What happens if your marriage or civil partnership goes wrong and you have a child at boarding school? Here’s our guide to the rules on Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA)…

If you’ve agreed that as the non-serving spouse, you’ll be the primary carer for your child following your relationship breakdown, then unfortunately your service person will no longer be eligible to claim CEA.

Once they have changed their Personal Status Category (PStat Cat), they will only be able to claim CEA for one further academic term following that in which the change of status takes place. You’ll be entitled to receive CEA if your child has started the two academic years leading to public exams, i.e. GCSEs, A-Levels and the regional equivalents. Claims can continue until the end of that stage of education.

Clearly this can be an emotional time for both the parents and the child, so do seek advice and support from the school or the Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS). They should be able to talk you through your next steps, including what to do about moving schools.

If you’re the service person and have become the primary carer (PStat Cat 2), don’t forget that you’ll need to submit an application for a new eligibility certificate and evidence needs to be provided that you are the child’s primary carer to retain CEA.

AFF’s money & allowances specialist, Claire Hallam, is on hand if you have any questions or concerns – moneyallowances@aff.org.uk, or you can email CEAS at DCYP-CEAS-Enquiries@mod.gov.uk

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