IF your family has been affected by this final redundancy round, you will now be looking to the future and making the most of this transition period. Where you settle, your housing and employment options, and your choice of schools will all be major considerations.
There is a wealth of advice available. Your soldier should speak to their chain of command or the Army Redundancy Cell in Glasgow (94561 3071). You can seek advice from Unit Welfare staff and here at AFF, we have lots of information on our website – www.aff.org.uk
Your soldier will have been told if they have been selected for redundancy on 12 June. As an applicant, your soldier will be discharged on 11 December 2014 and non-applicants will leave on 11 June 2015 giving you either six months or a year to plan for civilian life.
Employment for you
It’s not just your soldier who will be thinking about future employment. If you will move away from your last posting area, then it’s important to start thinking about jobs and training you might like to undergo now. There’s plenty of support out there. For more information, contact AFF’s Employment & Training Specialist at email@example.com
Your soldier’s plan – resettlement
All soldiers made redundant will have access to the full resettlement programme, no matter how long they have served and it’s important to make best use of this. Your soldier may be entitled to seven weeks’ resettlement – which can be used at any time between being notified of redundancy and their discharge date. Your soldier will also get four weeks’ terminal leave plus the balance of any annual leave entitlement.
Everyone who is selected for redundancy is entitled to financial compensation. The size of payment will depend on the time your soldier has served and the pension and redundancy scheme they belong to. Some individuals may qualify for an immediate pension but regardless they will receive a pension aged 60 or 65.
The Redundancy Calculator, which is on the Defence Internet, will give your soldier a forecast of the benefits they could receive.
Where will we live?
This is one of the biggest issues for families but don’t worry, there’s help available. In the short-term, normal rules apply for occupation and vacation of Service Families Accommodation (SFA). Those who apply for redundancy will have six months’ notice and be allowed to remain in their current SFA for up to 93 days after date of discharge/retirement at entitled SFA rates. Non-applicants will be given twelve months’ notice after which they may apply for an extension of 93 days at non-entitled rates.
The housing briefings offered by the Joint Services Housing Advisory Office (JSHAO) during resettlement are a good source of information. Families are welcome to attend and JSHAO’s monthly magazine, Housing Matters, is available online or at your local HIVE.
Be aware that social housing is in short supply and you’re not guaranteed to get a council house. Visit AFF’s housing pages for further information.
Your children’s education
The Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) provides dedicated support exclusively for Service families, giving professional advice on children’s education in the UK and overseas.
If your child is in boarding school, there are circumstances in which Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA) will be paid up to the next educational stage. If your child is in state education then contact the local authority in your new location for details of their policy on school admissions as soon as possible and again, CEAS and AFF will be able to help. It may be possible for those close to exams to continue in Service schools overseas. Contact AFF’s Education Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org
Foreign & Commonwealth
There are no special immigration concessions for F&C soldiers or their families on redundancy. However, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) has agreed to prioritise applications. They have also allowed those being made redundant to apply six months in advance which is a considerable concession. If you wish to make residency or nationality applications you must do so as soon as possible after redundancy notification.
The rules in this area are changing so do seek advice as early as possible. Contact AFF’s Foreign & Commonwealth Specialist through our website or look at Annex F in the Redundancy DIN, which provides specific guidance on immigration.
This guide is by no means exhaustive and with so much help available, your leap to Civvy Street can be made as smooth as possible. Get in touch with AFF for further information.
Army Pension Calculator: www.mod-pc.co.uk
Army Redundancy Cell ARedC: call military 94561 3071
Regular Forces Employment Association: www.rfea.org.uk
Career Transition Partnership: www.ctp.org.uk
British Forces Resettlement Service: www.bfrss.org.uk
Joint Service Housing Advice Service: 01980 618925 or www.mod.uk
Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS): call 01980 618244
Money Force: www.moneyforce.co.uk
Citizens Advice Bureau: www.citizensadvice.org.uk
Forces Pension Society: www.forcespensionsociety.org
Money Advice Service: www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk
Royal British Legion: www.britishlegion.org.uk
ABF The Soldiers’ Charity: www.soldierscharity.org
Big White Wall: www.bigwhitewall.com