FAQs - All Members

I have just been diagnosed with MS is there anything I need to do?

A positive diagnosis of MS means you are legally obliged to inform the DVLA. You will be sent a questionnaire and the DVLA may get in touch with your GP or specialist to confirm you are safe to drive.  Providing you are safe to drive, your licence will be replaced with a licence for between 1 and 3 years and will be reviewed each time it is due to expire. In some circumstances you will be sent for a driving assessment but this is normally only when your GP sheds doubt on your ability to drive.  It is also your responsibility to inform the DVLA if your condition deteriorates and the deterioration has an effect on your ability to drive for example – eyesight, cognitive or some mobility issues.

Important Note: If you do not inform the DVLA of your diagnosis or deterioration you are breaking the law and your insurance company is highly unlikely to pay if you are involved in an accident.

You also need to inform the following people if relevant.

  • Vehicle Insurer
  • Annual holiday insurance policy company
  • Health insurance company
  • Critical Illness Insurer

I have critical illness insurance, Now I have been diagnosed with MS will the policy pay-up?

The answer is possibly.  Some policies of this type have MS listed as an accepted condition – for these policies claiming will be relatively straight-forward. Each policy is different and you will need to check the rules for your individual policy.

FAQs - Serving Members

Can I still be promoted now I have MS?

Yes – MS is not a bar to promotion, but other factors, such as med cat and deployability, will be taken into account.

Can I extend my service if I have MS?

Yes – this will of course be decided on an individual basis but many individuals have had their service extended.

Can I serve in Out-of-Area Locations?

There is no easy answer to this one – each case is treated individually.  The answer is generally ‘no’, but there have been a few exceptions.  Someone with an illness like MS is a ‘known risk’.  You may feel as if you are as fit as your contemporaries but you might have a relapse while on deployment and this could put both you and your team members at risk.  One of the other reasons for not allowing individuals with MS to deploy, is the immediate availability of treatment should you experience a relapse.  Most deployments are stressful environments and it is known that MS and stress don’t mix well and you are therefore more likely to experience a worsening of symptoms or a full relapse in such environments – you should think seriously about this when making a case to be allowed to deploy.

Can I serve in Germany, for example, with MS?

Once again, each case is treated individually, but MS is not necessarily a bar.

Can I serve overseas if my partner has MS?

The answer is generally ‘yes’, depending on the care and treatment your partner would need and whether it is available in the area to which you are going.  It is essential you are totally honest about the support your partner needs, lest you become an admin burden and find yourself being short toured and sent home!

If I had symptoms of MS in 2003, but was not diagnosed with MS until 06, which compensation scheme will I come under?

The important date is the date of first symptoms, NOT the date of diagnosis, so you will come under the old WP Scheme.

How do I know if things I experienced before diagnosis were symptoms of MS?

If you have a look at the synopsis of causation document on the VUK web-site  you may recognise things like pins and needles, numbness and other strange sensory symptoms that people tend to brush off prior to diagnosis, but with hindsight were more than likely the first symptoms of MS.

Will the VUK accept these incidents as the first episodes of my MS, particularly if they are not recorded on my medical docs?

It is much easier to do this if there is a record on your documents, but this is not essential as it is accepted that individuals are quite likely to have had several untreated, undiagnosed episodes prior to diagnosis.  If you remember any such incidents you should mention these to your MO and ask them to record them retrospectively on your records.

Is MS always considered as attributable to service?

Under AFCS currently MS is not currently attributable to service.

For those with eligible claims under the WP Scheme and for members of AFPS 75 which awards attributable benefits, we have not encountered anyone who has not been awarded a war pension after being Medically Discharged

Why can’t you say if MS will be considered as attributable to service under AFCS?

For AFCS the burden of proof lies with the claimant, for the WP Scheme it lies with the MOD.  The definitive cause of MS remains unclear and as such it is very difficult for the MOD to disprove causation and or worsening under the WP Scheme – equally it might be difficult for the claimant to do the same under the AFCS.

Does this mean that if I am medically discharged and not eligible under the WP Scheme I will leave with only the pension I have earned up until the point of discharge?

