Armed Forces Compensation Scheme | Irwin Mitchell

The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) is a government scheme providing compensation if you’ve suffered a service-related injury or illness on or after 6 April 2005. It also gives compensation to the families of soldiers who have died during service.

The scheme doesn’t distinguish between injuries suffered on operations, training, service-approved sports or while exercising to maintain military fitness. This is because, as member of the Armed Forces, you have no choice over where you deploy or the activities you’re asked to do.

If you’re worried that your injury was caused by military negligence, using the AFCS doesn’t stop you from making a separate compensation claim through the civil courts. However, your AFCS award will be taken into account when deciding how much compensation you receive.

How Much Can I Claim?

The AFCS uses a tariff-based system to determine how much you receive. Depending on how severe your injuries are, you could be awarded a minimum of £1,200 and a maximum sum of £570,000. Awards are payable for multiple injuries, even if you suffered them in the same incident, as long as the overall award isn’t more than £570,000.

If you receive £15,500 or more, you’ll be eligible for a Guaranteed Income Payment (GIP). This is a percentage of your final salary paid tax free and for life. The GIP percentage ranges from 30% to 100% depending on the injury.

Time Limits

Claims must be made within seven years of the day you suffered the injury or the day a pre-existing condition was made worse by service. If PTSD or mental health issues are involved, you have seven years starting from the date you first sought medical help.

If you’re still serving, using the AFCS won’t affect your career. The scheme allows you to make a claim during service, and it’s important to claim at the earliest opportunity rather than risk missing a deadline.

Making An AFCS Claim

Veterans UK, part of the Ministry of Defence, are responsible for administering armed forces pension schemes and compensation payments for injured soldiers. After you’ve made an application for compensation, they will look for evidence that confirms your injury was caused or made worse by service, as well as medical evidence showing the nature and severity of the injury.

You could receive compensation in the form of a final award if your prognosis is clear, or an interim award if your recovery is ongoing and it isn’t possible to make a final decision.

Although you could make a claim through the AFCS on your own, using a solicitor will give you a better chance of getting you the compensation you deserve. Our specialist team of military solicitors have an in-depth knowledge of the AFCS and understand how to get the best possible result for you. We have links with independent medical experts and various support agencies/charities such as:

  • The Army Families Federation
  • Blesma, the Limbless Veterans
  • Defence Medical Welfare Service
  • Help For Heroes
  • The Royal British Legion

Case Studies

  • PTSD claim – Our client made his own claim for PTSD and was awarded £10,000 for symptoms lasting up to five years. We got independent psychiatric evidence and he was awarded £140,000, £75,000 back pay and 75% GIP of £19,500 per year for life.
  • Costochondritis claim – Our client was a submariner who developed costochondritis (inflammation of the cartilage), which isn’t an injury that is contained within the scheme. We managed to persuade Veterans UK that it was an injury that should be included and he was awarded £6000.
  • Ankle fracture claim – Our client’s ankle fracture was rejected because it happened while he was playing football, and therefore not caused by service. However, we found evidence to prove the soldier was under order to play, successfully securing an award for him.
  • Head injury claim – Our client made his own claim after beginning to suffer blackouts following a head injury. Veterans UK rejected the claim, arguing that because he’d had an episode of fainting in childhood, the blackouts were pre-existing and not due to service. We obtained independent neurological and psychiatric evidence, proving that the blackouts were caused by service alone and Veterans UK completely reversed their decision.

Contact Our Military Injury Solicitors

If you’re thinking about making a claim through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, our solicitors could help, guiding you through the process and making sure you receive the support you need. Phone us on 0800 022 3321 for a free initial consultation, or contact us online.

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Andrew Buckham

"I have witnessed the dedication, courage and sacrifice shown by our service personnel first hand, and it spurs me on to defend their rights tirelessly."

Associate solicitor Andrew Buckham, former Major in the Army Legal Services