From 1 July 2021, the way in which the Armed Forces’ Local Overseas Allowance (LOA) is calculated will be changing. LOA is intended to contribute towards the additional local cost of day-to-day living when Service personnel are assigned overseas.
Eligibility for LOA remains the same. It will still be paid automatically alongside the monthly salary.
The new model will mean that all Service Personnel claimants of LOA, and their families, will receive a fair and sustainable contribution towards necessary additional living costs when serving overseas. Service personnel around the world will find that the amount of LOA they receive may either increase, decrease or remain broadly the same. The changes are not a saving measure but designed to be cost neutral.
The new package is made up of the LOA daily rate and two needs-based provisions that contribute towards your overseas private vehicle and respite (travel and accommodation) costs.
One of the most significant changes will be the introduction of a single band for all Service personnel regardless of rank, removing the previous rank-based banding system.
When the new LOA package was first announced on 1 February 2021, the policy included the cessation of Split Net Pay as a routine mechanism to transfer a portion of Service personnel pay and allowances into an overseas bank account. Noting various factors such as the impact of Brexit on bank charges and transfers as well as the current international economic climate, the policy regarding Split Net Pay has been reversed. The new LOA package will have no impact on access to the Split Net Pay facility which will continue to be made available to service personnel in receipt of LOA.
From 1 April 2021 Service personnel who are permanently assigned overseas and receive Local Overseas Allowance (LOA) will have access to a new Overseas Private Vehicle Provision (OPVP).
OPVP assists Service personnel with access to a private motor vehicle in a LOA area. The provision will be an additional but separate contribution to the new LOA; due to be implemented from 1 July 2021.
The OPVP will be paid up to a (capped) lump sum on proof of expenditure of a vehicle. This will replace the old Car buy/Sell contribution that was paid in most Main Station locations where contributions were spread across the course of an assignment. The change has been introduced to better support Service personnel with significant one-off costs when they need it most.
The rate of OPVP is capped at £975. Depending on the circumstances of the Service person, OPVP can be claimed on assignment into and, with effect from 1 July 2021, out of the overseas location. This means that in some cases Service personnel will be able to claim up to a total of circa £1950 (e.g. £975 into the overseas location and £975 out of the overseas location). Service personnel returning from an overseas assignment cannot claim OPVP until 1 July 2021.
Please click here to read a directed letter from the MOD which gives more detail into the provision and transitionary arrangements.
All Service personnel receiving LOA on 30 June 2021 will automatically transfer on to the new package on 1 July 2021. However, any locations that see a significant reduction in the daily rate of LOA, will have their rates reduced over a period of up to three years (1 July 2021 to 1 July 2024). All increases in rates will immediately take full effect on 1 July 2021.
The revised LOA rates were published under a Directed Letter to single Service Pay Colonels on 11 June 2021. The changes will be fully implemented over a three-year transition period. Please click here to read a guidance from the government’s website or visit your local unit admin office for more information.
You can watch a short explanatory video below:
The LOA review of 2015 was an extremely thorough process in which the single Services were consulted at every step. The implementation programme has similarly involved the single Services and the proposals have been agreed by the Defence Secretary, Minister for Defence People and Veterans, Chief of Defence People and the Military People Leadership Team.
The feedback that we are receiving is helping us to address the LOA issues that Service personnel are most concerned about. In listening to such feedback, we recently re-examined the proposed removal of Split Net Pay and I can inform you that it will now remain available on its current basis. I can also clarify another of the points concerning Overseas Private Vehicle Provision (OPVP). In the new LOA, the vehicle element will no longer be paid as part of the core LOA contribution. In the new model, the OPVP becomes better targeted and will be claimed at the point of vehicle related expenditure which is when the individual will realise the most practical benefit from it. Further detail on the OPVP will be released in March and April ahead of the new LOA being implemented in July. (See this Directed Letter for update)
The supporting communications plan for LOA is phased and has been signed off by the Secretary of State. The first phase was focused on raising awareness for the change so that Service personnel and their families had time to ask questions and understand what the change means for them. We also ensured that Senior Chains of Command received the information, ahead of a programme of virtual roadshows that the Armed Forces Remuneration team are currently presenting through February and March to talk through the new LOA in more detail and take on board feedback. Two presentations are planned in the USA, on 4th March and 9th March. This will be accompanied by further material being made available ahead of the implementation on 01 July 21. A major step was the recent release, by the single Services, of our more detailed briefing packs for the benefit of local Commanders and Unit Administration staff around the world. We are also arranging a similar presentation for senior UK based Commands in order to raise awareness among those who are likely to serve abroad in the future.