No – There is a difference between compensation scheme and pension scheme.  If your MS leads to medical discharge, irrespective of which pension scheme you are a member of, you will be awarded invaliding benefits under one of the pension schemes and this will compensate in some way for early termination of your career (but not necessarily compensation for the injury/illness).

How ‘disabled’ to have to be to be awarded a high level of disability under the WP Scheme?

Each case is different, but to be awarded a 100% WP for example, does not necessarily mean you need to be a wheelchair user – all sorts of other things are taken into consideration, like pain and fatigue.

FAQs - Dependant Members

My husband is in the military and has been offered a posting overseas, will we be allowed to go, as I have MS?

This depends on where the posting is and your personal circumstances.  There is a medical screening process for personnel being posted overseas and this will also involve the dependant members of the family.  The MOD has a duty to you as a family and must ensure that there are suitable facilities where you are going to support you should you become ill and have a relapse.  If you are on any drugs (like DMDs) they must also ensure that the drugs are available at the location you are being posted to and that you can receive the care and supervision you need whilst taking those drugs.  In general for dependants with MS a posting overseas is normally feasible if your MS is stable.

Will my MS have an impact on my husband’s career?

Only if, because of your MS, his suitability for posting is restricted and then it is possible (but not always the case) that his career may be affected to some degree.

Can I claim PIP if I am still working.

Yes – PIP is paid on top of any other earnings or income you may have; it is not means tested and nor is it taxed.  The Benefit is for people who need some help with care and getting around, but you do not need to be getting the care you need to qualify – it is about the care you need and not the care you receive.

FAQs - Ex-Serving Members

I left the military 3 years ago and have just been diagnosed with MS. When I look back I now know that some of the strange medical issues I had whilst still serving were undoubtedly the start of my MS, but I didn’t realise it at the time. Can I claim?

You can claim under the WPS if you are no longer serving in Her Majesty’s (HM) Armed Forces and your claimed disablement arose before 6 April 2005.

Time limits for claims

WPS

There are no time limits for claiming, but any award will only be paid from the date of your claim. Although there is a difference to the burden of proof

Within 7 years MOD must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the illness or injury is not attributable to or made worse by service

Outside 7 years claimant must  produce reasonable evidence to raise reasonable doubt that there might be a link.

Claims under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme must be made  within 7 years of the earliest of the following dates:

  • the date of the incident leading to the injury or illness
  • the date on which an injury or illness not caused by service was made worse by service
  • in the case of illness, the date of first seeking medical advice for that illness
  • the date of discharge.

While there are time limits, above all you should submit a claim for compensation at a time which is best for you.

There are certain circumstances when a claim will be accepted outside the time limits above such as being prevented from claiming due to ill health or your illness occurs later. Please contact Veterans UK if you would like more advice on this.

NB: Under AFCS MS is not currently attributable to service.

Can I claim PIP if I am still working?

Yes – DLA is paid on top of any other earnings or income you may have; it is not means tested and nor is it taxed.  The Benefit is for people who need some help with care and getting around, but you do not need to be getting the care you need to qualify – it is about the care you need and not the care you receive.

I don’t seem to be getting help with medical care – what can I do?

We hear from a lot of veterans who seem to experience problems getting the right medical care in their area. The General Medical Council (GMC) website has a guide, “Good Medical Practice”, which explains the duties of a doctor and may be a good place to start. If this does not help then contacting the Chief Executive of your Primary Care Trust (PCT) may be the next move.

I developed MS after leaving the military and have a deferred pension that will not be paid until I am 60. I am no longer able to work – can my pension be paid early?

(a) a member’s breakdown in health is ‘permanent’ if, in the opinion of the Defence Council it will continue at least until the member reaches pension benefit age; and

(b) a member’s breakdown in health involves incapacity for any full-time employment if, in the opinion of the Defence Council, as a result of the breakdown the member is, and at least until pension benefit age will be, incapable of any gainful full-time employment.  In order to claim a preserved pension you can call the Joint Personnel Administration Centre (JPAC) on 0800 085 3600, an appropriate claim form must be completed and returned to the following address:-

JPAC
Pensions Division,
MP 480,
Kentigern House,
65 Brown St,
Glasgow,
G2 8EX

DONATE ONLINE

SPEND N RAISE

Our Supporters Include