What is an Armed Forces Independence Payment?

emily gordon brown
Emily Gordon BrownLegal Assessment Specialist @ Lawhive
Updated on 10th May 2024

For veterans, transitioning back to civilian life after service can be tough, especially when dealing with injuries, both visible and invisible.

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But there's help available through the Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP) - a financial benefit in the UK designed to support veterans who've been injured or become ill due to their service.

In this article, we'll talk about who's eligible for AFIP, how to apply, and how it works with other benefits and support systems.

What is the Armed Forces Independence Payment?

The Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP) is a UK government benefit for veterans seriously injured during their service.

It helps cover extra costs and promotes independence in their daily lives. AFIP is given at a fixed rate, higher than the highest rate of the Disability Living Allowance, reflecting the impact of these injuries.

Who is eligible to receive Armed Forces Independence Payments?

Eligibility for the Armed Forces Independence Payment is based on specific criteria related to service-related injuries and how they affect a veteran's daily life.

If injuries have a big impact on their independence, they're likely eligible for AFIP to help manage daily living.

To check eligibility, assessments are done under the War Pensions Scheme or the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.

Those usually eligible for AFIP:

  • Have suffered serious injury or illness because of their service in the armed forces on or after April 6, 2005.

  • Are part of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) and assessed to receive a Guaranteed Income Payment (GIP) at a rate of 50% or more.

If you're not eligible for AFIP, you might qualify for a Personal Independence Payment if you have a long-term health condition or disability.

How much AFIP will I get?

As of May 2024, the Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP) is £172.75 per week. It's tax-free and paid into your bank account every 4 weeks.

This amount matches the enhanced rate components of both the Personal Independence Payment and the Disability Living Allowance.

How to claim for Armed Forces Independence Payments

To claim AFIP, you should get a claim form from Veterans UK, fill it in and send it to the listed address. Make sure you have all the necessary documentation ready, including medical assessments and any correspondence about your AFCS assessment, to speed up your application process.

If you need help, you can ask the Veterans Welfare Service for assistance with your claim.

If you were seriously injured during service after May 8, 2011, you might be able to apply for a 'fast payment' of £60,000.

How to challenge an Armed Forces Independence Payment decision

To challenge an Armed Forces Independence Payment decision, you should write to Veterans UK and ask for a mandatory reconsideration within one month of getting your decision letter. Include any additional evidence that supports your case.

If you're still not happy after the mandatory reconsideration, you can appeal to an independent tribunal. You must file the appeal within 12 months. The tribunal is separate from the DWP, so they'll look at your case from scratch.

During this process, it's helpful to get advice from a solicitor who knows about military compensation and benefits. They can guide you on the best approach and make sure your appeal is strong.

Can you claim other benefits alongside Armed Forces Independence Payments?

AFIP doesn't count as income for means-tested benefits, so it won't affect your eligibility for benefits like Universal Credit, Housing Benefit, or Council Tax Support. Plus, being an AFIP recipient exempts your household from the benefit cap, which limits the amount some working-age people can get in benefits.

You can't, however, get AFIP at the same time as Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), or similar benefits for managing disabilities. But AFIP essentially replaces these benefits for eligible veterans with a simpler and often more generous provision.

Is the Armed Forces Independence Payment taxable?

AFIP is not taxable, similar to many other disability benefits in the UK. You don't need to declare it as income when doing your taxes, so the full benefit amount can be used for support without being reduced by taxes.

How can Lawhive help?

If you are a veteran or service member dealing with the repercussions of a military injury, understanding your legal rights and options is important so you can get the right support and compensation that you deserve.

At Lawhive, our network of personal injury solicitors can guide and support you with any military injury claims, helping you to understand and gain from compensation and benefits, including the Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP).

Contact us today for a free case evaluation today.

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