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Author: NFF

When living in Service Family Accommodation (SFA), you will need to insure your home.

 

Standard home liability insurance does not cover Service family accommodation (SFA).

 

The Ministry of Defence recommends (JSP 464, Volume 1, Part 1, Section I, Paragraph 0605) that you take out a specialist type of insurance that covers your liability, up to £20,000, for any damage you or your family may do to your Service family accommodation. This is called ‘Licence to Occupy’ insurance.

 

The Services Insurance and Investment Advisory Panel (SIIAP) provides details of insurance providers who can ensure that you have the necessary ‘Licence to Occupy’ cover.

 

You may also wish to take out home contents insurance.

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018

What is the scheme?

Regular Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel can benefit from a £200 million scheme to help them get on the property ladder. The Forces Help to Buy scheme enables Servicemen and Servicewomen to borrow up to 50% of their salary, interest free, to buy their first home or move to another property on assignment or as their families needs’ change.

The pilot scheme, which launched in April 2014, aims to address the low rate of home ownership in the Armed Forces.

 

Who can use the scheme?

All regular personnel who:

  • have completed 12 months service from the date of enlistment; AND
  • have completed Phase One Training.; AND
  • meet the right medical categories.

Please refer to JSP 464 (part 1 directive) for more details.

 

How much can be borrowed under the scheme?

This scheme allows Service personnel to borrow up to 50% of their annual salary, to a maximum of £25,000. This can be used towards a deposit and other costs such as solicitor’s and estate agent’s fees.

 

How to get it?

Servicemen and Servicewomen can apply for the loan online through the Joint Personnel Administration system and can seek advice on their application through their Chain of Command and personnel agency.

If you are considering buying a home, but have not done so before, you may wish to read some general information on how to buy one and understand better how the process works.

 

Find out about buying a home

Below are links to useful information:

First time buyer guide

Citizens Advice Bureau

The Money Advice Service

Moneyforce

Help to Buy

Home and Communities Agency

Joint service housing advice office (JSHAO)

HM Revenue & Customs guidance

 

Closing date
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced on 22nd October 2019 that the Forces Help to Buy initiative will remain open to new applications until the end of 2022.

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018
Updated on: 6th April, 2020

In April 2017 the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) launched a compensation scheme in the UK to cover missed appointments and significant issues at move-in for Service Family Accommodation (SFA) and Substitute Service Family Accommodation (SSFA).

 

Please note that claims must be made within 14 days of the issue occurring. Once an application is received, the DIO Compensation Claim Team will then consider the claim and the claimant will be informed whether this has been accepted or rejected. If accepted, this will be in the form of High Street Vouchers – please be aware that no alternatives will be offered; if rejected, then the reasons for this will be explained. There will be no appeals process.

 

For full information/to apply for this scheme, please click here.

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018
Updated on: 16th February, 2021

For enquiries about loss of entitlement to Service Family Accommodation (SFA) resulting from retirement, redundancy, discharge or estrangement, please contact the Loss of Entitlement Team by telephoning 01904 418000 or 94510 8000. Please note their phone lines are only operational between 9.00am – 12 noon and from 1.00pm – 3.00pm.

 

They are contactable via email throughout the whole working day at DIORDAccn-LOETeam@mod.gov.uk

 

 

If you believe that you will lose entitlement to SFA in the future, or find yourself in this situation, advice is available from a variety of sources. As well as the Joint Service Housing Advice Office, other sources of information and advice are: service charities; families federations; housing advice centres; and local authorities.

 

Customer service centres

There are a number of Amey Defence Services customer service centres throughout the UK. These offices provide you with the opportunity to discuss any issues about services provided by Amey Defence Service face-to-face.

 

To find your nearest local customer service centre either contact the Amey Defence Services Helpdesk on 0800 707 6000 or view the link above.

 

Base Port Agreement

If you are occupying SFA in one of the three Base Port Areas (Portsmouth, Plymouth or Faslane) then you can retain your SFA on assignment to a new Duty Station, but in advance of your assignment date you must log onto the e1132 form (application to occupy SFA) via the Defence Intranet. You need to click the button ‘retain current SFA on posting within the Base Port Scheme’. This should be done within 14 days of receiving your Assignment Order and should be done on each assignment in order for your retention expiry date to be amended. Your occupancy data is updated and your continued entitled occupation can be confirmed for allowance purposes or for disturbance if moving at a later date.

