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Your Guide to the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS)

By IntFormalities
Updated on September 16, 2023
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

As the wars in Afghanistan and Ukraine sadly show, armed conflicts between different countries do take place from time to time. Though large-scale wars involving many nations are not common nowadays, it is not uncommon for smaller wars to take place regularly.

If any military personnel becomes injured during battle, they can claim compensation through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS). However, harm is not limited to war. In some instances, injuries happen outside conflict areas, for example in training exercises.

In this article, we examine the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme in detail so you can check if you are eligible to claim this benefit.

The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS)
People who become victims of military injury are entitled to the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.

What Is the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS)?

AFCS compensates for any illness, injury, or death while in service. There are two types of Armed Forces Compensation Scheme awards. The first is a lump sum tax-free award for any suffering and pain. The second part is a Guaranteed Income Payment (GIP) that is paid monthly, index-linked, and tax-free. 

AFCS compensate regardless of who is at fault for injury, illness, or death during service. It does not affect a person’s right to make civil claims if they think the event occurred due to the Ministry Of Defence’s negligence. 

Military claims such as AFCS are separate from personal accident coverage (for example, Life Insurance or Personal Accident) that someone may hold. These policies are not taken into account when considering AFCS payments. Likewise, pensions such as the army pension are not taken into account in the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. 

You can find out what pension payments you may be entitled to through this UK government pension calculator

Compensation Amounts

The compensation payment awards are determined by the UK parliament and are based on a set of tariffs calculated by the extent of the injury. The lump sum is based on 15 tariff levels which reflect the seriousness of a person’s illness or injury. Level 1 is the most serious, while level 15 is more on the minor side.

The tariff table below outlines what lump sum someone can expect based on the different tariffs.

Tariff LevelLump Sum Payment

Eligibility for the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS)

The scheme covers all military personnel in the 3 armed forces: the British Army, the Royal Air Force, and the Royal Navy. Additionally, the Royal Gibraltar Regiment is covered by the scheme. Claims can be made regardless of whether a person still serves in His Majesty’s Armed Forces. 

The prerequisite condition is that the event must have occurred in service after 5th April 2005. An alternative scheme is in place to compensate for injuries and illnesses before 6th April 2005. This scheme is called the War Pension Scheme (WPS)

Time Limits To Make a Claim

Claims for compensation need to be made within seven years of the earliest date of any of the following events:

  • The date of the event that led to the illness or injury
  • The date on which an illness or injury was not brought about by service but was made more severe by service
  • The date medical advice was sought in the event of an illness
  • The date when discharge took place

Though claims should be made within the seven years time limit, there are circumstances where compensation can be sought outside these time frames. For example, if the illness or injury prevents the person from taking the steps to apply or if the illness occurs outside the time remit.  

Seeking Advice

You can obtain free advice about your situation and the application process from the Veterans Welfare Service (VWS), and many other charitable organisations. The Veterans Welfare Service exists to provide support to ex-military personnel and their dependant persons. You can also seek paid advice but there are monetary costs involved. There is also a “no win, no fee” representation where fees are only due if the claim has a successful outcome.

How To Claim the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS)

To start the claim process, visit this UK government website. Claims are dealt with by the Ministry Of Defence and Veterans UK. You will need to have details such as your NI number, the armed forces you served, your doctor’s details, and so on. 

Claims can also be made through the post or by phone. By phoning Veterans UK on 08081914218, you can obtain an application form. 

Discharged Medically

Those discharged medically from His Majesty’s Armed Forces may be automatically referred to Veterans UK. They will make the assessment for the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, and in such a scenario, there is no need to apply. 

Application Process

After applying, the relevant information is collected through the Ministry of Defence. You might be asked for additional information, such as a report from your medical officer, GP, or hospital if you had any treatment. 

Sometimes examinations are carried out by appointed medical professionals to ascertain and obtain more information on the illness or injury. You will be informed of the outcome and whether the claim is successful by letter. 

Appealing Against the Decision

If you are unhappy with the given outcome, you can ask for a reconsideration. Individuals who did not decide on the original outcome will review the case and come to an answer. If you are unhappy with the reconsidered decision, you can take the case to an independent tribunal.  

What If the Injury or Illness Is Deteriorating?

AFCS is designed to take into account the development of illnesses and injuries over the person’s lifetime. But an interim award may be made if there is ongoing treatment or if the maximum recovery has not been reached. The payment is made based on the condition at the time. The case will be reviewed later to make a final decision. It is rare for the award to become reduced later. 

Supporting the UK’s Military Personnel 

The regrettable reality is that some personnel from the military become harmed while on duty. Though an unfortunate event, people who become victims of military injury are entitled to the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. Run by Veterans UK and the Ministry of Defence, it aims to offer compensation so people can continue living without any monetary burdens. If you are applying for the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, we wish you the best of luck and hope you receive the maximum entitlement. 

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