Revised Pension Calculator NOW AVAILABLE & an Update on the Future Armed Forces Pension Scheme
The new pension calculator is now available. It is a useful tool that allows you to see the benefits you will accrue under the new Armed Forces Pension Scheme 15 (AFPS15). Click here for details, including some useful You Tube videos, and to read a message from the Chief of Naval Personnel & Training and Second Sea Lord, which provides an update on pensions, focusing on the new Early Departure Payment (EDP) point.
Improved Flexibility with Overseas Travel Allowances
Earlier this year, amendments were made to the tri-Service policy on overseas allowances, which benefit families living overseas. The amendments help harmonise and widen eligibility for the following allowances: Get You Home (Overseas), School Children's Visits, and Concessionary Travel for Families. Click here for details.
UPDATED: Budget 2013: Armed Forces to Receive 1.5% Pay Rise
Armed Forces Pay Award 2013
The 2013 report of the Armed Forces’ Pay Review Body, which makes recommendations on the pay and charges of 1-Star officers and below, has been published (14 March 2013). The Government has accepted the recommendations in full, except for the recommendation on X-Factor where consideration is being deferred. Personnel will see the impacts of the award, where relevant, in their April 2013 pay statements. Click here to see the full list of recommendations.
Are You Money Fit?
The Royal British Legion has set up MoneyForce in conjunction with Standard Life Charitable Trust and with the full co-operation of MOD. Click here for details.
The Defence Budget
Child Benefit Change: Know the Facts
From 7 January 2013, if one member of a household earns more than £50,000pa and either they or the person they live with claims Child Benefit, then they will have to pay a High Income Child Benefit charge. This means that if you are affected by the charge and don’t opt out of claiming, you will still receive the same monthly Child Benefit but will have to pay a tax charge (essentially pay part or all of it back) and will have to fill out a self-assessment tax return. Click here for details.
Service Personnel Targeted by 3,300% Payday Loan Firm in MOD Magazine
There is concern within the MOD about the number of Service Personnel getting into debt. Despite this concern the Ministry of Defence magazine, Defence Focus, sold advertising space to the pay day loan company Forces Loans, who charge an APR of more than 3,300 per cent. Click here for the full story on the Daily Mail website. Click here to read a Homeport article which looks at pay day loans and other financial options.
Change to Pension Tax Relief Annual Allowance /Life Time Allowance
The Government has announced that the Pension Tax Relief Annual Allowance limit will be reduced from £50,000 to £40,000 and the Life Time Allowance limit will be reduced from £1.5M to £1.25M. These changes take effect from April 2014. Those who breech their limits may incur a tax charge. Click here for details.
Defence Discount Service Privilege Card Now Available
Status of Resettlement Grants
In the light of a number of queries, the MOD has produced a notification to clarify that the introduction of the new Armed Forces Pension Scheme in April 2015 will not impact upon the Resettlement Grant. Resettlement Grants are NOT being reviewed as part of the changes to the new pension scheme; there will be NO changes to the current Resettlement Grant system as a result of the transition to the new pension scheme. Click here for details.
Free Independent Mortgage and Protection Advice: Plymouth
Final Agreement: Future Armed Forces Pension Scheme
Maritime Reserve Recruit Bounty Scheme
This scheme (MRRB) encourages eligible sponsors to recruit individuals into the Maritime Reserve. Sponsors will be paid £250 (gross) for each nominee who is successfully recruited and subsequently completes 12 days' training. The MRRB is subject to Income Tax and National Insurance. The scheme is effective until 31 August 2014, and will be capped at the acceptance of 400 successful applications.
Prepaid Cards: What they are good for and what you need to know
You might have heard of prepaid cards and wondered ‘what’s the point of them and what are they good for? Click here to read a helpful article from Credit Action on the subject.
Warning: Financial Companies Targeting Service Personnel and Veterans
The MOD has been made aware that some companies within the financial sector are deliberately targeting Armed Forces personnel and veterans. Some of the companies are encouraging personnel and veterans to cash in their Armed Forces pension benefits and then invest those sums through other means. MOD pension experts advise that it would be highly unusual for private schemes to deliver increased pension benefits over the current, and future, Armed Forces Pension Schemes.
