If you are deaf or have hearing loss as a result of serving in the UK armed forces, you might be able to claim compensation under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS).
What the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme is
The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) is a government scheme that compensates for any illness, injury or death that was caused by service on or after 6 April 2005. It’s separate from any other personal accident cover.
All payments are non-taxable and your level of income or savings does not affect your claim.
There are 2 main types of AFCS awards:
- lump sum payments
- guaranteed income payments.
Lump sum payments
If your claim is successful, you may receive a tax-free lump sum payment as compensation for your pain and suffering.
Lump sum payments range from £1,200 to £570,000. How much you’ll get will depend on the severity of your injury or illness.
If you have multiple injuries from the same incident, the scheme will give you some compensation for each injury, up to a maximum of £570,000.
Guaranteed income payments (GIPs)
People with the most serious injuries and illnesses can also get a tax-free, monthly payment called a guaranteed income payment (GIP).
Who can claim
You may qualify for an AFCS award if your hearing loss is a direct consequence of your duties in the armed forces. But it doesn’t have to be caused by active service or combat. For example, you can still claim if your hearing loss was caused by an injury sustained during a training exercise, or by an ear infection contracted as a result of service.
All awards for hearing loss, including blast injury to the ears and acoustic trauma, include compensation for associated tinnitus. No separate award is given for tinnitus alone.
You have 7 years after the incident that caused your hearing loss to make a claim.
If your hearing loss is the result of service in the armed forces before 6 April 2005, your claim will be considered under the War Pension Scheme.
How to claim
The scheme is run by Veterans UK, which is part of the Ministry of Defence.
If you’re medically discharged from the armed forces, Veterans UK will, in some cases, automatically consider the illness or injury that led to your medical discharge and anything arising from it without you needing to submit a claim form.
In all other circumstances, you’ll need to submit claim form AFCS/WPS001 to Veterans UK.
Any information you can give in support of your claim, such as reports from your Medical Officer, should speed up the process. The form includes guidance notes, which tell you more about the type of information needed.
If you need help to fill in the claim form, contact the Veterans UK helpline:
The Veterans UK helpline is open 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.
If you have accessibility needs
By law, government departments must make reasonable adjustments for disabled people and their representatives, to allow them to have equal access to their services and to claim benefits.
This means that if part of the claims process is not accessible for you, you can ask for changes to be made – for example, a different way to apply for the benefit.
Contact the Veterans UK helpline (see details above) if you need any reasonable adjustments to make a claim.
Support to make a claim
You can get free independent advice on claiming an AFCS award from the Veterans Welfare Service (GOV.UK)
The Confederation of Service Charities (Cobseo) has an online directory of charitable organisations that provide support and advice for the serving and veteran community. For information and contacts, visit the Cobseo online directory
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