel to move home at Public Expense when assigned to a new Unit at a new location or after an authorised Mid-Assignment move. In the majority of cases, Removals and storage provision is to be delivered by the MOD contractor. The maximum volume of Personal Effects that can be moved or stored is 67.92 CuM. This allowance cannot be claimed when a couple are first setting up a home after marriage or Civil Partnership.
There are several accommodation allowances to support personnel with charges they may incur due to the nature of their assignment.
1. Lodging Allowance – To enable personnel in the UK to rent accommodation when single public accommodation is not available.
2. Overseas Rent Allowance – If you are assigned overseas and there is no suitable Service accommodation available, then you can access an allowance to reimburse you with the cost of rent and utilities for rented accommodation.
3. Overseas Furniture Provision Scheme – If you are moving to unfurnished publicly rented accommodation or foreign government quarters, then this allowance will help with the provision of furniture and furnishings.
4. Council Tax Relief – (CTR) – This allowance is for personnel who pay council tax in the UK and are serving abroad on specified operations or assignments. It is paid for each day that the person is on the qualifying assignment and includes time spent out of theatre on Rest and Recuperation. It is not paid to personnel who have already negotiated a discount with their Local Council. The allowance will be paid automatically to personnel living in SFA unless the qualifying person is living in a Married Quarter and is not the PSTAT 1/2 partner (they are not the one paying SFA and Council Tax charges) in which case they will have to claim separately as if they were living in private accommodation. The daily rate for CTR is based on the average Council Tax per dwelling in England.
There are many different allowances that cover countless differing situations, so it is always wise to consult your Unit Personnel Office with any queries, particularly when proceeding on a new Assignment.
The MOD has produced a guide to expenses and allowances for Serving personnel and the support families could receive. Find it here.