 

What happens in the background is that the stock management system then recognises you as part of the Naval Service and therefore able to remain in your Port Area. If you don’t inform the ‘system’ that you wish to remain it thinks that there is not a match between your assignment location and SFA location which prompts Amey Defence Services to issue you with a Notice to Vacate. You need to be aware that if you occupy Substitute SFA (SSFA) in one of the Port Areas retention will be granted, but you will be expected to move to SFA if and when there is suitable availability within that Port Area.

 

If you are serving away from a Base Port area and you are then assigned away from the area then you should apply for SFA at your next place of duty. There are exceptions to this regulation, however, you must apply for a retention.

 

There has to be explicit reasons to retain that are recognised under the regulations and you will need to provide appropriate supporting documentation at the time of the application. A number of retention criteria require Chain of Command support particularly for welfare or medical reasons when, in the first instance, the Local Service Commander will consider the case in consultation with appropriate medical, welfare (NS FPS and Divisional system), educational agencies and Amey Defence Services Occupancy Service. If agreed, retentions will be granted for a period of up to 12 months (you can re-request prior to expiry if the circumstances continue to persist) and confirms continued entitled occupation for allowance and disturbance purposes.

 

If a retention request is unsuccessful it does not form any kind of bar to future use of SFA, but it may be that if you wish to stay in a particular location (other than Port Area) for a period of time beyond assignment dates, then housing options outside the SFA estate will need to be considered such as rental or purchase. There are schemes for Tenancy Deposit Loans (DIB201516) which enables personnel to receive an advance of pay for rental properties or the Forces Help to Buy Scheme for assistance to buy into the property market. More information can be found here.

 

Tri-Service SFA and SSFA accommodation regulations are contained in JSP464 Volume 1 parts 1 and 2 here or via DII. Retention is fully covered in Chapter 7, Paragraph 0725 and includes guidance for all retention criteria.

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018
Updated on: 25th October, 2019

In general terms, Service personnel who are either married or in a Civil Partnership are entitled to Service Family Accommodation (SFA) within a ten-mile radius of their place of work.

 

If you are occupying SFA in one of the three Base Port Areas (Portsmouth, Plymouth or Faslane) then you can retain your SFA on assignment to a new Duty Station, but in advance of your assignment date you must log onto the e1132 form (application to occupy SFA) via the Defence Intranet. You need to click the button ‘retain current SFA on posting within the Base Port Scheme’. This should be done within 14 days of receiving your Assignment Order and should be done on each assignment in order for your retention expiry date to be amended. Your occupancy data is updated and your continued entitled occupation can be confirmed for allowance purposes or for disturbance if moving at a later date.

 

What happens in the background is that the stock management system then recognises you as part of the Naval Service and therefore able to remain in your Port Area. If you don’t inform the ‘system’ that you wish to remain it thinks that there is not a match between your assignment location and SFA location which prompts Amey to issue you with a Notice to Vacate. You need to be aware that if you occupy Substitute SFA (SSFA) in one of the Port Areas retention will be granted, but you will be expected to move to SFA if and when there is suitable availability within that Port Area.

 

If you are serving away from a Base Port area and you are then assigned away from the area then you should apply for SFA at your next place of duty. There are exceptions to this regulation, however, you must apply for a retention.

 

There has to be explicit reasons to retain that are recognised under the regulations and you will need to provide appropriate supporting documentation at the time of the application. A number of retention criteria require Chain of Command support particularly for welfare or medical reasons when, in the first instance, the Local Service Commander will consider the case in consultation with appropriate medical, welfare (NS FPS and Divisional system), educational agencies and Amey Occupancy Service. If agreed, retentions will be granted for a period of up to 12 months (you can re-request prior to expiry if the circumstances continue to persist) and confirms continued entitled occupation for allowance and disturbance purposes.

 

If a retention request is unsuccessful it does not form any kind of bar to future use of SFA, but it may be that if you wish to stay in a particular location (other than Port Area) for a period of time beyond assignment dates, then housing options outside the SFA estate will need to be considered such as rental or purchase. There are schemes for Tenancy Deposit Loans (DIB201516) which enables personnel to receive an advance of pay for rental properties or the Forces Help to Buy Scheme for assistance to buy into the property market. More information can be found here.

 

Tri-Service SFA and SSFA accommodation regulations are contained in JSP464 Volume 1 parts 1 and 2 here or via DII. Retention is fully covered in Chapter 7, Paragraph 0725 and includes guidance for all retention criteria.

 

Updated on: 2nd December, 2019

Visit the Amey Defence Services website for details on moving out of UK SFA, arranging a pre move out appointment and find out details about the Walk Away Cleaning Scheme.

 

Move out

Your move out will be attended by an Amey Defence Services Accommodation Officer who will inspect your SFA to determine if it meets the agreed move out standard.

