Where death is caused by military service, the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) will pay benefits to the deceased’s dependents.
Payments can be made to both eligible partners and eligible children
When will benefits be payable?
In order for benefits to be payable, the death must either have been wholly caused by service, or service must be the predominant cause and the death must have occured:
- during service
- within seven years of service ending and was a result of an injury caused by or worsened by service
- after seven years of service ending and was as a result of
- a late onset illness caused by service; or
- an injury for which a level 1 - 9 tariff AFCS lump sum payment was made.
Who is an eligible partner?
An eligible partner is a spouse or civil partner where the marriage or civil partnership has been in place for at least six months. Where there is no spouse/civil partner an individual who was in a relationship with the deceased may be eligible if they satisfy the following conditions:
- They lived with the deceased as their partner in a substantial and exclusive relationship; and
- They were not legally prevented from marrying or forming a civil partnership; and
- They must have been financially dependent on the deceased
Who is an eligible child?
An eligible child is a birth child, adopted child or other child who was financially dependent on the deceased. It also includes any children born to the individuals partner within 12 months of the bereavement. A child will be eligible where they are:
- Under 18
- Under 23 if in full-time education or vocational training
- Of any age if they are unable to support themselves due to a physical or mental disability
What types of benefits are paid?
There are three types of benefits payable on death under the scheme:
Survivors Guaranteed Income Payment (SGIP)
This is a monthly income payment paid to an eligible partner, payable for life. The payment is calculated using the deceased salary and is intended to provide financial support to compensate for the loss of the deceased salary and pension income. It is however payable in addition to any service pension already payable to the deceased’s partner. The payments are taxable and increase in line with inflation.
This is a monthly income payment paid to the eligible child to compensate them for the loss of a parent or adult on which they were financially dependent. The scheme sets out when the payment will end and makes provision for breaks from full time education or vocational training where the child is between the ages of 17 and 23. The payments and taxable and increase in line with inflation.
Bereavement Grant (BG)
A Bereavement Grant is payable to the eligible partner. Where there is no eligible partner, it will be divided equally amongst any eligible children.
The Bereavement Grant is a fixed payment of £37,000 which is payable where death occurs after service ends. The position is slightly different where the death occurs during service and will only be payable where the deceased’s salary was less than £25,000.
How do I make a claim for one of the bereavement benefits?
In cases where the death occurs during service and there is a surviving eligible partner DBS Veterans UK should automatically consider payment of bereavement benefits without the need to make a claim. If, however, there is no surviving eligible partner or the death occurs after service has ended then a formal claim will need to be made. Our expert solicitors can help with this and make sure that you receive the maximum benefits payable.