Homeport Article: Borrow in Haste – Regret at Leisure?
Armed Forces’ Pay Review Body (AFPRB)
The Defence Budget
The Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, has announced (14 May 2012) that the Defence Budget is now in balance. For the first time in a generation everything in the Defence programme can be afforded. This is an important contribution to the Government’s national priority of bringing the deficit under control, and a key part of the Transforming Defence programme. Personnel should see the Defence Internal Brief 2012DIB/27 on the Defence Intranet for further detail, including the new Defence Vision ‘Defence in a Changing World’. Up to date information on all aspects of the Transforming Defence programme can be found on the Defence Intranet.
Home to Duty Travel (HDT) Allowance: Retention of Personal Contribution for HDT(Public) at Three Miles
2012 Budget Announced
It announces wide-ranging reforms to the tax system to reward work and support growth. The reforms are based on the principle that the tax system should be fair, efficient and simple.
- Money saved will provide an extra £100m to improve military accommodation. This funding will be available for Financial Year 2013-14.
- Doubling of the Families Welfare Fund: An additional £2 million per year to support families of those deployed. The doubling of the families Welfare Grant to £4.40 per person per week will allow local commanders to enhance the direct support that they provide for families while their loved-ones are deployed. This uplift comes into effect from April 2012.
- Doubling of Council Tax Relief: CTR will double to just under £600 for an average 6-month deployment. This will continue to be paid at a flat rate to all eligible personnel. This uplift comes into effect from April 2012.
These measures have been welcomed by the MOD and demonstrate the Government’s commitment to honouring the Armed Forces Covenant. We will let you know more once meat has been added to the bones of these announcements, so we can determine the real effect they will have on families. For further information personnel should see the Defence Internal Brief 2012DIB/17 on the Defence Intranet.
Armed Forces Pay Award 2012
The 2012 report of the Armed Forces’ Pay Review Body (AFPRB) has been published. The Government has accepted the recommendations in full with implementation effective from 1 April 2012.
Personnel will see the following impacts of the award, where relevant, in their April 2012 pay statements:
• An increase of £250 for full-time personnel earning £21,000 or less (inclusive of X-Factor) – in line with the Government’s 2010 Emergency Budget;
For further details personnel should see the Defence Internal Brief 2012DIB/14 on the Defence Intranet. There is detailed information including the revised rates of pay for personnel earning £21,000 or less (inclusive of X-Factor) per annum, and examples of the effect of the 2012 AFPRB recommendations for those based in the UK and those deployed on operations.
Financial Top Tips for Personnel
A series of top tips offering Service personnel practical advice on financial issues has been produced by the Government and representative bodies from the financial sector.
Personal finances are an individual responsibility, however, Service personnel can experience difficulty in accessing commercial products and services due in part to the mobility of Service life and time spent outside the UK on overseas postings. As part of its commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant, the MOD is working with several organisations to improve access to a wider range of commercial products and financial services for personnel, and to lessen the associated difficulties that are often experienced because of their unique lifestyle. The top tips offer advice on applying for secured (mortgages) and unsecured loans (mobile phone contracts, motor finance, credit cards). Click here for further information.
Changes to the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
To ensure that the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) continues to provide comprehensive and fair financial compensation, routine legislative amendments were laid in Parliament and came into force on 17 November 2011.
Public Sector Pay Awards
(30 November 2011)
• As part of the Autumn Statement on 29 November, the Chancellor announced that public sector pay awards, including those for members of the Armed Forces, will average at 1% for the two years following the public sector pay freeze.
For further information serving personnel should see DIB 2011DIB/100 on the Defence Intranet.
Click here to read an article on the Public Sector Pay Awards in the Daily Mail, with a comment from NFF Chair Kim Richardson.
The Money Advice Service Health Check
Increase in Council Tax Relief for eligible Service personnel on Operations overseas
- In addition, CTR is now extended to include Op ELLAMY (personnel deployed within the Joint Operational Area (JOA) specifically in support of the Operation). For further guidance click here.
Pay Review Report
The Armed Forces’ Pay Review Body (AFPRB) has released its report (21 March 2011) which outlines changes to the pay of Armed Forces personnel for the next year. Changes will take effect from 1 April 2011.
