Military personnel deployed to Afghanistan are eligible for the operational allowance and separation allowances. The operational allowance, announced by the Secretary of State for Defence on 10 October, is paid to all personnel who have deployed to or are still serving in Afghanistan, Iraq or the Balkans. It is to recognise the significantly increased and enduring nature of the danger in these operational locations. It is a tax-free lump sum payment worth around £2,240 for a six-month deployment and is paid at the end of a service person's qualifying tour as a one-off payment via salary once they return to their permanent unit.
Personnel are also entitled to separation allowances, either longer separated allowance (LSA—Royal Navy/Royal Marines and Royal Air Force) or longer separated service allowance (LSSA—Army only).
LSA is a daily payment for each day a service person is separated from their home base and family, for more than 10 days. It is paid at one of 14 rates that range from £6.02 to £25.42 per day. The rate payable depends upon the accumulated separated service of the service person; the more separated service that has been undertaken, the higher the rate of allowance paid. LSA is taxable and paid on a monthly basis via the service person’s salary.
LSSA is paid to eligible Army personnel on the same criteria as LSA. This allowance has three rates that are identical to levels 1 to 3 of LSA and range from £6.02 to £12.82 per day. Once again, the rate payable depends upon the accumulated separated service of the service person, and the more separated service that has been undertaken, the higher the rate of allowance. LSSA is taxable and paid on a monthly basis via the service person's salary. On 1 April 2007, Army personnel will cease their eligibility for LSSA and instead become eligible for LSA, with its 14 rates.
Depending on the nature of their duties, some personnel deployed to Afghanistan might also be eligible for unpleasant work allowance. This is paid at one of three rates ranging from £2.25 to £16.34 per day. This allowance is paid to compensate those personnel who must undertake particularly unpleasant duties, possibly in arduous conditions. It is taxable and paid on a monthly basis via the service person's salary.
In addition, while serving on operations in Afghanistan, all personnel are exempt from the payment of charges for food or accommodation occupied in the operational theatre.