Our specialist military injury lawyers have a great deal of experience providing guidance on the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS).

We’ve created this guide to help you understand the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and see if you can claim. We’ll answer frequently asked questions about the AFCS, including how to claim, what you can claim for, how much compensation you could get and how to appeal.

 

Contents

1. Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) explained

2. How to claim under the AFCS

3. AFCS time limits

4. AFCS injury types

5. AFCS compensation amounts

5a. AFCS Tariff Table

5b. AFCS Tariff Table for Burns

6. GIP and SGIP explained

7. AFCS compensation timeline

8. How to appeal an AFCS decision

9. AFCS claims vs civil claims for military injury compensation

 

What is the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS)?

The AFCS is a government scheme managed by Veterans UK. Its purpose is to compensate those who have suffered injury, illness or death during UK armed forces service on or after 6 April 2005.

Any injury or illness caused by service in the armed forces before 6 April 2005 is considered under a different scheme, called the War Pensions Scheme.

The AFCS is often referred to as the Army Compensation Scheme, but it covers injuries sustained while serving in any of the UK’s armed forces.

The scheme is ‘no-fault’, meaning that if there is payment the Ministry of Defence (MOD) do not accept any fault for the injuries or illnesses claimed for by service personnel.

 

How do I make a claim under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme?

In order to make a claim, you need to submit a claim form to Veterans UK.

On the claim form, you will need to provide information about your injury or illness, including why you think it was caused by your service and any medical treatment you have received.

Relevant information obtained from both inside and outside of the MOD will be used to decide the outcome of your case.

 

Is there a time limit for making an AFCS claim?

Claims must be made within a strict seven-year time limit of sustaining an injury.

If you do not realise you have sustained an injury or illness until after the seven-year limit, say a disease that develops in later life, you can still make a claim under the AFCS. You will have three years to claim from the date you first become aware of your injury or illness.

You do not have to wait until you’ve left the Forces to make a claim.

 

What types of injuries does the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme cover?

You can claim for any injury or illness which has been caused by service in the armed forces, ranging from hearing loss or arthritis to amputations or mental health issues.

There are only a limited number of contexts where injuries are excluded, and they include injuries that have happened during:

  • Social events
  • Travel to and from work
  • Sporting activity without prior approval
  • The majority of slips, trips and falls.

However, each case is considered on its own merit, so it’s worth obtaining advice from a legal expert about whether you could still claim under the scheme.

 

How much compensation could I get from the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme?

The AFCS is governed by The Armed Forces and Reserve Forces (Compensation Scheme) Order 2011, which outlines compensation amounts based on the type and severity of injury.

The compensation amounts are tariff based with 15 levels reflecting the seriousness of the injury or illness. Tariff level one is associated with the most serious injuries and tariff level 15 is the least serious. The compensation lump sums available range from £1,236 to £650,000.

Here is the table outlining the tariff levels and the corresponding lump sum amount:

 

Armed Forces Compensation Scheme Tariff Table:

Level

Lump Sum Amount

1

£650,000

2

£484,100

3

£391,400

4

£298,700

5

£180,250

6

£144,200

7

£92,700

8

£61,800

9

£41,200

10

£27,810

11

£15,965

12

£10,300

13

£6,180

14

£3,090

15

£1,236

 

Each type of injury has its own tariff table graded by the severity of the injury, which shows the tariff level you would receive.

To find out how much compensation you could be awarded, you must:

  1. Find the correct table for your injury type
  2. Look for the descriptor that best fits with your injury
  3. Make a note of the tariff level for that type of injury
  4. Check against the tariff levels table to see how much compensation you could be awarded.

For example, if you had a burn injury, you would look at the tariff table for burns and read the descriptions in column (b).

 

AFCS Tariff Table for Burns:

Column (a)

Column (b)

Level

Descriptor of injury and its effects (descriptor)

4

Burns, with partial, deep or full thickness burns affecting 70% or more of whole body surface area.

5

Burns, with partial, deep or full thickness burns affecting 50 to 69.9% of whole body surface area.

