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FAQs specific to the impacts of Coronavirus

We are receiving an increased number of questions and concerns through various channels relating to, amongst others, the security or otherwise of Armed Forces Pensions already under payment; pension consideration for those still “in service” and how the current Coronavirus situation may impact your pension in other personal situations.

Here we answer some of the most popular FAQs and which are specific to the impacts of Covid19.

Pensions in Payment

Q1. I am receiving my Armed Forces pension is this safe? Will it continue to be paid?

The MoD have recently confirmed that “all Armed Forces Pensions payments will continue to be made as usual into your nominated account”.

We see no reason to doubt this. Remember that Armed Forces pensions are Government backed and paid for from general taxation as part of the MoD’s budget.

As such there is no “pension pot” that is subject to the vagaries of stock market/economic performance (which is the case of most private pension schemes).

Q2. I am in receipt of my Armed Forces pension. I have just been told that I am to be “furloughed” in my current job. Will my pension affect this?

No. The Government’s new Coronavirus Job Retention scheme allows employers to keep you on the payroll if they’re unable to operate or have no work for you to do because of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is known as being ‘on furlough’.

The Government will pay 80% of your wages up to a maximum of £2,500 per month and this should be paid on to you by your employer in the same way as your normal pay. The £2,500 limit is per job and the fact that you have an Armed Forces Pension in payment should have no impact on your eligibility for the furlough payments. Ideally your employer will provide the required top up to keep your pay at its original level during the Corvid-19 shut down period but we understand that this may not be possible.

Pension consideration for those still “in service”

Q3. During this crisis will I continue to earn pension as before?

Yes – exactly the same.

Q4. If I contract the Coronavirus at work and die or am medically discharged will this be considered to be attributable to service?

Each case will need to be considered individually with no “across the board answer”.

Coronavirus, like many conditions can be “caught” in any environment and the cause may or may not be connected to service life. On the other hand it is possible that if, for operational reasons, you are required to be put into Corvid-19 ‘high risk situations’, and that this resulted directly in you contracting Coronavirus then the case for a attributable benefits would be stronger.

Q5. I am a serving Officer with benefits on AFPS75/AFPS15. I was due to leave the military in a couple of weeks at the end of my commission. I have been asked to extend my service by 3 months (initially) will my AFPS75 benefits still be granted to me on compulsory rates or will I be subject to Premature Voluntary Retirement (PVR) terms?  

It ought to be possible for your career desk to ensure that your revised leaving date will be on compulsory terms. You will of course continue to earn AFPS15 benefits for your additional time served.

Q6 I am on AFPS05 only. I was due to leave next month, shortly before my 55th birthday, so as to enjoy Early Departure Payments (EDP). What happens if my service is extended beyond my 55th birthday?

In this case, you will lose your entitlement to EDP and will go straight to immediate pension (ie only the one lump sum) when you eventually leave service. You will of course earn additional AFPS05 pension entitlements during your service extension.

Q7 Will the current Coronavirus crisis delay the first payment of my pension and lump sum when I leave service next month?

We don’t think so. Veterans UK have prioritised the need to commence new pension payments due to those leaving the Armed Forces, Death In Service entitlements and Widows and Dependents pensions. Please remember that normal payment timeframes can take up to 30 working days after you leave service.

Q8 The FPS forecast audit and explanation process requires me to obtain a forecast from Veterans UK before approaching you. Now that “official” forecasts have been suspended (other than in ill health cases) what should I do?

Whilst AFPS12 forecasts are disabled, we will strive to provide our members with forecasts. We have updated our pension forecast FAQ to reflect this.

Q9 My resettlement training will not now be completed before I am due to leave service. Can I delay my exit date to accommodate the revised resettlement time?

The MoD and CTP have issued their own Corvid-19 FAQs here. In answer to this particular question they have said that “in-Service extensions are at the gift of single Service POCs as per JSP534”. It is noted that post discharge resettlement time has been extended by a further 3 months (from 24 to 27 months) because of the crisis.

Coronavirus pension impacts in other situations

Q10 I am going through a divorce and my solicitor has asked for a Cash Equivalent Valuation (CEV).Will this be affected by the current crisis?

CEVs have to be obtained from Veterans UK using the form here.

However as part of its prioritisation of work at this difficult time Veterans UK have had to suspend all work on “divorce administration” until the Government’s control measures are relaxed.

The CEV form has to be submitted to Glasgow by post. If it is possible for you to do so, we recommend that you submit the form anyway, and sooner rather than later, so that it stands a chance of being one of the first to be dealt with when things return to normal.

Q11. Will there be any pension implications if I re-join to help support the Army during the COVID19 situation?

The Army re-joining page states the following

 ‘’Your pension will stop when you re-join and you will accumulate a new AFPS15 pension. When you discharge again a new calculation will be made with your old and new pension. If you receive a medical pension, this will stop if you're declared fit for service’’

However, from an FPS perspective, the answer will depend in part on your circumstances. For example, how long ago did you leave service? Are you in receipt of a pension now? The other factor will be the terms of your reappointment, for example, anticipated contract term, regular, mobilised reservist, full-time part-time and so on. You must also bear in mind that in the current situation an initial 3 month contract might of course change to something much longer depending on the state of the nation’s health.

The more we know of your circumstances the more we may be able to help, and if you would like a personal consultation, we are happy to provide that but you will need to be a member of the Society. You can join here

If you are a Member and you have further questions re. this topic please contact the team at pensionenquiries@forpen.co.uk

For general FAQs members can log in here

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