If you or someone in your family has an additional need and/or a disability it can often make life more complicated, particularly when trying to find the right care and support. Military life can add to this difficulty with frequent moves and often being away from family and friends. Whether the additional need is physical (including an acute or chronic illness), educational (SEN), emotional (including mental health illness) or a combination of these there is support available both from the chain of command and outside agencies. AFF is also here to help, so if you are a having any problems or have concerns about the support you are receiving please contact Karen Ross, the Health and Additional Needs Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07552 861 983
It is very important to register a family members additional need and /or disability with the chain of command, so that they are aware that your family may require extra support sometimes. There are a number of organisations that can assist you or offer you support such as the MOD, Government, Local Authority (LA), NHS and specific charities.
The Forces Additional Needs and Disability Forum is a group that supports Armed Forces families with a child or adult dependant with an additional need and/or disability, or have an additional need and/or disability themselves. MOD is reviewing the strategies that are currently in place to support Armed Forces families with family members that have additional needs and/or disabilities and have asked FANDF to provide them with evidence to help inform this work. If you have a family member with an additional need and/or disability, please complete the survey and help FANDF get the right support for Armed Forces families. This survey closes on the 29 March 2019.Back to top
AFF receives a significant number of enquiries regarding additional needs issues, particularly around SEN and SEND.
In response, we have provided families with the opportunity to meet face-to-face with our Health and Additional Needs Specialist, our local co-ordinators, welfare support (unit welfare teams and AWS) and SSAFA.
Together, we have set up three support groups:
Royal Military Academy Sandhurst: second Thursday morning of every other the month in term time at the Wishstream Community Centre. Next group: TBC
Maurice Toye House in Aldershot: second Thursday afternoon of every other month, in term time. Next group: TBC
Salisbury Plain support group: third Friday of the month in term time and the group will alternate each month between Tidworth and Warminster. Next group: TBC
Support for families
AFF would be very interested to hear from anyone who has set up a support group for families who have a family member with additional needs and/or disability, or if you are interested in setting up a support group in your area.
Find out more
Please contact AFF Health & Additional Needs Specialist Karen Ross if you would like any more information, at email@example.comBack to top
JSP 820 was the authoritative policy and guidance on the support available to Service personnel and their family member(s) who may have additional needs and/or a disability. This policy is currently withdrawn whilst it is being updated.
AGAI 108 is the Army General Administrative Instructions, Volume 3, Chapter 108 (AGAI 108) – career management and supportability checking for serving personnel whose family members have disabilities and/or additional needs.
AFF is aware that Service personnel with a family member who has an additional need and/or disability may be reluctant to register with the chain of command because they are worried about the impact they believe it may have on their career.
However, be assured that they will still be considered for promotion, career courses and advancement in the same way as any other Service personnel. The fact that a Service person has a family member with additional needs and/or disability should not be reflected in their individual confidential report.
How to register
Registering your family member’s additional need and/or disability with the chain of command and career manager in the Army Personnel Centre (APC) is mandatory and ensures that any extra support required by your family is recognised by the chain of command.
You should complete the Career Management Notification Proforma at Annex A of AGAI 108 and your soldier’s Unit Welfare Officer (UWO) or Regimental Admin Officer (RAO) can assist with this. It is advisable to keep a copy of the completed Proforma. Click here to download Annex A.
This information will be sent to the appropriate APC career manager and placed in your soldier’s record of service (ROS).
Children with SEN will also be registered with the Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) on their voluntary register of Service children with SEN.
Service personnel are encouraged to voluntarily notify the chain of command of any family members who are waiting for professional diagnosis or clarification of a disability.
If you have any questions about AGAI 108, or you would like to give some feedback about your experiences, please contact Karen Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you considering an overseas assignment?
Overseas assignments and supportability checking
Both the serving person and MOD have a responsibility to ensure that your family member’s needs, including medical, educational and welfare requirements, are assessed properly before an overseas assignment can or should be accepted. It is very important that you inform the chain of command of any additional needs (including acute or chronic illness or any medication or special dietary requirements), SEN, SEND and/or disability.
