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Overseas Tag

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.

 

The changes

Eligibility for LOA remains the same. It will still be paid automatically alongside the monthly salary.

 

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.

 

Split Net Pay (update)

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.

 

Overseas Private Vehicle Provision (OPVP)

The package will include a new OPVP to assist Service personnel with access to a private motor vehicle at the LOA area. This provision will be available from 1 April 2021 so that those who are assigned into the LOA area prior to the change (1 July) has the choice of which vehicle provision to utilise. Please click here to read a directed letter from the MOD which gives more detail into the provision and transitionary arrangements.

 

Transition to the new package

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.

 

Further information

Rates will be available to Service personnel from June 2021. Please click here to read a guidance from the government’s website. You can watch a short explanatory video below:

 

 

Enquiries

As a result of the changes to the LOA, we received some feedback on a few areas, including Split Pay and Private Vehicle Provision, which we put to the MOD Team.  They have provided the below information in response: 

MOD's response

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.

Posted on: 12th February, 2021
Updated on: 23rd February, 2021

Considering/ just received an overseas assignment? Here are some articles pulled from our Homeport magazine to provide you with more information:

Screenshot of Homeport article (Autumn 2020) - Polaris take over - but it's business as usual
Cyrpus & EJSU (Autumn 2020)
Homeport (Summer 20) article about SHAPE
SHAPE (Summer 2020)
Homeport article from Autumn 2020 - Working from Home - 600 miles away
Working from Home (Autumn 2020)
Posted on: 10th November, 2020

 

When assigned overseas the International Hive information service (iHIVE) will provide Tri-Service support and up to date and relevant information for all oversea locations. Through researched information, overseas location guides will provide easy access to relevant information regarding the overseas location and include researched information on several key topics including health, education, welfare and local facilities plus details of the various policies that support those overseas. The guides, available to view or download via the web, also include useful contacts. The guides are developed to help personnel and their families understand more about locations overseas and can be used to decide if specific location are suitable for overseas assignment for the Serving person and their family. 

 

 

Posted on: 23rd October, 2020
Updated on: 21st January, 2021

Are you considering/ due to move overseas for an assignment?

 

Your future overseas admin unit/Embassy are responsible for providing you with all overseas information, such as housing, schooling and pertinent local information.  This will normally be in the form of a pack or you are given a sponsor to liaise with.

 

Below are some general information for your reference:

Accommodation

Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) will assign suitable housing for you and your family once an MOD e1132 (application to occupy Service Family Accommodation) has been completed.  

The Royal Navy has a Relocations Officer who will be able to provide you with the FamilOverseas Removals and Travel Pack.  Relocations is only responsible for removals and travel to your destination.   

 

  • Joint Service Publication (JSP)  

JSP64 – Tri-Service Accommodation Regulations Volume 1: Service Family Accommodation (SFA) and Substitute Service Family Accommodation – UK and Overseas 

 

  • Long Term Relationships (LTR) 

Overseas do not have surplus accommodation, therefore, long term relationships are not eligible to apply for SFA.  If you wish to accompany your partner on an overseas assignment you must be married.   

British Forces Post Office (BFPO)

All BFPO numbers have been allocated a shadow postcode e.g Naples = BFPO8/BF1 2AB 

Up to date information about BFPO can be found here on the Post Office website. Also, additional information can be found on the government’s website here. 

 

  • Shadow Postcodes 

Full list of current shadow postcodes can be found here. 

 

  • Smartphone apps 

You can find BFPO numbers, UK retailers who post products to BFPO addresses and calculate you postage costs by downloading the BFPO app for Apple and Android devices.  

 

  • BFPO/Brexit

BFPO customers in EU locations are advised that mail subject to recent delays is continuing to work its way through an extremely busy civil mail network system. BFPO have experienced an interruption with deliveries to, and UK return services from, Naples and Milan. BFPO customers in these locations are advised that parcel services and UK return services via the Naples Forces Post Office are temporarily suspended with immediate effect. Moreover, changes to UK and international law will affect how mail and parcels will be cleared in the future and these new laws, which are driven by aviation security and fiscal requirements, will be getting much stricter throughout 2021. You can find a BFPO service update here.

Childcare

In overseas locations, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) provides services (or access to services) that, so far as is reasonably practicable, conform in type, scope and standard to that required by legislation in England.  

 

Parents will have access to the following: 

  • In MOD nursery setting overseas parents with children aged 3 and 4 years old can access 15 or 30 hours free childcare (depending on eligibility).  30 hours free childcare applies when registering for the additional entitlement.   
  • Recently renamed to Overseas Nursery Authority (ONA), Parents of 3 and 4 year olds in overseas locations, where MOD schools and setting are not available, can apply for reimbursement of nursery fees  

 

Applications (from all three services) should be sent to armyres-armyhq-blb-mailbox@mod.gov.uk  

Education

The education provision for Service children overseas can be categorised as Ministry of Defence (MOD) Schools and Settings or non-MOD schools locations. Please click here for more information.

