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Armed Forces Compensation Scheme

Volume 470: debated on Tuesday 15 January 2008

We previously announced on 11 October 2007, [Official Report, column 42WS] the outcome, subject to consultation, of a review of the multiple injury lump sum element of the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces Compensation Scheme. The purpose of the review was to ensure that the scheme’s intent of focusing benefit on the most seriously injured was being delivered. The consultation has now concluded and I am pleased to confirm that the rule will be amended so that, in future, those who qualify for 100 per cent. of the Guaranteed Income Payment (GIP), who are by definition the most seriously injured, will receive 100 per cent. of the sums payable of all injuries sustained in a single incident, up to a maximum of £285,000. Those who do not qualify for 100 per cent. GIP payments, will continue to have the current discounting rule applied to their multiple injuries. This does not affect injuries sustained in separate incidents as these are already paid at the full tariff value of the injury.

The new rule applies to those whose injuries are sustained on or after the legislation comes into force. For those cases whose multiple injuries were sustained between 6 April 2005 (the start of the scheme) and the date the new rule comes into force, and who qualify for 100 per cent. GIP will, exceptionally, have an additional benefit paid to bring them to the same level as those who have the new rule applied.

The AFCS is still relatively new. While a full review of the scheme will be undertaken after five years of operation, we will continue to monitor the scheme in order to identify areas where evidence supports the need for further changes before then. The amendments to the legislation will be laid before Parliament on Wednesday 16 January to put the new rule in place on 8 February. Those service personnel whose claims have already been processed and are entitled to the additional payment will receive their extra money as soon as possible thereafter.