Families are often not aware of the supportability process that they should follow or what and where information is available. If you are considering an overseas assignment and you or a family member have an additional need and/or disability, you should read your single Service policies and inform the relevant single Service authority.
It is also best practice for the serving spouse/partner to include any additional information about the support that your family requires on their Assignment Preference Proforma (APP), so that their career managers are also made aware of any additional support needed.
Before you decide on an overseas assignment it is really important to research the country that you are being assigned to, to see if they are able to provide the equivalent health and social care provision as there is in the UK. This information is available through the overseas command, DIN Library, single Service web pages and Blue Book.
If you are assigned to an overseas location where you cannot be supported, you and your family may be returned to the UK or have your assignment cancelled at short notice. This could have real impact on your family and the serving person, if another assignment has to be found at short notice, or if you have to be returned from an overseas location.
If an overseas assignment has been requested or assigned it is really important that you read JSP 770, Part 1, Chapter 2A – Assessment of Supportability Prior to Overseas Assignment. The Service Appointing Authorities should inform the serving person about completing the Supportability Assessment Form at Annex A of JSP 770, Part 1, Chapter 2A, at the earliest opportunity. It is really important that this is completed, so that the chain of command is fully aware of the support your family requires. There is a useful flowchart explaining the process in this chapter.
JSP 770 can be accessed via the defence intranet.
If you have any questions about AGAI 108 or JSP 770 or you would like to give some feedback about your experiences, please contact Karen Ross at email@example.comBack to top
The AFF Health & Additional Needs and Housing Specialists have worked hard to work get the ANA to SFA process improved and to have clear guidance available for families. As a result, Amey has published two infographics that provide guidance on the additional needs adaptation process and DIO has also produced some flowcharts to provide further guidance on this process.
AFF is pleased that a number of areas where we requested changes or improvements have been taken into account.
AFF is keen to monitor how this guidance is working, so if you are due to request additional needs adaptations to your SFA, or have recently requested adaptations, our Health & Additional needs Specialist Karen Ross would like to hear from you. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you moving back to the UK and require an adapted SFA?
Moving is stressful enough, particularly when it involves returning from overseas and even more so if you require additional needs adaptations (ANA) to your SFA. To reduce the stress of a move, follow our tips so that both DIO and Amey can make sure that the most suitable SFA is identified and that the adaptations meet your requirements. Here are some tips to follow:
Further information on the ANA to SFA process can be found in JSP 464, Vol 1, Part 2, Chapter 6, Annex C.
Mid- tour moves on compassionate, special educational needs (SEN), medical or welfare grounds
If a family member has Special Educational Needs (SEN) or exceptional medical needs, Amey advise the following:
‘For families who require a specific location for a Special school or for exceptional medical reasons, please highlight this in the e-1132 with the necessary supporting paperwork as required in JSP 464.’
Some families may at some point require a larger or different type of SFA, either because the current SFA is not suitable for the family member’s needs, more space is required or it needs to be in a specific location, so that the family member’s needs can be supported.
For more information, read JSP 464, Vol 1, Part 1, Chapter 4, Section VIII, para 0425.Back to top
Entitlement to SFA/SSFA normally finishes at the previous duty station on the date of assignment. In certain circumstances, Service personnel are entitled to retain SFA at a previous duty station for compassionate, educational, medical or welfare reasons.
It is the responsibility of the Service person once they have received their Assignment Order for a new appointment, either at the same duty station or at another duty station, to notify the Amey Occupancy Services that they are assigned.
This should be done within 14 days of receiving the Assignment Order (unless they are deployed on operations or at sea, in which case they are to notify the Amey Occupancy Services within 14 days of their return).
Your soldier can apply to the Amey Occupancy Services to retain your SFA/SSFA at the previous duty station beyond the date of assignment as an extension of their entitlement.
Retention of SFA/SSFA is restricted to the minimum period necessary and will not exceed a period of 12 months. Personnel may reapply to Amey Occupancy Services to retain their SFA/SSFA for a further specified period if the circumstances continue, but this will not be for more than 12 months.
