DISTURBANCE Expense (DE) is an issue that AFF comprehensively reported on back in 2014 following an overseas survey which suggested wide variations in actual moving costs incurred from Gibraltar (£2,000) to Canada (£9,500) and some defence attaché postings (£30,000)!

In 2016, the MOD agreed an uplift in DE for outward journeys overseas, but AFF continues to record concerns from families relating to actual relocation costs incurred overseas and in the UK.

Up for review

We are pleased that the MOD is reviewing DE once again. In September, Collette Musgrave, AFF’s UK & Overseas Director, was invited to engage with the Army allowances team as part of this review process.

At this stage it’s too early to give any specific feedback, but she reports: “We were able to present evidence that we have been gathering since the last change to DE, supported by the quick polls that we ran in August. We hope to see several key points taken on board and  further reviews of allowances, including Local Overseas Allowance (LOA).”

AFF has identified that some of the ten basic elements are more critical than others to modern Army families, and that the emphasis also differs depending on whether your move is within the UK, to/from overseas, or an overseas-to-overseas move. We have shared this data with the Army allowances team. 

Top issues

Two of the top enduring overseas issues relate to country-specific allowances and the costs of shipment and buying/selling cars. AFF understands that these areas may be given further consideration as part of the rolling review of allowances.


Thank you for your fantastic response to our recent DE quick polls on Facebook. They identified that there’s confusion as to what DE compensates for and its relationship with allowances such as LOA and other claimable additional expenses.

87 per cent of respondents felt that DE overseas was not adequate and 69 per cent felt DE UK didn’t cover their needs.

Comments gathered included: “Moving to Canada has been a huge expense… a massive financial impact. I think disturbance amounts should be on a sliding scale depending on location and not just a flat rate for all.”

Another family said: “I think it should be adjusted according to the number of miles you have to move. [It’s] £1,000 to move around the corner – we have just moved over 350 miles away and £1,000 wasn’t enough.”

A number of areas were raised which are not within the remit of DE. For example, many of you commented on the cost associated with the safety of gardens; the inadequacies of ‘get you in’ packs, the cost of moving pets and implication of spouses losing their income. We will continue to push for greater clarity and communication so that families understand what falls into which allowance pot.

Keep telling us your DE concerns by emailing Money & Allowances Specialist, Laura Lewin, at etam@aff.org.uk

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