We are very well aware that the key issue for many is ‘how much will my new LOA rate be?’ We are being very open with Commands and with Service personnel that we cannot answer that until late May/early June. This is because the data upon which the initial set of rates will be calculated will not be available to us until April ‘21. By adhering to this timetable, we will be able to ensure that the new LOA rates will be based on the most up to date economic information available. I can also confirm that the 2015 LOA Review had no remit to achieve cost savings and that the ‘new LOA’ will be broadly cost neutral in comparison with the existing model.
*SURVEY CLOSED – we will keep you updated via our website and social media channels once the report has been published.*
On the 1st September ‘Strengthening Families – By Your Side’, a new offer of support for all Royal Navy families, will officially launch.
Strengthening Families – By Your Side has been developed by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) and Naval Families Federation (NFF), in partnership with the Royal Navy, Kings Active Foundation, Home-Start UK and Relate. This project is supported by funding over the next three years from the Armed Forces Covenant. In addition to this, the RNRMC have also brought together funded projects from the Naval Children’s Charity, Aggie Weston’s and KIDS to provide a comprehensive support package to service families whenever and wherever they need it.
This groundbreaking partnership will work collaboratively to address some of the key issues underlined in the RNRMC’s ‘Understanding of Need’ report, primarily looking at the gap between the support available for dispersed families nationwide compared to support available for those living in or near base ports.
Professor Janet Walker, who has been instrumental in the project’s development, said:
“Increasingly, as Royal Navy families choose to live away from their home base, many are experiencing loneliness and social isolation, the absence of a military peer group who understand and share the same pressures, relationship difficulties caused by time spent apart during deployments and weekending, and the unpredictability of home-comings and family time.”
“‘Strengthening Families – By Your Side’ can break down the barriers to seeking support and will assist members of Navy families, wherever you live and whoever you are, to access confidential and personalised practical and emotional help.”
The importance of support for dispersed families was echoed by Anna Wright, CEO of NFF:
“From my perspective the most exciting aspect of this project is that it supports our dispersed community. With 39% living away from bases, having located in every county in the UK, it is essential that RNRM families can access appropriate support on the ground. And being able to self-refer to this support as a naval family is vital. We are delighted to be working with a group of charities that are collaborative, flexible and committed to supporting the naval lifestyle.
Mandy Lindley, Director of Relationships and Funding at the RNRMC added:
“By working together, we can deliver the improvement in quality of life that is needed by our service families. Strengthening Families – By Your Side is about early intervention and prevention, providing a range of services leading to improved family cohesion, conflict resolution, health and well-being, and increased levels of happiness.”
For more information about the full range of support available and how to access it please visit: rnrmc.org.uk/how-we-help/families-and-relationships
23rd November 2021:
MOD will undertake a public consultation on the scheme-specific amendments that will be required to the Armed Forces Pension Scheme regulations to implement the McCloud prospective remedy.
The amendments will close all Armed Forces legacy pension schemes on 31 March 2022 and ensure that from 1 April 22 all serving personnel who were full protection members will transition to the AFPS 15 and begin to accrue benefits under that scheme from that date.
The amendments will also address some minor errors and omissions in pension scheme regulations.
This consultation closes at
28th October 2021 – MOD Armed Forces Remuneration Team:
”In order to implement the prospective remedy for McCloud, details of which are outlined below, the MOD are undertaking a public consultation which details the changes that will be made to the Armed Forces Pension Scheme regulations and the effect on members. The consultation will explain the impact of the draft regulations, including the closing of the legacy pension schemes to further accrual from 31 March 2022, and the updating of transitional provisions to include those who previously did not move to AFPS 15. In addition, the regulations will make some retrospective changes to transitional provisions introduced in 2015 to remove age discrimination. The consultation will apply to the Regular and Reserve UK Armed Forces personnel who will continue in service on 1 April 2022 as members of the AFPS 15.
The consultation period is expected to run for 8 weeks, between mid-November 2021 to mid-January 2022 and views are encouraged from Serving Personnel and Veterans. More details on the exact dates of the consultation period, including how to respond, will be published soon.”
The government has announced a 12-week consultation seeking views on how to remove the discrimination caused by the transitional rules which meant older Service Personnel (SP) remained in their legacy schemes when other, younger, SP were transferred to the reformed scheme in 2015.
In 2015 the government implemented reforms to all the main public service pension schemes, including the Armed Forces Pension Scheme. The reforms included a policy of transitional protection that meant members closest to retirement stayed in their old schemes. The Court of Appeal later found the policy to be discriminatory, primarily against younger members, and so since then the government has been working to address the discrimination. Whilst the simplest option would be to put public service pension members back in their legacy schemes, the Government has been clear that it will not do this as a significant number of personnel will be better off in the reformed (2015) schemes. Therefore, the final policy design needs to allow members a choice of which scheme is better for them.
The public service pensions consultation is the next stage in the process to remove the discrimination identified by the courts in the 2015 pension reforms. The changes proposed in the consultation to remove the discrimination will apply across all of the main public service pension schemes and provide members with a choice of which scheme benefits they would like to receive for the remedy period.
