How do I make a claim for Armed Forces Compensation?
Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) claims will be made to Veterans UK who administer the scheme on behalf of the Ministry of Defence (MOD). We will take all the information required and will submit the application for you. We will advise you at the outset as best as we can as to the likely level of compensation that you may receive and whether you will be eligible for any additional benefits payable under the scheme.
Is there a time limit for making an AFCS claim?
Yes, there is. The standard time limit is 7 years from whichever is the earliest of the following dates:
- the date of the incident causing the illness or injury
- the date on which an illness or injury not caused by service was made worse by service
- in the case of illness, the date of first seeking medical advice for that illness
- the date of discharge
There is provision for this time limit to be extended where an illness or injury does not manifest itself until later or there is a delayed diagnosis or where illness or injury prevents a person from claiming withing the prescribed time.
How long does a claim take?
The application process is intended to take around six months, however cases can take much longer. This is likely to be the case where the injury is more serious or complex, or where evidence if required from outside of the military. In some cases, especially where the application is made soon after the injury has been sustained, the application needs to be delayed to ensure that the full extent of the injury is known before the application is assessed.
How will my injury be assessed and what medical evidence is needed?
Evidence will be collected and considered from both inside and outside of the military. Medical records will be used and the decision makers can request clarification from the Medical Officer, your GP or other treating Consultant. In some cases a separate medical report will be required and this should be arranged and paid for via the schemes Independent Medical Expert Group. As part of your claim, we will ensure that all the necessary evidence is being considered and will obtain any records and other evidence from outside of the MOD that we consider will assist the decision makers.
What if I am not happy with the initial decision?
If your claim is rejected, or you are not happy with the award that is made, you can ask for a reconsideration of the decision. This request must be made within 12 months of the initial decision date. Once your initial decision is received we will advise you whether the award is accurate or whether you should apply for a reconsideration. Where a request for reconsideration is being made, we will gather and submit any additional evidence necessary and make the application for you.
If upon reconsideration, you are still not happy with the outcome, there is provision to Appeal to the Independent Tribunal.
Do I need a solicitor to make my claim?
You do not need a solicitor to make your claim. Veterans UK will accept an application made directly by the individual. There are however, many advantages to having a solicitor represent you and especially one that is familiar with the workings of the scheme and how to achieve the best level of compensation under the scheme.
The scheme is described as being ‘understandable, accessible and transparent’ but the eligibility rules are complex. The tariff tables contain many injury descriptions. The scheme has a mechanism for calculating the award where there is more than one injury and a complicated ‘body zoning’ method. Where a guarenteed income payment (GIP) award is made it is important to be able to check that the correct figure has been arrived at by the decision makers and its is your solicitors job to ensure that any extra benefits under the scheme, such as supplementary awards and overseas medical expenses are paid in addition.