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There are several travel offers available for Serving personnel and their families. Whether you are travelling home, or planning a mini break, the following discounts may help reduce the cost:

 

National Express
  • Members of the Armed Forces can book their travel with a 60% discount with a MOD90 ID card or a Defence Privilege Card.
  • Spouses and partners of the Serving person and other members of Defence Discount Service can claim a 30% discount off with a Defence Privilege Card.

For more information on your eligibility and T&C, please visit here.

 

Virgin Atlantic
  • You can save up to 12% off.

This discount will expire on 5th September 2019. Please log onto your account on Discount Defence Service for more information.

 

Loganair
  • 10% off all return flights

This discount will expire on 30th April 2020. Please log onto your account on Discount Defence Service for more information.

 

EuropCar
  • You can save up to 20% off your UK car hire.
  •  Up to 35% discount for bookings made before 29th July 2018 and pick up before 30th September 2018 during their Summer Sale.

For more information and their T&C, please visit here.

 

Forces Car Hire
  • This site offers cheap car rentals around the world for members of the Armed Forces.

Please visit this site for quotes, bookings, and T&C.

 

Forces Travel Ferries
  • You could claim up to 15% off your travel with some of UK’s biggest ferry operators.

Please visit this site to plan your journey and claim your discount.

 

HM Forces Railcard
  • For £21 per year, you can save 1/3 on most rail fares throughout Great Britain within 12 months. This card is available to members of the Regular Forces and their spouse/ civil partner.

You can read about this discount here. Please contact your local UPO to apply for yours.

 

Enterprise Rent-A-Car
  • You can save up to 5% off.

This discount is for Defence Privilege Card holders. Read about their T&C here.

 

 

Other discounts

There is so much more available to the Armed Forces community and their family members. You can find out more about other discount services here to explore your options, and you can read about other holiday offers here.

 

Posted on: 13th July, 2018
Updated on: 17th July, 2019

The NFF is delighted that Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced his intention to counter the Scottish Government’s income tax rise that affects thousands of Naval Service personnel in Scotland.

 

This issue was raised with us by many Naval Service families located in Scotland and we advocated on their behalf to the MOD and Government. We are pleased that they have listened.

 

On 21 February 2018, the Scottish Parliament ratified their income tax rates and thresholds applying to Scottish taxpayers. As a result those Service personnel earning more than £26,000 would pay more tax in comparison to their counterparts in the rest of the UK. Scotland plays a key role in the defence of the UK and its contribution is set to increase. Some 1,400 submariners will move to HM Naval Base Clyde by 2020, creating the new single home of the entire UK Submarine Service.

 

Update

Since this article was published in March 2018, a new compensation scheme has been announced in Mid-July 2018 for those who are affected by the increase in Scottish tax rates. For further information on the scheme and our comment, visit here.

 

Posted on: 13th March, 2018
Updated on: 9th August, 2018

The Naval Families Federation shared the announcement made by the Government last year (2017), that spouses and civil partners of Service personnel will be able to apply for a new type of National Insurance (NI) credit to protect their State Pension, if they have accompanied their partner overseas. However, the BBC reported yesterday that fewer than 4,000 people have applied for this so far. Steve Webb, director of policy at Royal London, insisted that not enough people are getting what they deserve, saying: “this is a very good scheme to recognise the service of military wives over the years, but the take-up so far has been very poor”.

The payments could be worth up to £30,000 over the course of retirement so if you believe you are eligible, please ensure that you apply.

 

How do you know if you’re eligible to apply for the new credits?

Service spouses and civil partners will be eligible to apply for the new Class 3 NI credits if they:

  • reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016, that means they were born on or after 6 April 1953 (if a woman) or 6 April 1951 (if a man); and
  • are or have been married to/ in a civil partnership with a member of the Armed Forces; and
  • have accompanied their spouse or civil partner on a deployment outside the UK at any time since 6 April 1975; and
  • at the time of the posting their spouse or civil partner must have paid, been treated as having paid or been credited with UK National Insurance.

