Information for families during the coronavirus outbreak


01   CEA – regulatory flexibility in relation to COVID-19

A new directed letter has been released on the increased flexibility introduced for arrangements for CEA in response to COVID-19. The letter replaces previous directed letters issued on 21 May and 17 July and also incorporates the advice provided by D AFPPol on 7 April. Read the letter here.

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02   School children’s visits during October/February half terms and Christmas

The MOD has released an updated letter detailing arrangements for school children’s visits over the October and February half terms and Christmas holidays. Read the letter here. We understand that the letter may not cover everything that families have questions about, so please do get in touch with AFF’s Money & Allowances Specialist on if you have further concerns.

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03   Guidance for Service personnel based overseas with children at UK boarding school

The full general guidance and information regarding allowances related to this guidance are available here:
Defence Note – Border Restrictions & Boarding Schools
Directed Letter SCVs – Border Force Restrictions in Response to COVID

A summary of some of the key question are available below:

Do my child and I need to self-isolate when returning to the UK to return my child to boarding school?
The Government have made it a mandatory requirement from 8 June for all people arriving in the UK to self-isolate for 14 days. They need to give an address where they will be staying and complete a form.

Does the parent need to self-isolate for the full 14 days before returning overseas?
The full 14-day period of self-isolation does not need to be completed if the parent is not in the country for that length of time. However, you would need to self-isolate for the length of time you stay in the UK up to a maximum of 14 days.

For more information on government guidance on self-isolation requirements please see the Entering the UK information on the Government website.

What do we do if our airline is no longer offering an unaccompanied minors service during Covid 19?
The MOD has given five options which we have listed below. The options are listed in the order they should be considered. It is important to speak to your chain of command before any booking to discuss the best option suitable for your family:

  1. Your child could stay at boarding school if it is open and offering a self-isolation period, then you would need to return overseas immediately.
  2. Your child stays with their nominated guardian and you return overseas immediately.
  3. You and your child could stay in one of the welfare houses in UK.
  4. You and your child can stay with family and friends.
  5. Where none of the above options are suitable for your family, yourself and your child could stay in a hotel.

Can we get any help with the extra school costs for the self- isolation period?
Yes, you can claim for the boarding element only of the 14-day self-isolation period before term starts. Fees must be proportionate to regular boarding rates and all “extras” will be at personal cost.

Can we claim Guardians’ Allowance while the child stays with the guardian?
Yes, it has been exceptionally authorised by the MOD so Guardians’ Allowance can be paid if the child is staying with a nominated guardian on their own. If it is deemed necessary, that you stay with your child then Private Arrangements Rate (PAR) can be claimed. However, PAR and Guardians’ Allowance cannot be paid together.

Do we need to pay for the welfare house in the UK and how do we book it?
No charge will be payable for Service welfare accommodation, speak to your local welfare team to check availability and book.

Can we claim PAR if we have to stay with family and friends?
Yes, one claim per family per night.

What if we have an older child who normally travels alone, but we do not want to leave them to self -isolate alone for 14 days if we are using option 5?
If you have an older child who could normally travel alone but would require you to stay in a hotel with them this will be permitted, if considered essential and agreed by the chain of command.

What about travel costs?
Travel costs claimed up to the cost of Motor Mileage Allowance (MMA) for the journeys. Hire car costs are permitted within the total terminal travel costs claim which must not exceed the cost of MMA for the journey.

It is important to speak to your unit HR to discuss travel costs for each option or read the full guidance. 

What if my child needs to return to university to collect their belongings they left over Easter?
You could use one of your School Children’s Visit (SCV) journey entitlements for your child to collect or you may return to collect the belongings on behalf of your child. Under reverse SCV arrangements, no subsistence costs are payable. You cannot accompany the child in this instance. 

Do we still get the same options if we use a reverse SCV?
No. As subsistence is not normally paid for reverse child visits, this will remain the same and no subsistence can be claimed. More details of reverse SCV arrangements are provided in JSP 752 10.0228.

If you have any questions or require more information, please ask your serving partner to speak to their chain of command, their admin support unit or the MOD Families Section.

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04   CEA Special Educational Needs Allowance (SENA)

DCYP has provided information and answers to commonly asked questions about SENA during COVID-19.4

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