Claiming from The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme

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By Crispin Bateman

on Tuesday 15 January 2019

Wounded military officer in wheelchair

What is AFCS – the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme?

An overhaul of the old War Pension Scheme was shown to be needed at the end of the 20th century, and in 2005 the newer Armed Forces Compensation Scheme was put in place to provide a non-fault system for paying those suffering due to their time and association with the armed forces.

The AFCS aims to provide a level of financial compensation to both retired veterans and currently serving members of the armed forces who have suffered an injury or illness due to their time in service.

With many parallels between the workings of the AFCS and a more standard civil compensation claim, the armed forces system attempts to provide an avenue for reasonable compensation without admitting fault.

Administered by Veterans UK on behalf of the Ministry of Defence, the AFCS has been providing financial awards and assistance for over a decade to military personnel who were affected due to service after the 5th April 2005.

Can I claim for PTSD from the army?

With its high-profile nature in the past two decades, post-traumatic stress disorder has become a well-known condition that receives compensation from the scheme.

Contrary to sensationalist headline news, however, Armed Forces Compensation Scheme PTSD Payouts are not the only types of award processed.

Armed forces claims cover a wide range of both physical injury and mental health claims, as well as illnesses derived from a time in service.

This can include:

  • Long-term physical disabilities due to injury, such as paralysis or the loss of a limb.
  • Short-term physical suffering, such as the time spent recovering from multiple fractures.
  • Depression caused by military service.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Illness due to a reaction to a prescribed vaccination or combination of prescribed medicines.
  • Sickness as a result of chemical exposure.

What are the AFCS time limits?

Like most civil compensation claims, proceedings within the AFCS must be filed within a reasonable amount of time from the injury taking place, or the sickness or mental health issue being diagnosed.

As a general rule, there is a limit of seven (7) years to make a claim from the time of the injury occurring. With more complicated diagnosis, such as a related illness that does not manifest until a substantial time has elapsed, the time limit becomes three (3) years from the moment of medical diagnosis.

Are AFCS claims limited to time in combat?

The scheme takes into consideration any injury or illness that occurred during your time in service, no matter the circumstances leading to that condition. For example, an injury sustained while training or taking part in organised sport is covered under the terms of the scheme and can be raised as a legitimate claim in the same way as an injury occurring in active combat.

What level of award can I expect from navy, air force or army compensation?

There are two types of award available under the AFCS: a lump sum payment or a long-term guaranteed income payment (GIP).

AFCS lump sum payouts

Lump sum payments range from £1,296 to a maximum of £650,000. If you are making claims for multiple injuries then each will receive its own award, though if they are related to a single incident then they will be capped as a group at the £650,000 maximum.

It is purely the severity of your illness or injury that determines the final value of the claim. Unlike civil compensation claims, AFCS payments do not take into account secondary factors such as medical expenses or home alterations to accommodate changes in mobility.

Guaranteed income payment (GIP)

A second level of award seeks to provide a regular, tax-free and index-linked monthly income for those whose illness or injury are very serious in nature and prevent further service.

Unlike the guidelines described above for lump sum payments, the amount awarded under GIP is determined by several complex factors, including your previous chances of promotion that have been lost, for example.

What is the Armed Forces Independence Payment?

If you are receiving a 50% or greater GIP award, then you are also in line for receiving the Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP). This is a weekly benefit (currently standing at £139.75 per week) that doesn’t affect your rights to any other benefit (such as housing benefit or universal credit) and also makes you exempt from the benefit cap.

If your GIP is lower than 50%, you may still be entitled to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) which you can also receive while your claim with the AFCS is being processed.

PIP is an independent government benefit for those with long term health or disability issues and ranges from £22.65 to £145.35 per week.

How do I make a claim to the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme?

While it is possible to make a direct claim yourself, it is more likely to be rejected or receive a low final award than one dealt with by professionals.

At Accident Line Direct, we are specialists in both civil and military compensation proceedings and have a team of experienced personal injury solicitors who work diligently to ensure the maximum possible award is received.

Unfortunately, making a claim through the AFCS is not always as effective or all-encompassing as it would like to be. There is evidence that suggests that during the 2016/2017 financial year, 43% of the 4,324 claims were ultimately rejected.

By using a professional legal service, you help yourself rise to the half of claimants who managed a successful claim, as well as increasing your chances of a full award.

What problems exist with the AFCS?

One of the key problems is due to the fact that the medical records for the situation are all held by the very body that is defending the claim.

It can be hard to obtain all the records needed to make a successful case, and with the AFCS, the burden of proof is placed on the victim, rather than the defending body.

The value of payments is also often considerably lower than those in a similar civil proceeding. Data produced by the Royal British Legion showed that a civil court claim that won £1,510,204 would have resulted in a mere £461,193 award with the AFCS.

Thankfully, there is also evidence that professional legal backing has helped re-evaluate some of these lower awards in light of similar civil proceedings and higher payouts have been subsequently given.

How do I get help from Accident Line Direct?

Give us a call today! Our friendly advisors will take your details and pass your claim on to one of our team of military specialists.

We operate on a No Win No Fee basis, so it will not cost you a penny and you may find yourself receiving the level of compensation you deserve sooner than you thought possible. If you do not have time for a call, then fill in our contact form to have one of our team call you back at a time convenient to you.

0808 1454275

Accident Line Direct can help you begin your potential claim, get in touch today!