Retention can be requested on welfare/medical and educational grounds but will require evidence to support this.
Retention of SFA on medical/welfare grounds
Individual cases will be considered by the Local Service Commander in discussion with single Service welfare providers, medical and educational agencies and Amey Occupancy Services. If there is any dispute about a decision, it will be referred to the appropriate Housing Colonel.
For more information, read: JSP 464, Vol 1, Part 1, Chapter 7, Section VIII, para 0725.
Retention of SFA on educational grounds
JSP 464, Vol 1, Part 1, Chapter 7, Section VIII, para 0725, (i) allows Service families in the UK to seek retention of SFA on limited educational grounds. These grounds include circumstances where the timing of a Service-induced move may result in your child’s SEN assessment not being completed or where children may be enrolled in examination courses, usually in years 10 to 13 but sometimes also in year 9 and where a child/young person has a local offer that cannot be replicated at the new location.
Service parents in the UK requesting retention of SFA on educational grounds must contact CEAS to request an Impact Statement which allows Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) to consider requests for retention.
Retention of SFA on educational grounds overseas is governed by the provisions set out in JSP 464, and is managed by the relevant overseas command to which enquiries should first be made.
No matter what the reason for your retention is, you will be required to complete and submit the RMAT form to Amey Occupancy Services. For more information, click here.
If you would like some further information or have any queries about housing additional needs, medical or welfare issues please contact Karen Ross at email@example.com or Cat Calder at firstname.lastname@example.org.Back to top
Disability Related Benefits and Allowances in the UK and overseas
There are a number of benefits and allowances that you may be entitled to, some of these are:
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) has now replaced DLA, for anyone 16 and over. If you are making a new claim you will have to apply for PIP. All those claiming DLA currently will have been asked to reapply and this may affect you.
DLA will not be changing for children and young people under 16 years old. To claim for DLA will need to meet all the eligibility requirements.
Claiming DLA when moving back from Northern Ireland
If you are getting DLA in Northern Ireland and are moving to Great Britain, you need to tell the Disability and Carers Service in Northern Ireland. They will stop your DLA payments and send your papers to the DWP in Great Britain who will deal with your claim. They will send you a form to complete to find out if there have been any changes in your circumstances. If appropriate, they will start making your DLA payments again and inform you.
Claiming Benefits Overseas
AFF has had a number of enquiries about being able to continue to claim your benefits overseas or applying for a new benefit whilst posted overseas. As a result of your enquiries we have spoken with DWP and they have provided us with the following information:
“When Personal Independence Payment (PIP) was introduced in April 2013 DWP also took the opportunity to amend residence and presence tests in Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Attendance Allowance (AA) and Carer’s Allowance (CA). For DLA and CA, like PIP, they made an exception for Serving members of Her Majesty’s Forces and members of their families, so that they should be classed as satisfying the habitual residence when stationed abroad.”
This means that you are able to continue claiming your benefit as if you were still living within the UK or apply for a new benefit as if you were still living in the UK. If you are posted overseas and are experiencing problems with claiming or applying for a disability related benefit, please contact Karen Ross at email@example.com
If you are 16 or over and care for someone for at least 35 hours a week you may be eligible to claim carer’s allowance. You don’t have to be related to or live with the person you care for. It is a taxable benefit and it may affect other benefits you claim for.
Carers Allowance if you are moving back from Northern Ireland
If you are getting Carer’s Allowance (CA) in Northern Ireland and you are moving to Great Britain, you need to tell the Disability and Carers Service in Northern Ireland. They will stop your CA payments and send your papers to the Carer’s Allowance Unit in Great Britain. If you can confirm that there has not been a change in your circumstances that would affect your entitlement to CA (apart from your new address), you will not need to complete a new claim form. The Carer’s Allowance Unit will need to check your bank details and this can be done over the phone. If appropriate, they will start making your CA payments again and inform you.
Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
The Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP) is an alternative to Personal Independence Payment (PIP). It is designed to provide financial support to Service personnel and Veterans who are seriously injured as a result of service to cover the extra costs they may have as a result of their injury. If you are eligible you will not be required to have an additional medical assessment and you will not be required to undergo regular re-assessments to maintain eligibility. AFIP applies to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and is not taxable or means tested. For more contact Veterans UK.Back to top
Direct payments can be made to and used for:
Personal Health Budget (PHB)
A personal health budget is a scheme aimed at giving people with long term health conditions and disabilities more choice and control over the money spent on meeting their healthcare and wellbeing needs. This is planned and agreed between the individual, or their representative, and the local clinical commissioning group (CCG).Back to top
The Department for Education has issued a guide for parents and carers on the support system for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The guide explains how the system that supports children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities works. It provides information about the changes to the system that occurred on the 1st September 2014. This guide should be read alongside the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 0 to 25. For more information on Special Educational Needs (SEN), click here.Back to top
The Children and Families Act 2014 gave local authorities a statutory duty to produce a ‘Local Offer’ for children and young people with special educational needs and/or a disability (SEND) from 0 to 25. You should be able to find the Local Offer on your local authority website or on the Local Offer website.
If you are experiencing problems with the Education Health Care Plan (ECHP), or you cannot find the information you need on the Local Offer or you would like more information about it, please contact Karen Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jilly Carrell at email@example.com.Back to top
Short Breaks used to be known as respite care and Social Services should assess whether your child is entitled to them. Search for your local Council or Borough and they should provide details of the short breaks or respite they offer for children with additional needs and disability and give information on the assessment process or visit the SENDirect website.Back to top
There are a large number of charities that can support adults and children with additional needs. There are some charities that can offer specific support to your family if you have a family member with additional needs and/or disability and these are…
Forces Additional Needs and Disability Forum (FANDF)
The Forces Additional Needs & Disability Forum (FANDF) was set up for Service families who have a child or dependant who has additional needs and/or a disability, or if they are disabled themselves. FANDF is facilitated by SSAFA and is a forum where families can raise issues of importance with the MOD and welfare providers about factors unique to Service life. This is a way of ensuring that both children and adults with additional needs and/or disability have access to the best support available.
The Royal British Legion (TRBL) Respite
TRBL offers much-needed breaks to ex-Service and serving personnel and their families. If you or a member of your family is recovering from an illness, bereavement or other life-affecting event, TRBL can provide a comfortable and enjoyable break.
Service Parents’ Support Groups
A number of Service parents who themselves have or have a family member with additional needs and/or disability have set up support groups. These are few we are aware of, so if you know of any or are thinking of setting one up, please contact Karen Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org
Support4Spouses is a Facebook support group set up by a military spouse, Sally Scarborough, whose young son is visually impaired due to a rare genetic condition. It is a place where spouses can discuss problems, let off steam or signpost information and advice.
The Ripple Pond
The Ripple Pond is a network of local, peer-led, self-help support groups for the family members of wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, reservists and veterans.
Jigsaw Support Group Bovington
Jigsaw is a support group set up for parents with children who have additional needs in the Bovington Garrison area. Contact the Garrison Welfare Officer on 07773 618874.Back to top
It can be very difficult and challenging when you do not receive the support you need either from the military chain of command, the local authority or other organisations. Occasionally this may be as a result of misunderstanding Army life or the policies that govern it.
Sometimes your or your family’s needs might fall within a grey area, which is not covered by an existing policy. Or your need is interpreted in a certain way by a service provider t and you may not agree with their decision. AFF may be able to help examine your case and if required mediate and advocate on your behalf, particularly regarding services provided by the military chain of command. If we don’t have the expertise to help with your specific issue we will signpost you to someone who does. So if you would like to discuss any issues or concerns you have, please contact Karen Ross at email@example.com. Alternatively take a look at the following organisations that may be able to offer you support:
British Deaf Association
Council for Disabled Children
Disability Rights UK
The Information, Advice and Support Services Network (IASS Network)
National Autistic Society
The National Children’s Bureau (NCB)
The National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF)
Studying in UK as a disabled student
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