Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS)
What is the scheme?
The AFCS is a Government scheme managed by Veterans UK, which provides a set amount of compensation for any injury, illness or death that has been caused by service in the military either on or after 6 April 2005.
It’s a ‘no fault’ scheme, which means that responsibility for the incident causing the injury or illness will not be admitted but the MOD will look to compensate you for your injuries suffered during service.
Who can make a AFCS Claim?
The scheme is available to all current and former members of the UK Armed Forces, including Reservists. In order to claim, you don’t have to have left the armed forces, you can still be serving.
You can also make a claim in the event that you’ve lost a loved one due to an incident whilst they were in service. Guidelines state that those eligible would be “someone with whom you are cohabiting in an exclusive and substantial relationship, with financial and wider dependence”.
What type of accidents can you claim AFCS for?
If you’re taking part in military activities you can make an Armed Forces Compensation Scheme claim. Military activities including while:
- On operations
- Participating in service approved sports
- Exercising to maintain military fitness
What type of injuries can you claim AFCS for?
A claim can be made for any injury or illness, whether a minor condition, a more serious condition or a mental condition. Some examples of the injuries which can be claimed for include hearing loss, psychological injuries such as PTSD, and physical injuries.
How much AFCS compensation could you receive?
‘Lump-sum payments’, which are tax-free, are awarded for pain and suffering with the amount depending on the severity of the injury. Currently lump sum payments range from £1,236 to £650,000 with £650,000 being the absolute maximum you could receive.
Guaranteed Income Payments (GIPs) are income streams which can also be awarded by the AFCS for serious injuries and illnesses. This is a tax free index linked monthly payment that is paid. If you make a claim while in service, from the day after service ends, or from the date of claim if you have claimed after discharge.
Submitting an AFCS Claim
We are more than happy to help you with the paperwork needed to submit an AFCS claim, and will talk you through what information you will need to have ready, and the steps included in making a claim. There are certain details you are required to provide so a claim can considered accurately and reasonably.
These can include, but are not limited to:
- Information about the total area covered by a wound or injury
- Details about which side of your body is affected
- The date the injury occurred or when you first started to notice symptoms of an illness
- What you were doing when the accident occurred
- If your injury or illness was sustained during a journey
- If your injury or illness happened during a sporting event
- Why you think your injury was caused by your time in service
Are you able to appeal an AFCS decision?
If the injury or illness you sustained worsened following an Armed Forces Compensation Scheme decision, there are circumstances in which the decision could be reviewed. If you’re unhappy with a decision it’s possible to apply for reconsideration and if still unsatisfied, appeal to an independent tribunal.
In 2019/2020 there were 2070 reconsiderations. Of that, 485 received increased payments and none had their awards reduced. Appeals, 975 appealed, 180 were increased and only 5 reduced.
Are there any time limits when making an AFSC claim?
Whilst there are exceptions, the claim should be made within seven years of the date the injury occurred or, in respect of an illness (such as PTSD), the date you first requested medical advice for your illness.
What is the difference between a civil claim for compensation and a claim under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, and can I bring both claims?
A civil claim for compensation arising from military service looks at whether the Ministry of Defence was at fault for your injuries, whereas the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme is a ‘non-fault’ system and pays compensation principally on a tariff system providing you have been injured as a result of your military service. A civil claim is not constrained by such a tariff and will consider the full impact of your injuries in every aspect of your life; from our experience, civil claims tend to attract higher awards of compensation, often significantly so. It is often advisable to progress both claims initially, but you are not able to be compensated twice for the same injuries and will have to give any credit in a civil claim for any compensation received from the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.
Why choose Ellis Jones Solicitors?
Our specialist team of personal injury solicitors at Ellis Jones Solicitors have years of experience in helping members of the armed forces ensure they get the compensation they deserve following an accident that wasn’t their fault. If you or a loved one has been injured we can help you too. Our team have specialist military knowledge and experience in dealing with military claims.
Making a claim through the AFCS can be a difficult and slow moving process, and the results of your claim are dependent upon the evidence provided. The AFCS is a complicated and technical scheme, and relying on Veterans UK to process your compensation claim without seeking legal advice might mean you receive a lower award.
We could advise you on:
- Making a new claim through the AFCS
- Challenging an award if we believe you’ve not received the correct tariff
- Challenging a decision to reject your claim on the grounds of eligibility.
- Making a civil claim.
Contact our No Win No Fee Solicitors now for a free consultation.