If the standard is not satisfactory and there are deficiencies or damages that are not considered to be fair wear and tear, or you have failed to clean the property properly, a charge will be raised by the Accommodation Officer and you will be invoiced accordingly.

In this instance an appropriate Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) action will be taken by the Amey Defence Services Occupancy Services team to cease accommodation charges on that property from the date of your move out.

For more information, please click here.

 

Removal services

Agility Logistics Limited (Agility) is the MOD approved service provider for removals and is part of the Global Removal Management Services (GRMS).

 

Charges for damage and deficiencies for SFA and Substitute SFA recovery from pay

When you move out of UK Service Family Accommodation (SFA) or Substitute Service Family Accommodation (SSFA), you may be liable for charges for damages or deficiencies that are not classed as fair wear and tear or because you have failed to prepare the property to the correct standard, for example cleanliness.

Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) can take these directly from the pay of serving personnel. Any payments taken depend on the size of the charge and individual monthly income (using MOD guidelines to ensure that deductions do not exceed a set limit of pay).

If you consider that you are not responsible for the charges, or part of them, for example that the damage is the result of fair wear and tear, you are able to dispute the charge raised using the Disputed charges form’.

 

Full details on moving out of your SFA and recoveries from pay are available in:

JSP 464: Tri-Service accommodation regulations (TSARs)Part 1

JSP 754: Recoveries from pay (available on the Defence Intranet only)

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018
Updated on: 30th August, 2018

The Combined Accommodation Assessment System (CAAS) is a charging system for Service Family Accommodation (SFA) and was announced by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) on 24th October, 2014.

 

What factors will be assessed?

CAAS considers the condition, scale and location of the property, using modern, objective assessments that aims to apply fairly and equally to all. The condition of the property is the most important factor – homes that have not been improved will be significantly cheaper – but other factors will also have a significant impact e.g. 10% discount may apply, in consideration with other weighting factors, if your broadband connection is slower than the national average.

 

More information

To find out more about CAAS and the methodology for determining the accommodation charges for SFA and SLA, please click here.

 

CAAS Challenges

If you receive a letter to say that your banding has changed and you disagree with this, you will have 28 days in which to challenge it.

You must base your challenge on factual errors and make it in writing via letter, email or using the template on DII.

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018

The Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) are part of the MOD’s Directorate Children and Young People (DCYP) and are a small team, who are experienced in advising Service parents on a wide range of issues regarding the education of Service children in the UK and overseas. CEAS are also the first port of call for people considering an application for Continuity of Education Allowance. You can find their contact details and further information about the types of advice they offer on gov.uk here, or see this leaflet here.

 

Posted on: 2nd May, 2018
Updated on: 6th June, 2019

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service – UCAS

UCAS is an independent charity providing information, advice, and admissions services for universities and colleges across the UK.

 

Applying To University
Telling your story to UCAS for young people

Children from military service families are under-represented in the higher education population. Up to 4 out of 10 children who, if in the general population would go to university, do not go if they are from a military family (McCullouch and Hall, 2016). This has been recognised by the Office for Students (OfS), which identifies children from military families as a target group to be addressed by universities and colleges in their access arrangements. You can find out more about this on page 18 of this document. The Office for Fair Access (the body which previously was responsible for higher education access) published a topic briefing about students for military families which you can find here.

The Naval Families Federation is working with its partners in the Service Children’s Progression Alliance to improve further and higher education outcomes for Service children, and to encourage universities to include them in their access arrangements. The Alliance website is a useful source of resources for teachers, parents and others who are interested in championing children from Armed Forces families.

 

What do I need to do as a potential university applicant, or the parent of a young person applying to go to university?

You can, if you wish, make the university aware of your status as a child of a military family. Very often we find that young people from Armed Forces families do not consider themselves to be particularly ‘different’. You may not see any reason why your characteristics should be of any special interest to your chosen university. On the other hand, there may be aspects of being part of an Armed Forces family that have influenced your choices and outcomes. Your UCAS application gives you an opportunity to say something about these if you wish to do so. Obviously you are your own person, and not defined by your parent’s military service, but it may have had an influence – positive, negative or neutral – on your educational journey and your personal growth.

 

My UCAS application

There are 3 areas of your UCAS application where you may identify as a young person from a military family:

 

Parental Occupation

On your UCAS application, there is a parental occupation box with a drop down menu from which you can select ‘Armed Forces’. This enables UCAS to collect data which will help build a clearer picture of what is happening for Armed Forces families nationally.

 

Personal Statement

There is plenty of information on the UCAS website about writing your personal statement. We particularly like the writing tool which leads you through the sections and explains what to include. You can find it on the UCAS website here.

