Charges & Allowances
Click here to download the SFA charges for 2013/14.Back to top
With effect from 1 April 2013 daily rates of contributions in lieu of council tax and council tax relief for Service personnel are as follows:
CILOCT - Service Families Accommodation
Council Tax Relief
From 1 April 2012 - £3.29 daily.Back to top
From the 1st November 2012 anyone who pays for their heating and electricity through the F&L/XY scheme will see an increase in the amount they contribute towards it.
The reason for the change is that the method used in the past to calculate F&L has resulted in the charges becoming considerably less than those people who pay through a civilian utility company have been paying. The new method of calculation is designed to bring the two more in line and that the F&L will now be reviewed annually in October.Back to top
It has recently been announced that there will be a continuation of a pay freeze for personnel earning over £21,000 per year but that there will be an increase in charges for accommodation. These, combined with a reduction in allowances and the potential loss of Child Benefit for many families next year will see a marked reduction in income for many at a time when the cost of living is increasing.
Below is an excerpt from the Armed Forces Pay Review Body’s report outlining the reasons behind the increase in accommodation charges.
Approach to recommendations
4.17 Our long term approach has been to recommend rental charges that are broadly comparable with the costs faced by civilians, but with a discount which we feel recognises the disadvantages of living in Service accommodation, such as choice, restrictions on decoration and quality of service. We considered at some length whether we should recommend no increase in charges, in light of the public sector pay freeze and continuing change and uncertainty faced by the Armed Forces. We noted the pressures on disposable income from a number of factors and the persistently high level of inflation throughout 2011. However, we also noted that wider public sector workers and the population at large are facing many of the same pressures including higher costs in the rental market, and acute affordability pressures.
4.18 On balance, we consider it to be appropriate and consistent to continue with our normal methodology of recommending an increase in line with the rental component of RPI in the year to November 2011. We recommend an increase to grade 1 for charge accommodation of 2.9 per cent. This should ensure that the increase for Service personnel is, on average, similar to that experienced by civilians, and that the difference between civilian and military housing costs remains steady. It is worth noting that the full increase will apply to only the 10 per cent of UK SFA which is grade 1 for charge and to 23 per cent of SLA. We are aware that our tiered approach to recommendations increases the differential between MOD’s rental receipts and the amount it pays to lease the housing stock, given the mismatch between the two grading systems.
4.19 MOD’s evidence suggested that we move away from our tiered approach in applying increases and that any increase to rental charges should be applied equally to all grades of accommodation. There are many SFA units where the grade for charge is lower than the standard for condition. The full increase is therefore applied to a small proportion of the housing stock. However, MOD has to pay the full increase agreed under the BURR process on all of the leased stock.
4.20 We do have some concerns about the unintended consequences of there being no increase in grade 4 rental charges for well over a decade. For example, for personnel in grade 4 SLA the rent charged equates to only 1 per cent of earnings compared to 3-5 per cent for those living in grade 1 SLA. MOD and the Service Families’ Federations believe this policy might encourage personnel to seek out or remain in lower quality accommodation. While we are retaining the same tiered approach to our recommendations this year, we may revisit this in future Reports.
4.21 We understand the financial pressures faced by MOD, but the current uncertainties for personnel and their families are such that we would introduce a change only if there were a clear and compelling rationale. The evidence we received from MOD was driven by the perceived need to reduce the difference between MOD’s spending on Service accommodation and its rental receipts. It did not give sufficient consideration to the human aspect of housing or the role of accommodation in the overall package for personnel. We remain open to reviewing our methodology in the future if MOD is able to provide a strong, evidence-based case and sound grading systems. However, we would expect any significant move towards market rents to be accompanied by improvements to standards of service on issues such as allocation and maintenance, which are taken as given in the market sector.
Service Family Accommodation rental charges
The report recommended the following charges:
- SFA grade 1 rental charges increase by 2.9 per cent, with smaller graduated increases to grade 2 and grade 3 and no increase for grade 4.
- water and sewerage – charges for all SFA increase by £18.25 to between £369 and £398 a year (4.8 to 5.2 per cent)
- furniture hire – SFA rates to be increased by 2.9 per cent
- garage rent – the annual charge for standard garages and standard carports be increased by 2.9 per cent. Zero increase to substandard garages and sub-standard carports.
