AFCS and Multiple Sclerosis

If your MS, or other disablement, was caused by Service in HM Armed Forces on or after 6th April 2005, claims should be made under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS). If your first symptoms of MS arose before this date, please see the pages for the War Pension Scheme.

Unlike the WP Scheme, under AFCS claims can be made whilst still serving, or at and after the point of discharge. The time-frame for making claims for Multiple Sclerosis can be complicated, but for most cases claims must be made within 7 years of first seeking medical help with symptoms – even if at the time you were not aware that the symptoms were the start of your MS. If you are discharged within 7 years of the first symptoms, your claim must be made at the point of discharge.

AFCS General Information

The AFCS is the compensation package for members of the Armed Forces. It is designed to provide compensation, irrespective of fault, across the full range of circumstances in which illness, injury or death may arise as a result of Service on or after 6 April 2005. The legislation replaced the previous arrangements under the War Pensions Scheme and the attributable elements of the Armed Forces Pension Scheme 1975.

The Scheme covers all Regular (including Gurkhas) and Reserve personnel. Unlike the WP Scheme compensation, claims from serving personnel can be considered, with tax free lump sum awards paid whilst still serving. In addition, a tax free Guaranteed Income Payment (GIP) may be payable on leaving Service, depending on the AFCS tariff level awarded (tariff level 1-11 only).

The AFCS provides comprehensive arrangements with more generous benefits for the more severely disabled. It provides compensation for significant injuries, illness and death that are caused by service including when they result from warlike incidents or terrorism. It is a ‘no fault’ scheme which means that individuals still have the option to sue the MoD for negligence, although compensation provided by the AFCS would be considered if a court directed that civil damages were to be paid.

Under the terms of the scheme a lump sum is payable to Service or ex-Service personnel based on a 15-level tariff which is graduated according to the seriousness of the condition. A Guaranteed Income Payment (GIP), payable for life and tax free, will also be paid to those who could be expected to experience a significant loss of earning capacity. A lump sum can be paid whilst still serving whereas a GIP is only paid once service has terminated. A GIP will also be paid to surviving partners (including unmarried and same-sex partners) where the Service person’s death was caused by service, and in the case of unmarried partners, a substantial relationship can be demonstrated.

How the tariffs work

The tariff levels are graded 1 to 15 dependent on the degree of severity. Level 1 gives the highest payment covering the most severe conditions. Level 15 covers less severe injuries such as minor burns or a dislocated knee. For those on levels 1 to 11 of the tariff, a GIP will be awarded. The GIP is calculated by multiplying the pensionable pay of the Service person by a factor which depends on age at last birthday – the younger the person the higher the factor because there will be longer to normal retirement age.

The final amount of GIP payable is a percentage dependent on the tariff level of the condition for which an award is made. Awards made in tariff levels 12 to 15 do not attract a GIP. The percentages are in four bands as follows:

BandTariff LevelsGIP Payable
Band ATariff Levels 1 to 4100%
Band BTariff Levels 5 to 675%
Band CTariff Levels 7 to 850%
Band DTariff Levels 9 to 1130%
  • Example 1

    A man aged 23 is invalided out of the Armed Forces having lost a foot as a result of service. He was receiving a salary of £20,000. The appropriate factor is applied for a person his age. The factor is 1.182. The full annual GIP is calculated as: Salary x GIP factor, ie £20,000 x 1.182 = £23,640. As the injury is in tariff level 8, the person will receive 50% of the full GIP, so he will be entitled to £11,820 per year. This is tax free.

  • Example 2

    A woman aged 36 loses a leg as a result of service and is invalided out of the Armed Forces. She was receiving a salary of £35,000. The appropriate factor is applied for a person aged 36. The factor is 1.014. The full annual GIP is calculated as: Salary x GIP factor, ie £35,000 x 1.014 = £35,490.
    As the injury is in tariff level 5 she will receive 75% of the full GIP ie £26,618 per year. This is tax free.

In both examples where an AFPS ill-health pension is paid this will be deducted from the GIP payment and the difference will be payable on top of the ill-health pension. Payments are made monthly, increased in line with inflation (consumer price index) and payable until death. Payments will not be decreased if your health improves.

Where an individual has suffered multiple injuries/illnesses in a single incident, compensation can be sought for each of the individual injuries/illnesses. Calculation of benefit payable in these cases is complicated and JSP 765 should be consulted. This also applies to injuries sustained over a career where an AFCS award has been made whilst serving and a GIP is payable for each injury/illness on leaving the Service.

The Scheme is administered by the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA) at Norcross, Blackpool. The SPVA is an executive agency of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) who also manage the War Pensions Scheme. SPVA aims to provide comprehensive assistance and advice to Service personnel and their families in accessing the scheme. The Agency is also the focal point within the MoD for providing information and advice on a range of issues of concern to veterans and their families.

How to Claim

Time Limits for Claiming

There is a time limit for claiming under the AFCS. You must normally claim by the earliest of the following dates:

  • 7 years from the date of incident or event that caused an injury; or
  • Where you are suffering from an illness, 7 years from the date you first sought medical advice for that illness; or
  • Maximum of 7 years after leaving the service.

Claims after leaving Service

If you want to claim after leaving service, you must also complete and send a claim form, available from the VA, within relevant time limits. This is normally within 7 years from the date of the incident that caused the injury, or 7 years from the date you first sought medical advice about an illness, and cannot be later than 7 years after leaving service, whichever is the earliest.

How to Claim

If you are medically discharged from the Armed Forces, the SPVA will, in some circumstances, automatically consider any illness/injury that contributed to your medical discharge, without the need to submit a claim form.

In all other circumstances, claims for compensation under the Scheme must be made on a AFCSWPS001_On_line_version claim form signed and dated by the claimant, or by someone authorised to do so on their behalf. AFCS claim forms can be downloaded here

Our Pensions Volunteers will be happy to chat through the scheme with you before you make a claim. You can contact them through the Members Only area or via the contact us page.

More important details can also be found in the ‘members only’ area.

Contact SPVA’s free Veterans-UK Helpline:

0800 1914 2 18 (UK only)

+44 1253 866 043 (overseas)

The helpline provides information and guidance on all aspects of the Scheme, including obtaining and completing claim forms.

AFCS Leaflet

You can find full details of the scheme in Your Compensation Scheme Explained