AFF is regularly contacted by families whose soldier is being medically discharged and, in most cases, this may be unexpected and happen relatively quickly.
Unlike transitioning to civvy street at the end of service, medical discharge can’t be planned for. One of the areas that’s most challenging, is finding somewhere to live.
Karen Ross, AFF’s Health & Additional Needs Specialist, says the most important thing is to speak to your unit admin team as soon as possible: “It can be complicated depending on your personal circumstances, so make sure you find out what processes and procedures you need to go through at the earliest opportunity.”
You’ll be able to remain in your Service Family Accommodation (SFA) for 93 days after the date of discharge, at entitled rates. If you need to stay longer than this, extensions of up to 93 days at a time at non-entitled rates may be granted on compassionate grounds, at the discretion of the DIO Loss of Entitlement Team (LOET) and the local service commander. It’s advisable to contact the LOET to get advice on your eligibility and entitlement as soon as possible.
Get the ball rolling
Your soldier may be eligible for relocation – for example, removals – depending on circumstances. If they are eligible, then you would have to move out no later than the 93 days after their final day of service. There must also be a retention period in place authorised by Occupancy Services. If you need to delay your removals longer than the 93 days you would have to put in casework to the Pay and Allowances Casework and Complaints Cell, prior to your last day in service. It’s important to speak to your unit admin team for advice on eligibility or extension, before leaving service.
There are several avenues of support to help you find suitable housing, including the LOET, Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO) and Defence Transition Services (DTS). If your soldier is under a Personnel Recovery Unit, they can ask their personnel recovery officer for guidance. Several local authorities now have information for the armed forces community on their websites and in their council housing policies.