Visit the Defence Intranet for further detail - DIB: 2011DIB/22. Annexe A shows the revised rates of pay for personnel earning £21,000 or less. Annex B provides examples of the effect the changes will have to those based in the UK and those deployed on operations. There is also a helpful Q&A document. Click here to read the full report on the BAFF website.
Tax Credit Reviews
Post SDSR - Changes to Allowances - Following the required cuts in budget set out by the Strategic Defence & Security Review, the Government has announced changes to many Armed Forces allowances. Click here for a summary of the changes.
Acting Rank: Changes to pension and compensation packages - Changes have been made to the pension and compensation package for dependants of Service personnel who die as a result of service while holding acting rank. Click here for further information.
Living Abroad? Advice on Credit Checks
When applying for a financial service, such as a loan or mortgage, you are subject to a credit check to determine your suitability. Financial companies refer to Credit Reference Agencies to confirm your name and address. Addresses are taken from the Electoral Roll, which can cause problems for Service personnel or families living abroad, who register their main address as outside the UK. Click here to read a helpful factsheet from the Service Families Task Force.
Mortgage Toolkit - Give your finances a health check with the mortgage toolkit from MoneyMadeClear website. It only takes 5 minutes and will allow you to understand your options and plan ahead.
A pay freeze for public sector workers has been announced in the Coalition Government’s Budget. The two year pay freeze affects any public sector employee earning more than £21,000 a year. The MOD has announced that around three-quarters of Service personnel (140,000) will be affected by the decision. Anyone on a pay level of £21,000 or less per year (before tax) will receive at least a £250 pay increase in any ‘freeze’ year.
NI credits for partners accompanying Service personnel overseas - From 6 April 2010 Service spouses and civil partners will be able to claim National Insurance credits, to maintain their National Insurance record, for time spent accompanying their spouse or civil partner on an overseas assignment.
These National Insurance credits will protect entitlement to the basic state pension and contribution-based social security benefits such as Jobseeker's Allowance, and Employment and Support Allowance. All spouses and civil partners overseas are encouraged to apply for credits at the end of an overseas assignment. Click here to view the leaflet from the Department for Work and Pensions that further explains this development.
Inheritance Tax Exemptions for Veterans
Under Section 154 of the Inheritance Tax Act, the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC), part of the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency, can grant exemptions from Inheritance Tax (IHT) on the estate of serving military personnel who die whilst on active Service against the enemy or other Service of a war like nature. Click here to find out more.
Divorce & Separation: Help with your Finances
A website has been set up by the Financial Services Authority to provide impartial information and guidance to those going through a divorce or separation. There are dedicated sections on living arrangements, dividing mutual assets and information for those with children. Click here to visit the website.
Retrospective Recovery of Charges
JPA have identified what they believe to be a vast number of loss and damage charges, which have not been debited from some people’s pay accounts. Some of these charges date back as far as early 2007 and have been incurred for things such as Railcards, Cash Clothing and Loss of Stores charges. SPVA intend to debit these charges in Octobers pay. All personnel are advised to check their pay statement carefully and if you are debited for a cost which you believe you have previously paid, contact your UPO Administrator for advice on the reimbursement procedure.
Armed Forces Railcard
Changes to Terms & Conditions- Click here for up-to-date details.
Debt and Benefit Advice Clinics
Portsmouth’s Citizens Advice Bureau is offering Debt and Benefit Advice Clinics to serving and retired personnel and their families. Clinics will be run at HMS Sultan and HMS Nelson on a fortnightly basis. Click here for full details.
Early Access to 'New Deal' for Service Partners, including those who are Not Married
If you are unemployed and available for work you may qualify for Jobseeker's Allowance and other benefits, depending on your circumstances. The New Deal scheme provides extra help to those who are considered to be at more of a disadvantage than others and now includes Service partners, including those who are co-habitating.
Access to Contributory State Benefits for Spouses and Civil Partners of Members of the Armed Forces
The Government is committed to end any disadvantage that Armed Service causes for our Service personnel and their Service families. This commitment was set out in the Government’s Service Personnel Command Paper.
|Last Updated on Monday, 10 June 2013 07:33|