Section 1 – the course

The first section of your personal statement will explain:

  • why you are applying for your chosen course;
  • why the subject interests you;
  • why you are suitable for the course;
  • how your current or previous studies relate to the chosen course;
  • and what other activities you have undertaken that demonstrate your interest in the course.

Section 2 – your skills and achievements

In the second section you will write about the skills and achievements that will help you on your chosen course of study and with life at university in general, giving evidence to support why you are right for your course. There is an opportunity to say something here about particular skills that you may have gained from being part of an Armed Forces family. Keep it positive. Include skills that are relevant to the course you are hoping to study and make the link. For example:

“I moved schools frequently as a result of my parent’s service, and have learnt to settle in quickly in new places and cope with change.”

“My parent has been away from home a lot with the Armed Forces. I have needed to be responsible for my younger siblings at times, and this has helped me to organise my time and be reliable.”

“I have learned to cope with stress and be more resilient as a result of my parent being injured whilst deployed on combat operations. Although it was hard at the time, I worry less now about big challenges because I know I can cope with difficult situations.”

“I am a young carer for my brother who has special educational needs. When my dad is serving away from home with the Armed Forces, I take on additional responsibility for my brother while my mum is at work. This shows that I am independent and resourceful.”

“As someone from an Armed Forces family, I have had to be adaptable and flexible as roles and routines in our home change a lot depending whether my dad is away.”

 

UCAS Undergraduate Reference

You can give your permission for your school, college or registered centre to include information in your reference about your circumstances that may have affected/have affected your academic work.

For example:

  • School moves that disrupted your learning for a particular course of study;
  • A parent deployed on combat operations during examinations;
  • Being a young carer;
  • Having a serving parent who is affected by a life-changing injury or medical condition.

This information can help the admissions staff at the university to consider your achievements and potential in context. It is best if you let you referee see a copy of your personal statement so that they can avoid duplicating what you said, but they can comment on what you wrote if they wish.

Good luck! We wish you every success with your application. If you want to tell us about your journey into higher education, please do get in touch with us at contactus@nff.org.uk. We would love to hear your story!

 

Further information

If you are a teacher, or are supporting a student with their UCAS application, please encourage them to complete all the relevant application fields in full. You can find out more about contextualised admissions here.

If you are writing a reference for a student’s UCAS application, you can find additional guidance here.

If you are supporting a young person with their application, there is a ‘Make the most of your Assets pack’ from the SCiP Alliance that you can download here.

 

Student funding

You can find information about student funding, depending on where you live, here:

Student Finance England

Student Awards Agency Scotland

The Scottish Government and the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) policy is to consider the place in which the serving person was living before they first joined up as their place of ordinary residence. This is regardless of whether they and their family member(s) are living abroad or in the UK, and where in the UK they want to study. Further information and examples of how the SAAS policy is applied can be found here and here.

 

Student Finance Wales

 

Student Finance Northern Ireland

 

Student Grants Isle of Man

 

Student Finance Jersey

 

Funding for Study Guernsey

 

If you experience difficulties in securing higher education funding because of your connection to the Royal Navy or Royal Marines, please do contact us and let us know. We are committed to removing disadvantage related to your Service connection. You can also contact CEAS for expert guidance on the process.

 

Becoming a teacher in the UK

You can apply through UCAS for the main postgraduate and undergraduate teacher training programmes in England, Wales, and Scotland. The route for teacher training differs in Northern Ireland. Details of all the routes can be found on the UCAS website hereIf you are already a qualified teacher, and are experiencing difficulties in transferring your skills between devolved nations on re-assignment to a new area, please do contact us.

 

Posted on: 2nd May, 2018

The Service Children’s Progression (SCiP) Alliance is a partnership of organisations focused on improving outcomes for children from military families. It is funded by the Ministry of Defence. The Naval Families Federation has been a proactive partner since the Alliance’s inception and is represented on the Board.

 

The SCiP Alliance’s Mission is to champion the progression of the children of military personnel, so that they can make informed and confident transitions through further and higher education into thriving adult lives and careers. It is working to establish and sustain an alliance of stakeholder organisations across the UK to develop a coherent strategy for the progression of Service children into thriving adult lives and careers. It is also developing an effective practice hub that will enable the continuous improvement of practitioners’ work with and for Service children’s education and progression in local contexts. The Alliance leads a research and knowledge exchange unit to drive improvements in understanding, evidence and impact focused on Service children’s outcomes.

 

You can find out more about the Alliance on its website here.

 

Posted on: 7th June, 2018