Claiming through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (“AFCS”) exists to compensate service personnel and veterans who have been injured during their service or have suffered a service-related illness or mental health condition. It is one route for obtaining compensation.
You can apply for compensation while you are serving or after you have left (subject to the time limits below).
If you think you are entitled to compensation then it is important to take advice from a solicitor as you may have a legal claim for your injury. You should take advice as early as possible and not wait until you have been awarded or refused compensation under the AFCS, as it can take several months and sometimes years to get a decision.
What is the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme?
The AFCS compensates service personnel and veterans for any injury or illness which was caused by service on or after 6th April 2005.
There are 2 main types of AFCS awards:
- A tax free lump sum payment for pain and suffering;
- A Guaranteed Income Payment (GIP) which is a tax free, index-linked monthly payment.
The rules of the scheme and the value of the payments awarded are set by Parliament and are calculated by reference to a tariff system.
The War Pension Scheme compensates for any injury, illness or death which was caused by service before 6 April 2005. Details of that scheme can be found here.
Claims for injury or illness 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.
In some circumstances, a claim might be accepted after 7 years. You should contact Veterans UK to get advice.
How do I submit a claim?
To submit an AFCS claim you will need to complete a claim form.
You will be asked to provide some basic information, including:
- what your condition, injury and/or illness is;
- why you think that your injury or illness was caused by your service; and
- what medical treatment you have received.
You should include as much information as possible, and it can be helpful to provide documents in support of your claim such as an accident report form or a report from your Medical Officer.
Once you have submitted the claim form, Veterans UK will request copies of all of your medical records. If you have received treatment outside of the military you will need to provide details for your GP and any hospitals where you have been treated.
You may need to attend a medical examination to have your injury or illness assessed.
Once the process is complete you will receive a letter confirming the decision and the reasoning behind it.
If you disagree with the decision that has been made then you can ask for it to be reconsidered.
This will mean that someone not involved in making the initial decision will look at the claim again.
You must request a reconsideration in writing within 12 months of being notified of the original decision.
Appealing your decision
If you claim has been reconsidered but you are still unhappy about the decision then you will usually have the right to appeal. This must be done with 12 months of the decision letter and you will need to submit an Appeal Form.