You can still apply if you are now widowed, divorced or have had your civil partnership dissolved, provided you were married or in a civil partnership at the time you accompanied your partner abroad. Some Service spouses or civil partners who meet the above criteria will not have a gap in their NI records and so will not need to apply for the new credits. For example, you may not have a gap if you:

  • were working in a job during the accompanied assignment where you paid UK NI contributions
  • were self-employed and paying self-employed Class 2 NI contributions throughout the accompanied assignment;
  • received certain benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance (previously called Incapacity Benefit or Invalidity Benefit) or Child Benefit for the whole of the accompanied assignment(s)outside the UK.

 

How do I apply?

There is no time limit in applying for Class 3 NI credits, although if you apply after you reach State Pension age any increased State Pension might not be paid for periods before the date of your application. For information about applying for the new Class 3 credit visit here.

 

The Class 1 NI Credit: A wider range of benefits for deployments since April 2010

The new Class 3 credits do not replace the existing Class 1 NI credit for those who have accompanied a partner on a posting since April 2010, and which contribute not only towards entitlement to new State Pension, but also towards Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Bereavement Benefits (to be replaced for new claimants by Bereavement Support Payments in April 2017).

 

More information

Further information about NI credits for Service spouses and civil partners is available online at here.

 

Posted on: 7th December, 2017

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.

Travel Allowances

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.

Education Allowances

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.

Accommodation Allowances

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.

Remember –

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.

More information

The MOD has produced a guide to expenses and allowances for Serving personnel and the support families could receive. Find it here.

If you are due to be assigned overseas, please visit this page for further information on Local Overseas Allowance (LOA).

Posted on: 9th November, 2017
Updated on: 29th November, 2018

Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre provides free legal advice to members of the public across a range of different legal areas. They help those who are unable to access legal advice as part of their effort to bridge the gap in access to justice.

 

Advice is delivered by QMLAC Student Advisers under the supervision of qualified lawyers.

 

A member of QMLAC will contact you within three working days to get a few more case details, to establish whether your legal issue is something student advisers are able to assist with. You will also be asked for your household income to determine whether you meet the income threshold to receive free legal advice.

 

If they are able to help, a virtual appointment will be offered to the you. Following that appointment, you will receive your advice letter 14 days later. Please note the clinics run on an academic term time basis only.

 

Appointments will start from October to April only. Follow this link to find out more.

Posted on: 19th October, 2017
Updated on: 6th October, 2020

 

Looking for some inspiration for your next trip? The Spring 2020 edition of our Homeport magazine includes a 12-page feature on special offers available to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines community. Whether you are after a budget break or a 5* spa weekend retreat, there is something for you:

 

Please click on this image to access the holiday pages.

Posted on: 12th June, 2017
Updated on: 9th March, 2020

Armed Forces personnel will no longer have to face cancellation fees for their broadband and media packages when posted overseas or to another part of the UK.

The commitment from the UK’s biggest broadband providers representing 95 per cent of Britain’s broadband market comes into force immediately, and will benefit tens of thousands of Forces households in the UK and abroad.

The change agreed to under the tenets of the Armed Forces Covenant includes BT, EE, Plusnet, Talk Talk, Sky and Virgin Media, who have all committed to treating military personnel fairly when cancelling their contracts.

Up until now, members of the Armed Forces who are deployed overseas or to different parts of the UK not covered by their provider could be forced to pay a cancellation fee. They will no longer have to face this cost and be disadvantaged due to the mobile nature of service life.

 

BT Chief Executive Gavin Patterson, said:

“Armed Forces personnel play a vital role protecting our country, whether serving overseas or stationed away from home in other parts of the UK. That’s why we’re committed to ensuring they don’t have to pay for broadband or TV services they can’t access, when they find themselves in this situation. Whether it’s through today’s announcement, our hiring of ex-armed forces personnel, or through our work with Reservists, BT, along with our fellow signatories are proud to support our country’s military personnel.”

