The arrival of an assignment order usually sparks a whirlwind of activity – be it applying for housing and schools or simply researching a new area. There are, however, a range of allowances and expenses in place to help steer you through the storm of relocation. Claire Hallam, AFF money & allowances specialist, explores the details…

Disturbance Expense
This is paid for a qualifying move to assist with additional costs incurred such as mail redirection and costs of preparing for move-out etc.

It’s based on the type of accommodation your soldier is going to occupy and whether it’s in the UK or overseas. The current UK rate for moving into Service Family Accommodation (SFA) or privately owned/rented on a qualifying move is £1,041.

There’s also a child element to help with costs towards the purchase of new school uniform if they’re moving school due to a service move.

Claims can be submitted 45 days before the expected move date but will only be paid 30 days prior to the move. Your soldier can claim using the JPA online self-service system.

Top tip: Payments will be made via your soldier’s salary at the end of the month, so make sure you apply before that month’s pay run has gone in or you may find that you move before you get Disturbance Expense!

Subsistence
If you’re moving on assignment your solider may be eligible to claim subsistence costs when you move from one location to another. If eligible, there are different options available for overnight stays. You could either have a hotel arranged by the Defence Travel Hotel Booking System or you can stay with friends or family and claim Private Arrangements Rate (PAR), currently £35 in each 24- hour period.

If you’re staying in a hotel, your soldier may also be able to claim back the cost towards your meals. You’ll need to pay food costs in advance and reclaim with receipts, so it’s worth factoring this in. If you’re struggling to pay in advance, do discuss it with the unit admin team.

If you’re going overseas, you may be able to get an advance of pay.

Top tip: It’s important to check your eligibility with the unit admin HR.

Refund of legal expenses
This payment contributes towards the legal expenses that occur when moving on assignment, helping existing homeowners to remain in the property market. For example, if you sell one home that you live in that’s within 50 miles of your current duty station and buy another house to live in within 50 miles of the new duty station.

Alternatively, it can contribute towards the legal fees that arise on letting and repossession of a home.

FAM allowances
The Future Accommodation Model (FAM) pilot is currently taking place in Aldershot for the army. There may be different allowances/expenses options available as well as different eligibility criteria depending on your family’s circumstances. If you need more support, speak to your unit admin HR or visit the FAM section on the Discover My Benefits website.

Where can I find out more?
Above is a brief overview of allowances and expenses. If you need more guidance, do contact me at money@aff.org.uk or visit the money pages at aff.org.uk

All allowances are based on eligibility, so it’s important that your serving person speaks with their unit admin HR to check – they can also advise on the claims process.

  • Take a look at Discover My Benefits for further information on all MOD allowances –
    discovermybenefits.mod.gov.uk
  • The MOD has a useful booklet, a Guide to Expenses and Allowances for Service Personnel – gov.uk
  • JSP 752 provides the full regulations on allowances – gov.uk

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