So what does this mean to your pocket?
Below is a table showing the new charge and the difference between the old and new in brackets for a furnished SFA. This table shows the full impact if you are in SFA and fully furnished – if you are part or unfurnished then the increase from last year will be less than shown here.
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Entitlement to Disturbance Allowance
“The aim of Disturbance Allowance (DA) is to contribute towards the necessary additional expenses that arise when the Services require their personnel to make a qualifying move to or from a RWA on permanent assignment.”
We’ve all had those moves where DA has been more than the costs incurred with moving and also those where it doesn’t quite cover it – the amount of DA we receive is based on many factors such as mail redirection and transit insurance (for the full list see below) but over the period of a Service career it will generally balance out.
When are you entitled to DA?
Remember that it is the move of the Service person which provides eligibility to DA and not the move of the immediate family and in order to qualify you must fit one of the following criteria;
- If you have received a posting order to a new place of duty – if you are required to move, however small the distance, you will be entitled to DA.
- If you move mid tour for Service reasons (this includes a move due to increase in size of family which takes you up a size of SFA, promotion, or if you are asked to move by DIO Ops Accommodation) you can claim DA; if, however, you move for Compassionate, Welfare or Medical reasons you will have to get your Unit Welfare Officer (UWO) to help you put up a claim to PACCC and if this is successful then you will get DA.
- If you are required to move SFA to an alternative accommodation while waiting for a posting order.
How do you make a claim?
Claims for DA may be submitted 45 days before the expected move date. Your Serving person (SP) needs to claim using the JPA on-line self-service system. For those SP with no access to the JPA on-line system, JPA Form F018 is to be submitted to unit HR admin staff. The unit HR admin staff will then check the claim prior to its authorisation by the unit Allowances Checker and input to the JPA system via an Element Entry.
How will you be paid?
The appropriate rate of DA and Child Element may be paid in advance of, but not more than 30 days prior to, a DA qualifying move. DA payments will be made via the SP’s salary i.e. 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 DA!
If you have any queries on whether or not you are entitled to DA, and for the current rates, AFF advises you to ask your RAO or UWO. If you have any issues with being entitled to DA contact Cat Calder at email@example.com.
EXPENSES THAT DISTURBANCE ALLOWANCE CONTRIBUTES TOWARDS:
1. Expenses Included in the DA Rate. The following expenditure is included inthe DA Rate calculation:
a. Provision of/alteration to curtains.
b. Additional furnishing costs.
c. Loss of subscriptions (eg Gymnasium).
d. Costs associated with the preparation of current accommodation for marchout/sale/letting (eg cost of paint for making good, commercial cleaning, windowcleaning, dry cleaning, laundry).
e. Bulk clearing of garden/household rubbish.
f. Loss of food (opened packets/non transportable).
g. Satellite/cable reconnection/installation.
h. Cost of moving and installing new TV aerials.
i. Mail redirection.
j. Telephone reconnection/installation.
k. Extra cost of postage/telephone calls.
l. Insurance of goods in transit.
m. Meals out due to cleaning of residence.
n. Plumbing-in of domestic appliances.
o. Alterations to electrical fittings (eg plug/voltage changes on assignmentto/from overseas).
p. Loss of purchased guarantee or extended warranties (when assignedoutside mainland UK).
2. Expenses Included in the Child Element of the DA Rate. The followingexpenditure is included in the Child Element of the DA Rate calculation:
a. School uniform.
b. School shoes.
c. School sports kit.
d. School books.
3. Expenses Excluded from the DA Rate. DA does not contribute towards thefollowing as these may be covered by other allowances:
a. Hotel Costs.
b. Legal and estate agent’s fees and other fees associated with thebuying/selling/ letting and repossession of property.
c. Removal of Personal Effects (PE).
d. Storage of furniture when not taken overseas at public expense.
e. Cost of a hire car when moving between UK and overseas.
Does Disturbance Allowance cover the cost of moving house?
See how much your move cost by filling in The AFF Moving Budget form. It’s just for your own information but feel free to e-mail us your completed form. Your feedback will help us get an idea of whether Disturbance Allowance is indeed keeping up with the cost of moving house.
Disturbance Allowance Rates (from Apr 12):
Privately Owned £990
Privately Rented £990
Child Element £77
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