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. The AFCS is a no-fault scheme which means payment is made without admitting fault. It is entirely separate from any other personal accident cover, such as PAX or SLI. Therefore, any accident cover that you may already hold is not taken into account when determining an AFCS award. The legislation replaced the previous arrangements under the War Pensions Scheme and the attributable elements of the Armed Forces Pension Scheme 1975.
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.
Who Is Eligible?
All current and former members of the UK armed forces, including reservists, may submit a claim for compensation. Unlike the War Pension Scheme, you can submit an AFCS claim while still serving, as well as after you have left the armed forces. While there are time limits, above all you should submit a claim for compensation at a time which is best for you. In the event of service related death, the scheme pays benefits to eligible partners and children. An ‘eligible partner’ is someone with whom you are cohabiting in an exclusive and substantial relationship, with financial and wider dependence.
Types of Awards
There are 2 main types of AFCS benefits:
- Lump sum payments
For injury or illness, AFCS provides a tax free lump sum payment for pain and suffering, the size of which reflects the severity of the injury/illness. Lump sum payments range from £1,200 to £570,000. If you sustain multiple injuries from the same incident then the scheme awards you some compensation for each injury, up to a maximum of £570,000.
- Guaranteed Income Payments (GIPs)
For those with the most serious injuries and illnesses, AFCS also provides an income stream known as the Guaranteed Income Payment (GIP). This is a tax free, index linked monthly payment which is paid from the day after service ends (where a claim is made whilst still in service) or from the date of claim (if you claim after discharge).
A number of factors are taken into consideration when calculating the GIP. These reflect the effect of an injury on future promotion prospects.
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:
|Band||Tariff Levels||GIP Payable|
|Band A||Tariff Levels 1 to 4||100%|
|Band B||Tariff Levels 5 to 6||75%|
|Band C||Tariff Levels 7 to 8||50%|
|Band D||Tariff Levels 9 to 11||30%|
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: You have 7 years to make a claim. There are some exceptions to this such as late onset illnesses. Former members of the UK armed forces can claim for a late onset illness at any time after the event to which it relates, as long as they do so within 3 years of seeking medical advice. A late onset illness is a malignancy or other physical disorder which is capable of being caused by an occupational exposure occurring more than 7 years before the onset of the illness. Late onset also covers mental disorders which are capable of being caused by an incident occurring more than 7 years before the onset of the illness.
There is a time limit for claiming under the AFCS. You must normally claim by the earliest of the following dates:
You have 7 years to make a claim. There are some exceptions to this such as late onset illnesses. Former members of the UK armed forces can claim for a late onset illness at any time after the event to which it relates, as long as they do so within 3 years of seeking medical advice. A late onset illness is a malignancy or other physical disorder which is capable of being caused by an occupational exposure occurring more than 7 years before the onset of the illness. Late onset also covers mental disorders which are capable of being caused by an incident occurring more than 7 years before the onset of the illness.
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
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 Detailed Info
You can find full details of the scheme in Your Compensation Scheme Explained