SFA/SSFA Charges & Allowances
SFA and SSFA in BFG are still being charged according to the old 4 Tier Grading Scheme.
Charges are set by the Armed Forces Pay Review Body, which is independent of MOD and DIO. The charges are subsidised compared to what you would pay on civvy street to reflect the lack of choice and other issues associated with Army life.
Charges are taken directly from your soldier’s pay so when you move, it is very important to check that you are paying the correct amount for your new SFA/SSFA.
04 Jul - AFF achieves housing success on behalf of Army families
Requesting a temporary charging band reduction for a loss of SFA amenities
SFA and garage charges 2016/17
CILOCT and CTR
Changes to garage charges
CAAS: an update
Combined Accommodation Assessment Scheme (CAAS) - how to challenge
AFPRB recommendations - How will this affect your housing charges?
Housing retention: an AFF win!
How charges raised on move-out are collected in the UK
Disturbance Expense - all you need to know
We’re delighted to be able to report that DIO will now be reviewing some of the factors affecting proposed changes to Army families’ final CAAS band, specifically relating to location. Read more
These changes were first reported a few months ago, and the original timeline for implementation of these largely increased charges, based on CAAS location factors, was to be from September 2017, giving families at least 93 days’ notice.
It’s become apparent that in order to ensure that the data is accessible to families, some of the factors, including the broadband baseline, required further investigation.
As a result, no changes to final CAAS bands due to location will now be made until 1 April 2018, once the review has been completed, families will be notified, still giving the original amount of 93 days’ notice of any changes to the final CAAS band. The charges will not be backdated.
For those families already at the final CAAS band, an adjustment will be made to that banding, and for those still transitioning SFA, the location factors will be taken into account and the final band for charge will be amended.
No letters will be sent to SFA regarding the location review and any associated CAAS band changes until the review is finished.
AFF’s been working hard to help bring about this development and we’re pleased that DIO has taken our concerns on board and is working to try to make the process simpler.
Find out more Contact our AFF Housing Specialist Cat Calder at firstname.lastname@example.org
AFF is delighted to announce that after taking families’ concerns surrounding recent letters about the Combined Accommodation Assessment Scheme (CAAS) banding to the DIO CAAS team they have agreed to take positive action to investigate the increased final charge issue some of you were facing. Read more
Families’ evidence proves vital
Families contacted AFF to say they had received a letter advising them of a jump in grade, which meant some homes jumped by more than one band based on a review of location and surveys that had been conducted throughout the year.
However, families were told that they could only appeal on the location piece and not on anything relating to the survey results.
Affected families should have been forewarned about upcoming increases, where increases to the final band were as a result of surveys carried out since April 2016, and given a fair chance to appeal the decision, with increases only coming into force 93 days after receipt of notification.
After listening to your concerns, we approached DIO on your behalf.
If you are on a transition pathway for your CAAS band, you should not see an increase of more than one band per year; however, you could see an increase in your final band because of location or a recent survey, which means that your transition pathway will be extended.
AFF has asked DIO to review the process for informing families of the results of CAAS surveys and to ensure that, in future, any changes to final CAAS bands as a result of a survey will be communicated correctly and families given the opportunity to appeal the outcome in a timely manner.
We’re now happy to say that DIO has agreed that, where the final banding of an SFA has jumped by two or more grades, it will be fully investigated.
For those of you still on a transition pathway you will not see a physical increase in charge over and above the agreed one band increase each year to take you to your final banding. However, those who were already at the final banding could have seen an increase in charge.
If this affects your property, you should receive a letter advising you that your SFA charge will be reset to its original transition path. Any overcharges should be refunded and if there is a change to the charge transition path advised on your initial CAAS letter in 2016, you will have 28 working days to appeal and no new charges will be implemented for at least 93 days. Policy is at JSP 464, Vol 3, Part 1, Chapter 7.
AFF has asked DIO that next year they ensure the letters reminding families of the increase in CAAS band due to transition pathways are sent out early March – these letters are simply reminders, you won’t be able to challenge its contents.
AFF has asked that any letters regarding a change to the final band as a result of surveys or data reviews follow the correct procedure and time frame and that families are given the chance to appeal where they feel any changes are not correct.
These letters should be sent out giving families 28 days’ notice of the date of assessment. A letter should then be sent giving notice of the change in charge effective in 93 days before any increased charges are applied and 28 working days in which to challenge the change.