5

Burns, with partial, deep or full thickness burns to the face or face and neck including one or more of the following: loss of or very severe damage to chin, ear, lip or nose, resulting in or expected to result in residual scarring and poor cosmetic result despite treatment and camouflage.

6

Burns, with partial, deep or full thickness burns affecting 15 to 49.9% of whole body surface area.

7

Burns, with partial, deep or full thickness burns to the face or face and neck resulting in, or expected to result in, residual scarring and poor cosmetic result despite treatment and camouflage.

8

Burns, with partial, deep or full thickness burns affecting 9 to 14.9% of whole body surface area.

9

Burns, with partial, deep or full thickness burns to face or face and neck resulting in, or expected to result in, residual scarring and satisfactory cosmetic result with camouflage.

11

Burns, with partial, deep or full thickness burns affecting 4.5 to 8.9% of whole body surface area.

12

Burns, with partial, deep or full thickness burns affecting less than 4.5 of whole body surface area.

12

Burns, with superficial burns affecting more than 15% of whole body surface area.

13

Burns, with superficial burns to the face or face and neck.

14

Burns, with superficial burns affecting 4.5 to 15% of whole body surface area.

15

Burns, with superficial burns affecting 1 to 4.4% of whole body surface area.

 

If the description ‘burns, with partial, deep or full thickness burns affecting 9 to 14.9% of whole body surface area’ best describes your injury, you can see in column (a) that your tariff level is 8.

If you check that against the tariff level table, your lump sum amount should be £61,800.

The full list of AFCS tariff tables as of 2021 are available on the UK Government website.

It can be quite complicated to work out your award – to start with, there are a lot of descriptors to read through and digest. There are also some other factors that affect the amount you will be awarded.

For instance, some types of injuries entitle you to a supplementary award on top of the lump sum payment. For example, if you have been left incontinent or infertile because of your injury, you could receive a supplementary award of £60,000 in addition to your lump sum payment.

Due to the difficulties many people experience when navigating the AFCS tariffs, it is worth considering getting legal advice before submitting an AFCS claim. Experienced military injury lawyers will be able to advise you on how to make a claim so you get the maximum award possible.

 

What is GIP and SGIP?

Guaranteed Income Payment (GIP) is another financial benefit of using the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. If your injury or illness has long lasting effects and impacts your earnings in terms of salary and pension, you are able to secure lifelong tax-free income. The amount of GIP you are awarded depends on your future ability to work.

Survivor Guaranteed Income Payment (SGIP) is also available through the AFCS. This is a regular income paid to dependents of military personnel who have died in service.

 

How long does it take to get compensation from the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme?

It is meant to take up to six months to receive your compensation, however in our experience it often takes longer.

The length of time depends on the scale of your injury or illness. For example, claims for simple fracture injuries will take much less time than a claim for a complex mental health condition such as PTSD. This is due to the level of investigation needed in more serious or complex cases.

 

The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme rejected my claim – how do I appeal?

If you are unhappy with the decision made by the AFCS, you can apply to Veterans UK for a reconsideration.

If after that you are still disappointed, you can appeal to an independent tribunal, but you must do so within one year of the decision.

 

Would I be better off making a civil claim vs an AFCS claim?

Civil military claims tend to attract higher awards of compensation, because unlike AFCS claims, civil claims find the MOD at fault and compensation amounts aren’t capped by a tariff.

However, the process usually takes longer than claiming through the AFCS and does not allow you to claim GIP or SGIP.

It’s worth seeking legal advice regarding whether a civil claim may be a better option for you.

At Thompsons, we have significant experience in winning civil military claims and holding the MOD accountable. Our solicitors have helped military personnel and veterans pursue claims for a range of issues, including:

We can also help you progress both a civil claim and an AFCS claim at the same time. However, as you are not able to be compensated twice for the same injury or illness you would have to give credit in any civil claim for any compensation received from the AFCS, including any Guaranteed Income Payments.

You can talk to our expert military injury lawyers by calling us on 0800 0 224 224 or by completing our call back request form. We can discuss your situation and provide free, no obligation legal advice about the best approach and then you can decide how you want to proceed to claim compensation for your military injury.