 

Posted on: 20th March, 2017

Grandparents caring for grandchildren under 12 could qualify for National Insurance credits that can top up their income in retirement.

Many working-age grandmothers and fathers could qualify for Class 3 National Insurance credits for looking after children aged under 12 – which can be used to top up their income in retirement.

Half of Britain’s 7 million working-age grandparents have a grandchild under the age of 16.

Working parents can give up the Child Benefit credits they receive and donate them to their child’s grandparents or other adult family members for the previous tax year. Grandparents and parents must apply for the credits to be transferred.

 

Top grandparent facts

Top grandparent facts include:

  • 1 in 4 working families and 1 in 3 working mothers use grandparents for childcare
  • 63% of all grandparents with grandchildren under 16 help out with childcare
  • 1 in 5 grandmothers provide at least 10 hours a week of childcare
  • the proportion of grandparents who are of working age is set to grow as the retirement age gradually rises

 

More information

Applications for NI credits for caring for children under 12 need to be made to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and must be signed by both the adult carer and the Child Benefit recipient. Applications need to be made in the October following the end of the tax year in which the caring took place.

The credit is a Class 3 National Insurance credit and protects entitlement to basic State Pension and bereavement benefits for spouses and civil partners.

There is no minimum requirement for the number of hours of care in a week as long as the credit is transferred for a full week. For details of who can apply and how, visit here or phone the National Insurance Helpline on 0845 302 1479.

The new flat-rate State Pension, set above today’s means-tested support, is designed to provide certainty to people about what they will get in retirement. It will benefit women, and also the self-employed, who are currently excluded from qualifying for state second pension.

Figures in this release come from the Grandparents Plus briefing paper on grandparental childcare and their publication Doing it all?

 

Posted on: 20th January, 2017

It was announced in 2016 that spouses and civil partners of Service personnel will be able to apply for a new type of National Insurance (NI) credit to protect their State Pension (if they have accompanied their partner overseas).

 

Former Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

“We are making sure that military spouses and partners who spend time based overseas get the State Pension they deserve.  This is the latest step under the Armed Forces Covenant to ensure that service personnel and their families are treated fairly.”

 

How do you know if you’re eligible to apply for the new credits?

Service spouses and civil partners will be eligible to apply for the new Class 3 NI credits if they:

• Reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016, that means they were born on or after 6 April 1953 (if a woman) or 6 April 1951 (if a man); and

• Are or have been married to /in a civil partnership with a member of the Armed Forces; and

• Have accompanied their spouse or civil partner on a deployment outside the UK at any time since 6 April 1975; and

• At the time of the posting their spouse or civil partner must have paid, been treated as having paid or been credited with UK National Insurance.

You can still apply if you are now widowed, divorced or have had your civil partnership dissolved, provided you were married or in a civil partnership at the time you accompanied your partner abroad. Some Service spouses or civil partners who meet the above criteria will not have a gap in their NI records and so will not need to apply for the new credits. For example, you may not have a gap if you:

• were working in a job during the accompanied assignment where you paid UK NI contributions;

• were self-employed and paying self-employed Class 2 NI contributions throughout the accompanied assignment;

• received certain benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance (previously called Incapacity Benefit or Invalidity Benefit) or Child Benefit for the whole of the accompanied assignment(s)outside the UK.

 

How do I apply? 

You can apply for the new Class 3 NI credits anytime from 6 April 2016. There is no time limit in applying for the credits, although if you apply after you reach State Pension age any increased State Pension might not be paid for periods before the date of your application. For information about applying for the new Class 3 credit visit here.

 

The Class 1 NI Credit: A wider range of benefits for deployments since April 2010 

The new Class 3 credits do not replace the existing Class 1 NI credit for those who have accompanied a partner on a posting since April 2010, and which contribute not only towards entitlement to new State Pension, but also towards Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Bereavement Benefits (to be replaced for new claimants by Bereavement Support Payments in April 2017).

 

More information 

Further information about NI credits for Service spouses and civil partners is available online here.

 

Posted on: 12th May, 2016
Updated on: 4th January, 2019