For further queries regarding this issue, please contact our Housing Specialist Cat Calder on email@example.com
If you experience a significant deficiency loss or reduction in amenities (eg heating or hot water), which lasts for seven days or more, contact the CA Helpdesk on 0800 707 6000 option 3 in order to request a temporary reduction in charging bands.
For details of the charges for all CAAS bands and how they compare to the old 4TG charges, click here.
Contribution in lieu of council tax (CILOCT) is what all families living in SFA/SSFA or soldiers in SLA pay instead of council tax. CILOCT is collected by the MOD and then paid to the councils dependent on how many SFA/SLA are in their area. If you are posted abroad, you no longer pay CILOCT (as of 1 April 2016) as part of the enhanced overseas package. Read more
CILOCT FOR SLA
Is your garage currently classified as substandard and are you on a lower tariff? If so, in future it might be re-assessed as standard.
However, even if your current garage is re-assessed and qualifies as standard, your tariff will not change whilst in post – instead, the next people to move in after will be charged at a standard rate. Read more
What are the new rules?
This new ruling does not affect those whose garages are classified as below standard, which is when their construction is deemed insubstantial by DIO.
Instead the new ruling targets garages which were classified as sub-standard on grounds of its size.
Currently a garage that is less than 4.3 metres in length and/or 2.3 metres in width (internal measurements) and less than 2.5m high is deemed sub-standard; DIO is changing the height requirement to 1.85m clearance height (at entrance with the door open).
Well that is what we asked and were given this answer:
- To ensure the policy was fair and reasonable to the Service person and the tax payer
- 2.5m was a high entrance threshold and not industry standard
- Interpretation of height was inconsistent – was it the door or ceiling to floor? Now it is clearance for a vehicle to enter
- 1.85m was chosen as it is the clearance required for a Ford Galaxy & BMW X5
What to do
If you believe these changes will affect you and you are concerned, contact our Housing Specialist, Cat Calder at firstname.lastname@example.org.Back to top
AFF is aware that families are frustrated by the following issues regarding CAAS:
- The final banding being much higher than the estimate letter
- Inaccuracies in the final banding documentation
- A confusing and less than accessible challenge process
- A lack of detail on the assessment documentation explaining the criteria for grading
- A lack of transparency on some data.
Below is an initial attempt by AFF to respond to your concerns. Read more
Once you have received the letter with your final banding (this should be at move-in), if you disagree with the band, you will have 28 days in which to challenge it. Read more
You must base your challenge on factual errors and make it in writing via letter, email or using the template on DII. For a challenge template letter, click here.
The banding letter will give you full details of the challenge process and JSP 464 part 1 has all the details you need.
There is a set timeline for challenges and possible appeals to DIO, click here for more details.
If you have any issues or concerns, please contact the AFF Housing Specialist at email@example.com
For more information, click here.
On the 8th March 2016 the Armed Forces Pay Review Body (AFPRB), the independent group which sets pay and charges for the MOD, released its recommendations for the next financial year 2016/2017. Read more
How will these recommendations affect your housing charges?
- There will be no increase in the top charge band for Service Family Accommodation (SFA) in the new CAAS programme. So the charge you were given on your final CAAS banding letter will not be increased in the 2016/17 financial year.
- For those in BFG that are still on the 4 Tier Grading System (4TG) there will be no increase in rental charges for SFA. In fact you will see a reduction in charges of one band as of 1st April 2016 which is part of the program to improve the overseas offer.
- There is no increase in garage rent
- All charges for water and sewerage will decrease by £3.65 a year
- If you are using MOD furniture in your home all hire charges will now be standardised at the existing grade 4 rate. This is the lowest rate and will be good news for some.
AFF is pleased that AFPRB have understood that there is a cumulative effect of an affective pay freeze, issues with the maintenance contract, and the introduction of CAAS. These measures are a reflection of that, but AFF is aware that at the end of the day many families will be paying more for their accommodation in 2016/17 than they did in previous years.
18 months ago, all three Families Federations lobbied for a change to housing retention policy to allow spouses who had started a course or signed a work contract which tied in with a posting order, to retain their SFA if their soldier was short-toured.
