Financial Entitlements


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AFF secures change to student funding for Forces families
Update to National Insurance Credits for Service spouses and civil partners
Jobseeker's Allowance Condition Changes for Spouses/Civil Partners of Service Personnel Returning from Overseas Assignment
Transfer of resettlement funds due to injury
Some tips on claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance

 

AFF secures change to student funding for Forces families

AFF is delighted that, after much campaigning, Service families should now find it easier to enrol on distance learning courses while posted overseas.

Universities Minister Jo Johnson has announced changes to student funding rules, which will no longer exclude Forces families from accessing a student loan if they are not resident in the UK on the first day of their chosen course.

Overcoming an overseas posting

The new rule will grant eligibility for student funding for a UK based distance-learning course even if you are posted overseas while the course is still ongoing.

Spouse training is a topic that AFF has placed a great deal of importance on for some time now, given that spouses are unable to work in some overseas locations.

Removing unfair disadvantage

AFF Chief Executive Sara Baade said: “AFF is delighted with the Government’s decision to change student funding rules in order to provide Armed Forces families who are posted abroad with the same opportunities as those living in the UK, when accessing Student Finance England loans. 

AFF is committed to ensuring our families are not disadvantaged due to the nature of their Service and this decision is an excellent conclusion to months of joint working with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). These changes open up a raft of opportunities for the families of serving personnel who previously might have had to forgo training whilst posted abroad; we look forward to seeing the benefits over the months and years to come.”  

Find out more

For more information about this announcement, click here.

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Update to National Insurance Credits for Service spouses and civil partners

From 6 April 2016, the National Insurance (NI) credit to protect the state pension of spouses and civil partners of Service personnel has been backdated to 1975.

This means that if you were posted overseas between 1975 and 2010 you could benefit.

Class 3 NI credits were introduced under the Armed Forces Covenant in recognition that overseas postings can affect the ability of the spouse to work and pay NI contributions, leaving many with a gap that can affect the amount of state pension you receive in retirement.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “We are making sure that military spouses and partners who spend time based overseas get the State Pension they deserve. This is the latest step under the Armed Forces Covenant to ensure that Service personnel and their families are treated fairly.” 

The new Class 3 credits do not replace the existing Class 1 NI credit for those who have accompanied a partner on a posting since April 2010, and which contribute not only towards entitlement to pension, but also towards Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Bereavement Benefits.

AFF in Action

However, AFF is aware that for some spouses, whose time abroad did not correspond with the UK financial year –April to April – there may be a gap in entitlement. We are also looking further into claims that those who’ve served in Norther Ireland are unable to claim for that period.

Am I eligible to apply?
Service spouses and civil partners are eligible to apply for Class 3 NI credits if you:

  • reach state pension age on or after 6 April 2016, that means you were born on or after 6 April 1953 (for women) or 6 April 1951 (for men); and
  • are or have been married to/in a civil partnership with a member of the Armed Forces; and
  • have accompanied your spouse or civil partner on a deployment outside the UK at any time since 6 April 1975; and
  • at the time of the posting your spouse or civil partner must have paid, been treated as having paid or been credited with UK National Insurance.

You can still apply if you are now widowed, divorced or have had your civil partnership dissolved, provided you were married or in a civil partnership at the time you accompanied your partner abroad.

Some Service spouses or civil partners who meet the above criteria will not have a gap in their NI records and so will not need to apply for the new credits.

To find out how much your State Pension is worth, and to check whether there are any gaps in your NI record for the period you were overseas, visit GOV.uk.  and search ‘Check your State Pension’.

How do I apply?
You can apply for Class 3 NI credits anytime from 6 April 2016. There is no time limit in applying for the credits, although if you apply after you reach State Pension age, increased State Pension might not be paid for periods before the date of your application.

For more information, click here

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Jobseeker's Allowance Condition Changes for Spouses/Civil Partners of Service Personnel Returning from Overseas Assignment

AFF is extremely pleased that that there has been condition changes for families returning from overseas with regards to claiming Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA). These changes were achieved as part of the work of the Armed Forces Covenant to ensure that Service personnel and their families are not disadvantaged. (A Defence Information and Note (2012DIN01-190) has been issued on this subject).

Click here to read more.

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Transfer of resettlement funds due to injury

JSP 534 the tri-Service resettlement manual details under paragraph 0610 the criteria when, in exceptional circumstances (for long term medical reasons), a service person is unable to take advantage of the resettlement services (or as the result of death) the provision can be made available to their spouse or civil partner up to two years post discharge. Please see JSP 534 for more details.

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Some tips on claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance

Information on JSA whether you are moving Inside the UK, Returning to the UK from Overseas or Moving Overseas from UK.

Click here to read more.

 

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AFF is interested to hear your views or concerns about issues discussed on our website. Please email us at etam@aff.org.uk.


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