Some people miss out on thousands of pounds, sometimes narrowly, because they do not know about the Resettlement Grant (RG).
The RG is a tax-free lump sum, separate from the pension scheme itself, intended to help Regular Service personnel settle into civilian life. There is no stipulation as how you use it – you can spend it on beer if you like BUT you need to remember that, if you take up another military post too quickly, you might have to repay some or all of it. In this short article we explore the rules relating to RGs.
Let’s look first at the RG qualification criteria:
- AFPS 75: Officers must give at least 9 years Reckonable Service (RS) from age 21 and Other Ranks (ORs) must give at least 12 years RS from age 18.
- AFPS 05: The member must give at least 12 years relevant service.
- AFPS 15: The member must give at least 12 years qualifying service.
Sorry about the different terminology for each scheme (RS, relevant service and qualifying service) but, basically, unpaid periods such as AWOL, detention or unpaid leave do not count towards the criteria. In all cases, if the member qualifies for another terminal benefit, the RG is not paid. The terminal benefits which would prevent the RG being paid could be an IP, EDP Scheme benefits or Ill-Health benefits.
Those who were transferred to AFPS 15 have protected benefits in their ‘old’ scheme, and that includes the RG. Only those who joined or re-joined the Regulars on or after 1 April 2015 will received the AFPS 15 RG. Only Regular service counts towards the qualification criteria for RG.
Some of you will have left with preserved AFPS 75 benefits and re-joined after 6 April 2005, thus becoming AFPS 05 members. In these circumstances you are entitled to count both periods of service towards your AFPS 05 RG. You do not have to ask for this to happen – it is automatic. A few of you might have left AFPS 75 or AFPS 05 with preserved benefits only (ie. No other terminal benefits) and re-joined the Regulars on or after 1 April 2015. In these circumstances, and providing you re-joined within 5 years of your previous discharge date, you will be able to count the period of that earlier service towards qualification for the AFPS 15 RG – again, this is automatic.
So, how much are we talking about?
AFPS 75 Officers’ RG is £16,272
AFPS 75 ORs’ RG is £11,121
AFPS 05 and AFPS 15 RG is £11,423 irrespective of rank
…… and, remember, it is tax-free cash! These are 2019/20 rates as 2020/21 rates are not yet published.
Thinking of re-joining, having received an RG? Well, you need to remember the required breaks:
- For AFPS 75: 121 days if you are re-joining the Regulars and 30 days if you are joining the FTRS. So, for example, if you re-joined the Regulars 60 days after leaving with an RG, you would have to pay back about half of the RG. If you join the FTRS within 30 days the whole RG must be repaid.
- For AFPS 05 and AFPS 15: If you re-join the Regulars or join the FTRS within 31 days period, the whole RG must be repaid.
- For all schemes, the RG is not affected by joining the PTVR
If as a result of further Regular service you leave at a point which qualifies you for an RG you may still qualify for RG:
- If you received an RG and did not have to repay it, you will not be entitled to a second RG, even if you are not entitled to any other benefits payable immediately;
- If you repaid a proportion of your AFPS 75 RG on re-joining as an AFPS 05 member, you will be entitled to a proportion of the RG for AFPS 05. So, using the example above, an individual who repaid about half of the AFPS 75 RG on re-entry would be entitled to the same proportion of the RG payable at the date of leaving for the second time.
- If you repaid the whole RG, you will be entitled to the full RG for your new scheme.
If you are a member of the Forces Pension Society and have any pensions-related questions, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
If you are not a member but would like to join, you can do so here
Author Mary Petley, and written for the June 12 issue RAF News