AFF was delighted when this change to the policy was made, however, some families told us that, on moving at the end of the retention period, their move was considered to be mid-tour and they weren’t eligible for removals or Disturbance Expense (DE). Read more
AFF in action
AFF raised this issue with the policy makers and is pleased to report that a change has been made for any family granted official retention for a specified period of time for;
- Child’s education
- Spouse’s training or education courses
- Spouse’s requirement to give a contracted period of notice to employers, or
- Essential medical treatment that cannot be transferred
In these circumstances, you will now be entitled to both removals and DE on moving at the end of the retention period, so long as your soldier has more than six months left to serve at the new duty station and the authority to retain your SFA was approved prior to their Report for Duty Date.
Want to know more?
All charges for damages and deficiencies on SFA and SSFA in the UK are now recovered from the soldier's pay – this is to reduce the time and costs involved with chasing those who don’t currently pay on time (or at all). See the Move In / Move Out page for full details.Back to top
Entitlement to Disturbance Expense
“The aim of Disturbance Expense (DE) is to contribute towards the necessary additional expenses that arise when the Services require their personnel to make a qualifying move to or from a RWA on permanent assignment.”
We’ve all had those moves where DE has been more than the costs incurred with moving and also those where it doesn’t quite cover it – the amount of DE we receive is based on many factors such as mail redirection and transit insurance. Read more
When are you entitled to DE?
MobIity is the move of the Service person which provides eligibility to DE and not the move of the immediate family; in order to qualify, you must fit one of the following criteria;
- If your soldier has received a posting order to a new place of duty – if you are required to move, however small the distance, you will be entitled to DE.
- If you move mid tour for Service reasons (this includes a move due to increase in size of family, promotion or if you are asked to move by DIO Service Delivery Accommodation) you can claim DE; if moving for compassionate, welfare or medical reasons, get your Unit Welfare Officer (UWO) to help you put up a claim to PACCC via the Commanding Officer (CO) - if this is successful then you will get DE.
- If you are required to move SFA to an alternative accommodation while waiting for a posting order.
How do you make a claim?
Claims for DE may be submitted 45 days before the expected move date. Your soldier needs to claim using the JPA on-line self-service system.
For those with no access to the JPA on-line system, JPA Form F018 is to be submitted to unit HR admin staff.
The unit HR admin staff will then check the claim prior to its authorisation by the unit Allowances Checker and input to the JPA system via an Element Entry.
How will you be paid?
The appropriate rate of DE and Child Element may be paid in advance of, but not more than 30 days prior to, a DE qualifying move.
DE payments will be made via your soldier's salary i.e. at the end of the month so make sure you apply before that month’s pay run has gone in or you may find that you move before you get DE!
If you have any queries on whether or not you are entitled to DE, ask your RAO or UWO.
If you have any issues with entitlement to DE, contact Cat Calder at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Expenses that Disturbance Expense contributes towards:
a. Provision of/alteration to curtains.
b. Additional furnishing costs.
c. Loss of subscriptions (eg Gym).
d. Costs associated with the preparation of current accommodation for move out/sale/letting (eg cost of paint for making good, commercial cleaning, window cleaning, dry cleaning, laundry).
e. Bulk clearing of garden/household rubbish.
f. Loss of food (opened packets/non transportable).
g. Satellite/cable reconnection/installation.
h. Cost of moving and installing new TV aerials.
i. Mail redirection.
j. Telephone reconnection/installation.
k. Extra cost of postage/telephone calls.
l. Insurance of goods in transit.
m. Meals out due to cleaning of residence.
n. Plumbing-in of domestic appliances.
o. Alterations to electrical fittings (eg plug/voltage changes on assignment to/from overseas).
p. Loss of purchased guarantee or extended warranties (when assigned outside mainland UK).
Expenses Included in the Child Element of the DE Rate:
a. School uniform.
b. School shoes.
c. School sports kit.
d. School books.
Expenses Excluded from the DE Rate. DE does not contribute towards the following as these may be covered by other allowances:
a. Hotel Costs.
b. Legal and estate agent’s fees and other fees associated with the buying/selling/ letting and repossession of property.
c. Removal of Personal Effects (PE).
d. Storage of furniture when not taken overseas at public expense.
e. Cost of a hire car when moving between UK and overseas.
Disturbance Expense Rates (from Apr 15):
Overseas moves to SFA/SSFA/Privately Owned/Rented £1,420
UK moves to SFA/SSFA/Privately Owned/Rented £1,041
Overseas moves to SLA/SSFA £280
UK moves to SLA/SSSA £103
Child Element (for each eligible child) £81