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.
AFF receives a significant number of enquiries regarding additional needs issues, particularly around SEND and housing adaptations.
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 helped to set up three support groups in the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS), Aldershot and Tidworth/Warminster and we set up a further two support groups in Colchester and Didcot as a result of ABF funding that we received last year. We recognise that there may be areas that are not covered by these support groups and we would like to hear from you if you would like to set one up or feel your area requires a support group. Please contact Karen Ross on email@example.com
For dates and venues for the next groups please see below:
Royal Military Academy Sandhurst: second Thursday morning of every other 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 groups: TBC
Tidworth: third Friday of the month in term time: TBC
Colchester: TBCBack to top
JSP 820 is 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.
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 SEND will also be registered with the Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) on their voluntary register of Service children with SEND.
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?
Medical Pre-screening for Overseas Assignments
If you have been considering or have been offered an overseas assignment it is important to understand the pre-screening process that will be required before you will be given clearance to move overseas. When accepting an assignment overseas, you should be aware that the delivery of healthcare overseas may be different to that you would receive in the UK, it is therefore important to consider healthcare requirements before you go. Depending on where in the world you are assigned will depend on how you access local providers; this may be a Defence Medical Services (DMS) practice, local Host Nation healthcare or it may be provided by a contractor on behalf of the MOD. It is important that all health needs can be met in the country you are going to and medical screening will help identify this.
Since April 2019 all medical pre-screening for Army families assigned to any overseas locations will be screened through the Global Medical Supportability Cell (GMSC). Once you have been informed about an overseas assignment you should contact MSS Families Section and you will be sent medical questionnaires to complete. These should then be returned to the GMSC for assessment by the GMSC team. If you have a medical condition or require medication, they may be required to contact your GP, with your permission, for further information. A recommendation will then be made to the chain of command on whether it is considered that your medical needs can be supported in the overseas location you are assigned to. It is important that the medical questionnaire is answered honestly and in detail because if you arrive in an overseas location and cannot be supported there you may well be returned to the UK.
There is work currently being done by GMSC to create a more robust appeals process, so that if it is recommended that you cannot accompany your soldier overseas you can appeal this.
JSP 770 Chapter 2A – Assessment of Supportability Prior to Overseas Assignment contains more information on both the medical and educational pre-screening process. If you or your family member has a medical condition, additional needs and/or a disability it is important for you to also read AGAI 108 and complete Annex A, so that your serving partner’s career managers are aware of any specific support you may require. JSP 770 can be accessed via. MODNET.
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.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.orgBack to top
The AFF Health & Additional Needs and Housing Specialists have worked hard to get the ANDA to SFA process improved and to have clear guidance available for families. As a result, DIO has published two flowcharts that provide guidance on the ANDA 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 this process, so if you are about 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 email@example.com
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 & disability adaptations (ANDA) 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 ANDA 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or Cat Calder at email@example.com.Back to top
Disability Related Benefits and Allowances in the UK and overseas
There are several 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 and Disability (SEND), 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. To find your Local Authority visit www.gov.uk/find-local-council
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 email@example.com or our Education & Childcare Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org.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 email@example.com
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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