We’re all aware of the entitlement to Service Family Accommodation for married couples, but what happens if your family set-up is more complex? Are you a single parent; in long-term relationship; dual serving and in need of a nanny; are your children still living at home but no longer in full-time education or are you looking to foster or adopt a child? AFF housing specialist, Cat Calder, explores some of the nuances…

Single parents:

If you’re a serving single parent who is the main carer for children (PStat Cat2) in the UK and overseas, you’re entitled to a quarter. Under the Future Accommodation Model (FAM) pilot, you’re entitled to SFA, or allowances for the Private Rental Scheme (PRS), or your own home.

Single serving parents in an established long-term relationship (LTR(E)) remain entitled to SFA, however, if there are other children belonging to your partner and you would like a larger quarter, you would have to request one as surplus, which is dependent on availability and not always guaranteed. Not available overseas.

Serving single parents who have visits from children who are considered to live with the other parent (eg go to school, registered at GP) have no entitlement to SFA under current policy but can request surplus SFA. Under the FAM pilot, if you have your child for more than 80 nights a year, you’re entitled to SFA or PRS. Surplus is also not available overseas.

Elderly parents:

If you need to care for parents in your quarter you have to request permission for ‘other occupancy’ from DIO Accommodation’s industry partner. This won’t entitle you to a larger SFA, but you could apply for surplus where available. No adaptations would be undertaken by DIO and you need to consider how your parent/s could be impacted for medical purposes should you be posted to a different area or overseas.

Visitors:

Visiting families from overseas are allowed for no more than 28 days (aggregated or continuous) in any 93-day period unless previously authorised by DIO Accommodation or their industry partner. For visitors coming from overseas for long visits, permission must be granted and they must ensure that they have the correct visa.

Adult children no longer considered dependents:

Children over 18 and in further education (first Degree) are still included as dependents; once out of full-time education and over 18 they aren’t. You won’t be expected to move to a smaller quarter during a posting, the change will only be taken into consideration on your next move. However, where availability allows, the allocation team will try to allocate to your previous entitlement at the new duty station.

Dual serving:

If you’re both serving, one of you will be PStat Cat1, and the other PStat Cat5. The PStat Cat1 is entitled to SFA at the duty station, the other is entitled to Single Living Accommodation if they are serving unaccompanied at another duty station. If your duty stations are within 100 miles of each other, PStat Cat1s can apply (on an eligibility basis) for surplus at the midway point so long as there is available SFA, and the location of the quarter at the PStat Cat1’s duty station prevents the other partner from commuting to their place of duty.

If allocated, this surplus SFA will be ringfenced for the duration of your posting, however, there will no longer be any entitlement for either of you to have SLA at the duty station and you must have at least six months left to serve at the duty station.

Fostering:

All service personnel, including those who are single, who are active foster carers are entitled to SFA or SFA above entitlement, where required. Within the UK, approval as a foster carer and active or forthcoming fostering should be confirmed by means of a letter from your relevant local authority. It should stipulate the geographical area, as this will impact on whether foster carer status carries over after being posted to a new location, and duration of approved foster carer status.

Adoption:

If you’ve been approved for adoption, you will be entitled to occupy SFA from the date of approval given your need to establish a home prior to any child being placed with you.

Live-in childcare:

If you’re a single PStat Cat2 or a dual serving couple who need to employ a nanny or au pair, you’re entitled to be allocated a quarter so that the nanny has their own bedroom – you’ll pay for the larger SFA. If you don’t fall into these categories, there is no entitlement to a larger quarter, however, you can request a larger surplus SFA where available; again, you will pay the increased costs.

Established long-term relationships:

You are eligible for surplus SFA, dependent on availability, however, under the FAM pilot policy you are entitled to SFA or the PRS allowance, as with single parents.

Get in touch:

The guidance given in this article mainly covers UK policy. If you’re in a FAM site or overseas there may be differences; you should discuss your requirements with your FAM cell or the overseas housing team. There’s info on aff.org.uk or you can contact me at housingsupport@aff.org.uk

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