Employment

Employment criteria can differ from country to country.  Opportunities can be limited, especially in areas that are more isolated.  Job vacancies are posted on the Tri-Service platformForces Families Job, as well as opportunities to upskill. 

 

Further support:

Finance

Depending on your personal financial situation, you may find information within the following links useful when considering an overseas assignment.  

 

Local Overseas Allowance (LOA)

From 1 July 2021, the way in which the Armed Forces’ Local Overseas Allowance (LOA) is calculated will be changing. The changes will make the allowance more transparent, fairer to all Service personnel, and improve oversight. They do not impact eligibility or other allowances and are not a saving measure but designed to be cost neutral. Click here to find out more about the updates. We have received several enquiries on the new package and have put together a quick guide/FAQ here.

Where to find in country information
  • British Defence Staff US – www.bdsus.info  
  • British Forces Social Work Service (BFSWS) and Community Support Cyprus – www.forcessocialwork.com/cyprus 
  • British Forces South Atlantic Islands families’ handbookClick here
  • European Joint Support Units –  www.ejsu.net 
  • Tri-Service International Hive (iHIVE)  – nff.org.uk/ihive/
    • When assigned overseas the International Hive information service (iHIVE) will provide Tri-Service support and up to date and relevant information for all oversea locations.  Through researched information, overseas location guides will provide easy access to relevant information regarding the overseas location and include researched information on several key topics including health, education, welfare and local facilities plus details of the various policies that support those overseas.  The guides, available to view or download via the web, also include useful contacts.  The guides are developed to help personnel and their families understand more about locations overseas and can be used to decide if specific location are suitable for overseas assignment for the Serving person and their family.
Posted on: 22nd October, 2020

Overseas Accompanied Assignments and School children’s visits – Unaccompanied Minors Flights

Different airlines have different policies regarding unaccompanied minors’ flights. To understand an airline’s specific unaccompanied minors’ policy, have a look on their website. Some airlines provide unaccompanied minors flights services, some airlines will only allow children from the age of 12 to 14 (if they have a letter of consent from their parents) and some airlines will only allow children over the age of 16 to fly unaccompanied. Some airlines will require you to call the airline directly to book for a person under the age of 16, rather than order tickets online.

 

If you cannot find an airline to book an unaccompanied minors flight, MOD policy will fund return flights for one parent to collect their children. Please refer to the following sections in JSP 752 for details:

  • 10.0222: Locations where no Airline Offers an Unaccompanied Minors (UNMIN) Service to/from/within the UK
  • 10.0223: Reimbursement of any Costs Charged by Civilian Airlines for the Moving
    of Unaccompanied Minors (UNMINS)

 

Posted on: 3rd September, 2019

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

If you are offered an overseas assignment, you will have to look carefully into the education available for your children. It is essential that your children are registered on JPA, and that you contact the Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) for advice. This is especially important if you have a child with Special Educational Needs or Disability (SEND).

 

The type and quality of education available will differ from country to country and often from one part of a country to another. Remember that what is right for one child is not necessarily right for another. The age and ability of your child will have an effect on your decision. The opportunity for a child to be educated in a different system and different culture can be attractive, but you will have to weigh up carefully the advantages and disadvantages.

 

Education provision overseas can be roughly divided into the following types, not all of which will be available in every location:

  • MOD schools;
  • English speaking schools (these may be local state schools, or in some cases independent day schools);
  • Non-English speaking schools (local state schools, with an allowance to help your child to learn the local language);
  • International schools (independent, usually English speaking schools).

 

If you decide that there is no suitable schooling for your child at the overseas posting you might want to consider boarding in the UK. The Continuity of Education Allowance is available for eligible service personnel to help them with the cost of boarding education.

 

Ministry of Defence (MOD) Schools

MOD Schools is part of the Directorate of Children and Young People (DCYP). MOD Schools provide education to the dependent children of service personnel and MOD entitled civilians, entitled contractors and fee payers. MOD schools are predominantly overseas, with one school in Scotland.

 

Unaccompanied Minors Flights

Different airlines have different policies regarding unaccompanied minors’ flights. To understand an airline’s specific unaccompanied minors’ policy, have a look on their website. If you cannot find an airline to book an unaccompanied minors flight, MOD policy will fund return flights for one parent to collect their children. Please visit this page for more information.

 

Posted on: 12th May, 2016
Updated on: 3rd September, 2019