SFA/SSFA Charges & Allowances
Both SFA and SSFA are charged according to the current 4 Tier Grading Scheme.
Charges are set by the Armed Forces Pay Review Body which is independent of MOD and DIO; the charges are subsidised compared to what you would pay on civvy street so as to reflect the lack of choice and other issues associated with Army life.
Charges are taken directly from your soldier’s pay so when you move, it is very important to check that you are paying the correct amount for your new SFA/SSFA.
22 Jul - Combined Accommodation Assessment Scheme (CAAS)
Housing retention: an AFF win!
SFA and garage charges 2015
Changes to garage charges
CILOCT and CTR
How charges raised on Move Out are collected in the UK
Disturbance Expense - all you need to know
A new way of calculating charges for SFA is on its way – from April 2016 CAAS will replace the old four tier grading system.
Useful information sheets have been produced to explain the reasons behind the change, what new criteria will be used for working out charges and the time-line of events leading up to April 2016.
AFF encourages families to read this information and share your questions or concerns with us. Read more
Look out for a letter
Currently, letters are being sent out to all SFA in the UK to inform you of the potential charge at change-over; it will also say whether or not your particular SFA is going to be surveyed. The letter will look like this, click here to view.
If your SFA has been selected to be surveyed it’s very important that you attend the appointment as this will help to ensure that you get the correct banding.
Struggling to make the appointment?
AFF understands that you can’t always be there for appointments during the day.
Chain of command will give your soldier time off for the appointment – ensure they take your appointment letter to work with them when they request the time off.
The potential charge at this point in time is just a guide line and the final banding may be different based on the survey results – you will get the actual banding later on in the year and will be able to challenge the decision.
For more information, click here.
18 months ago, all three Families Federations lobbied for a change to housing retention policy to allow spouses who had started a course or signed a work contract which tied in with a posting order, to retain their SFA if their soldier was short-toured.
AFF was delighted when this change to the policy was made, however, some families told us that, on moving at the end of the retention period, their move was considered to be mid-tour and they weren’t eligible for removals or Disturbance Expense (DE). Read more
AFF in action
AFF raised this issue with the policy makers and is pleased to report that a change has been made for any family granted official retention for a specified period of time for;
- Child’s education
- Spouse’s training or education courses
- Spouse’s requirement to give a contracted period of notice to employers, or
- Essential medical treatment that cannot be transferred
In these circumstances, you will now be entitled to both removals and DE on moving at the end of the retention period, so long as your soldier has more than six months left to serve at the new duty station and the authority to retain your SFA was approved prior to their Report for Duty Date.
Want to know more?
Click here to download the SFA and garage charges for 2015.Back to top
Is your garage currently classified as substandard and are you on a lower tariff? If so, in future it might be re-assessed as standard.
However, even if your current garage is re-assessed and qualifies as standard, your tariff will not change whilst in post – instead, the next people to move in after will be charged at a standard rate. Read more
What are the new rules?
This new ruling does not affect those whose garages are classified as below standard, which is when their construction is deemed insubstantial by DIO.
Instead the new ruling targets garages which were classified as sub-standard on grounds of its size.
Currently a garage that is less than 4.3 metres in length and/or 2.3 metres in width (internal measurements) and less than 2.5m high is deemed sub-standard; DIO is changing the height requirement to 1.85m clearance height (at entrance with the door open).
Well that is what we asked and were given this answer:
- To ensure the policy was fair and reasonable to the Service person and the tax payer
- 2.5m was a high entrance threshold and not industry standard
- Interpretation of height was inconsistent – was it the door or ceiling to floor? Now it is clearance for a vehicle to enter
- 1.85m was chosen as it is the clearance required for a Ford Galaxy & BMW X5
What to do
If you believe these changes will affect you and you are concerned, contact our Housing Specialist, Cat Calder at firstname.lastname@example.org.Back to top
Contribution in lieu of council tax (CILOCT) is what all families living in SFA/SSFA or soldiers in SLA pay instead of council tax. CILOCT is collected by the MOD and then paid to the councils dependent on how many SFA/SLA are in their area. Read more
With effect from 1 April 2015 daily rates of CILOCT and council tax relief (CTR) for Service personnel are as follows:
CILOCT - Service Families Accommodation (SFA)
CILOCT - Single Living Accommodation (SLA)
Council Tax Relief:
From 1 April 2014 - £2.95 daily.
As of October 2013, all charges for damages and deficiencies on SFA and SSFA in the UK are now recovered from the soldier's pay – this is to reduce the time and costs involved with chasing those who don’t currently pay on time (or at all). See the Move In / Move Out page for full details.Back to top
Entitlement to Disturbance Expense
“The aim of Disturbance Expense (DE) 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 DE has been more than the costs incurred with moving and also those where it doesn’t quite cover it – the amount of DE we receive is based on many factors such as mail redirection and transit insurance. Read more
When are you entitled to DE?
Iit is the move of the Service person which provides eligibility to DE and not the move of the immediate family; in order to qualify, you must fit one of the following criteria;
- If your soldier has 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 DE.
- If you move mid tour for Service reasons (this includes a move due to increase in size of family, promotion or if you are asked to move by DIO Service Delivery Accommodation) you can claim DE; if moving for compassionate, welfare or medical reasons, get your Unit Welfare Officer (UWO) to help you put up a claim to PACCC via the Commanding Officer (CO) - if this is successful then you will get DE.
- 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 DE may be submitted 45 days before the expected move date. Your soldier needs to claim using the JPA on-line self-service system.
For those 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 DE and Child Element may be paid in advance of, but not more than 30 days prior to, a DE qualifying move.
DE payments will be made via your soldier'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 DE!
If you have any queries on whether or not you are entitled to DE, ask your RAO or UWO.
If you have any issues with entitlement to DE, contact Cat Calder at email@example.com.
Expenses that Disturbance Expense contributes towards:
a. Provision of/alteration to curtains.
b. Additional furnishing costs.
c. Loss of subscriptions (eg Gym).
d. Costs associated with the preparation of current accommodation for move out/sale/letting (eg cost of paint for making good, commercial cleaning, window cleaning, 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 assignment to/from overseas).
p. Loss of purchased guarantee or extended warranties (when assigned outside mainland UK).
Expenses Included in the Child Element of the DE Rate:
a. School uniform.
b. School shoes.
c. School sports kit.
d. School books.
Expenses Excluded from the DE Rate. DE does not contribute towards the following as these may be covered by other allowances:
a. Hotel Costs.
b. Legal and estate agent’s fees and other fees associated with the buying/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.
Disturbance Expense Rates (from Apr 15):
Overseas moves to SFA/SSFA/Privately Owned/Rented £1,420
UK moves to SFA/SSFA/Privately Owned/Rented £1,041
Overseas moves to SLA/SSFA £280
UK moves to SLA/SSSA £103
Child Element (for each eligible child) £81