In terms of admin and finance, there’s a lot to prepare ahead of deployments, operations and exercises, so what do you need to think about when you’re spending time apart? AFF Money & Allowances Specialist Claire Hallam has the details…

Whether you’re the person staying at home or the person deployed, it’s wise to think about all the accounts you have and who can access them. The last thing you need is to be unable to sort out a problem with a bill, or discover that a company won’t speak to you because your name is not on an account.


Get all your important documents together and look at who is named and who needs access. Some companies may allow you to set up a password or add a nominated person to the account so they can sort any issues directly. If not, you may need to consider whether lasting power of attorney is a better option – there’s more info at

The serving person who is deploying should update their will and nomination, their next of kin and confirm who they wish to have as an emergency contact on Joint Personnel Administration.

Think about access to money for the person left at home – you could consider setting up a joint bank account or standing order/direct debit. Alternatively, the serving person can give someone temporary access to their account. Speak to your bank or building society.

If you’re deployed to a location where you won’t be able to use your mobile phone or need to get a local SIM card, check if you can suspend your contract whilst you’re away. Many providers will allow you to do this, which could save you money!


The recent RAND financial resilience survey, conducted in partnership with AFF, found that army families saw operational allowances as a positive. However, survey respondents did note that frequently families encounter job changes, relocation, deployment or posting with little advance notice. This makes long-term financial planning difficult and may cause families to take on unnecessary expenses. Some of you reported that information is often provided only to the service person, which isn’t helpful if they’re away.

So where can you find out more about the allowances you may receive on deployment, ops or exercise?

What’s available depends on the serving person’s individual circumstances, the location they’re going to and the length of time they’re away. Here are some allowances or benefits that you may be eligible for:

  • Longer Separation Allowance (LSA) – helps to compensate for certain periods of separation. The level and amount increases the more the service person is away.
  • Deployed Welfare Package – for certain deployments overseas, with access to things like the internet, TV or entertainment.
  • Local Overseas Allowance (LOA) – if going overseas on exercise or deployment some locations may pay LOA. This is to offset any extra cost of living compared to the UK. You can’t normally get LOA and the Deployed Welfare Package together. Different rates are paid depending on circumstances and locations.
  • Concessionary Travel for Families – enables entitled family members to visit during extended periods of deployment. If eligible, you’ll be provided with travel tickets. The number of journeys that can be claimed can vary.
  • Council Tax Relief – for specified operations or assignments if you own your own home and pay full council tax when you’re deployed or if you’re in Service Family Accommodation in contributions in lieu of council tax. You won’t be able to get it if your council already gives you a discount whilst on operations.
  • Operational Allowance – paid to recognise that some locations are more demanding and have increased risk.

Major Will Hodgson, SO2 Allowances Policy, says it’s important not to financially plan based on the current rates of allowances. “Allowances and expenses are under constant review so they can be changed, cancelled or varied,” he says.

“Allowances are paid for the set of circumstances experienced by the serving person. It’s important to understand what allowances will stop and what will start when you are going on exercise, operations or deployment.

“For example, if you’re claiming Get You Home Travel this may stop whilst you’re away as you’re no longer travelling home during that period. Those in Northern Ireland may stop receiving Northern Ireland residents’ supplement when on exercise, as they’re not experiencing the restrictions of Northern Ireland, but LSA may be paid instead.”

Army families often contact AFF about post-exercise/deployment allowances impacting their government benefits or child maintenance payments. Some allowances, like LSA, are taxable whilst others, like LOA, are not. Taxable allowances are considered part of your pay, so it’s important to consider this.


Speak with the unit HR team to find out what you’re eligible for and check

Main photo: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2023

Related Posts