Scheme members who will be in scope are those who had service on or before 31 March 2012 and on or after 1 April 2015. This includes any pre-31 March 2012 re-joiners with a qualifying break in Service of less than 5 years. This includes those members who are currently serving and in-scope personnel who have left the service since 1 April 2015. Members who were originally covered by the transitional protection will also be provided with a choice of which scheme benefits they would prefer to receive for the remedy period.
The remedy period is the time period for which members will be able to retrospectively choose which scheme benefits they will receive. It will run from 1 April 2015 which is when the reforms were introduced, until 31 March 2022 which is the point when treatment will be equalised going forward. This is because the government also proposes that, with effect from 1 April 2022, all those who continue in service will do so as members of the AFPS 15 irrespective of whether they previously had transitional protection or not.
The Government and the Ministry of Defence have issued communications on the consultation, the options and impacts on pension schemes. Service Personnel and families are recommended to read these communications which can be accessed through MODNET or directly on the Government’s website.
Located in New Forest National Park, the Poppy Pod Village is the Tile Barn Outdoor Centre’s legacy to Armed Forces personnel. These Pods are here in perpetuity to recognise and remember the sacrifices made and faced by the Armed Forces Community.
With the help of the Armed Forces Covenant, the Royal British Legion (Brockenhurst Branch) and Hampshire County Council, this project has been made possible.
In the campsite, you will find wooden camping pods, which are sustainable and environmentally friendly with solar panels. Inside each pod, you will find a fixed double bed/ seating area, two folding camp beds, USB phone charging socket, and LED lighting. The campsite is also fully equipped with toilets and showers, fridge/freezer, car park and more.
Adventurous activities run every Saturday morning for weekend bookings or Tuesday/Thursday mornings for week bookings. Visit this page for more information on their Adventure Days.
The Poppy Pod Membership for 2020 is now open for purchase. Serving personnel (Regular and Reservists) and Veterans can join this scheme via Hampshire County Council and use the facility for free, along with their family members, at weekends and school holidays.
Did you know that spouses/civil partners who accompany their Service partner on an overseas assisgnment are unable to claim Maternity Allowance from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) if they are not living in the UK?
However, you and your spouse/civil partner do have other options, depending on where you are posted to. You can either:
The process is to apply for Maternity Allowance in the normal way, ensuring section 8 of the form, where it asks if you are a member of a Service family abroad, is completed. When completed, the form should be sent to the International Pension Centre (IPC) to the address stated on the form (in part 13). The IPC will look at the case and take the appropriate action.
There are certain deadlines for claiming maternity benefits from a local nation, so please ensure that you apply promptly and seek advice from the DWP IPC team if you are unsure of the process or time frames. Remember to tell them that you are part of an Armed Forces family.
We recommend that, before you complete the form, you might also wish to speak to your Unit Personnel Office and note the contents of:
In preparation for presenting evidence to the Armed Forces Pay Review Body (AFPRB) 2018, the Naval Families Federation (NFF) carried out a short online survey on pay. The survey was open for 4 weeks between early September and early October 2018. The survey was identical to that carried out in 2017, to allow comparison of the results.
This year the response rate was lower than last year, with only 178 responses compared to 440 responses in 2017. A few factors may be relevant to the decline in response rate, e.g. this survey was carried out directly after the NFF’s major 2018 survey, which had a large response rate.
In 2017, 26% of respondents felt satisfied with their financial situation always or a lot of the time, compared to only 18% in 2018.
92 of you chose to provide us with invaluable free text feedback. Some of the most common topics are (in no particular order): the 2018 pay award, pensions, difficulties meeting living costs, the affordability of housing.
Over the past year, the proportion of spouses/partners increasing working hours or changing jobs to boost the household income has increased by 5%; there has been an increase of 12% in cutting back on holidays and leisure activities.
To read the results in full, please click here.
Following the collapse of Wonga, the payday lender who went into administration, Service personnel with Wonga loans are being offered a “payday payoff” loan facility from Plane Saver Credit Union.
This facility is offered to support serving personnel who are affected by Wonga’s collapse. Please visit this site to read their full terms and conditions.
The Ministry of Defence has produced a guide to expenses and allowances for Serving personnel and the support families could receive.
This booklet, accessible here, holds a wealth of information to help both regular and reserve members of all three Services to better understand some of the most common expenses, allowances and other provisions that are available.
Introducing the categories of entitlements, explaining the common terminologies, and the claiming process, it can also signpost you to the correct departments and appropriate chapters in JSP 752 (primary authority). You can also find a FAQ in form of scenarios that are most commonly experienced by our Serving people.
Please note that this document is for guidance only, do always refer to JSP 752 and contact your Unit HRs.