MANCHESTER - 24th July | LONDON - 31st October
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What you need to know about the Armed Forces Pension Calculator

While many people will seek to transition into a civilian career with ex military jobs – and there’s a lot of support available if you’re looking to do this – you also need to think about what to expect in later years, and in particular what pension you’ll be entitled to once you fully retire.

The government claims that the pensions schemes on offer to armed forces personnel are among the most generous in the UK, which the Ministry of Defence states “fairly reflects the unique sacrifice they have provided their country throughout their career”.

What armed forces pensions are available?

No matter what branch you served in, members of the UK military are automatically enrolled into the Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS). Unlike other public schemes, members pay 0 per cent in contributions each month, with the government fully covering the cost.

Depending on when you joined the armed forces, you could be enrolled onto one of several pension plans. The three main schemes that cover full-time members of the regular armed forces are:

  • Armed Forces Pension Scheme 75 (AFPS 75) – For those joining before 6th April 2005
  • Armed Forces Pension Scheme 05 (AFPS 05) – For those joining between 6th April 2005 and 31st March 2015
  • Armed Forces Pension Scheme 15 (AFPS 15) – For those joining after 31st March 2015

Regardless of scheme, you need to have at least two years of paid service to qualify for most pension benefits. This is known as qualifying service.

When can I receive my armed forces pension?

When you are entitled to start claiming benefits will depend on your age and the length of service you have. If you left the armed forces at age 60 or over, you will be entitled to an immediate pension.

Many individuals leave the military before this and transition into the civilian sector. These veterans become “deferred members” of their pension scheme and will be able to claim a deferred pension paid at state pension age.

However, some personnel may be entitled to either an Early Departure Payment, an Ill-health Pension or a Resettlement Grant depending on circumstances.

Understanding exactly what you’re entitled to and how to claim it can be a complex process. Fortunately, however, there are a range of tools to help you navigate this – and one of the most useful is the Armed Forces Pension Calculator.

Using the Armed Forces Pension Calculator

The Armed Forces Pension Calculator is an online tool managed by the government that aims to provide a projection of the benefits you can expect to receive from the AFPS. It can be found online here.

When complete, the calculator will provide you with a forecast of what you can expect to be entitled to from the AFPS based on your record of service.

What will you need to get started?

The online calculator can be accessed from any internet-connected PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone. While completing the questions, you’ll be required to have the following information to hand:

  • Your rates of pay, including your supplementary level and increment level. This information can be found in your Statement of Salary and Deductions (Pay Statement). If you’re unsure about any of this, your Unit HR can assist.
  • Date of birth
  • Date of enlistment or commission
  • Actual or anticipated date of leaving the service
  • Dates for all promotions and ranks achieved

How are armed forces pensions calculated?

Those on the AFPS 15 scheme will have their pension pot calculated based on Career Average Revalued Earnings (CARE). This means that your pension will be based on your average earnings over your career rather than your final salary.

Every year, the size of your pension pot will increase based on inflation and as further service is added, continuing until you leave the armed forces. At this time, the pot will become the pension that you’ll receive. There is no maximum number of years’ service that counts towards your pension, while both full-time and part-time service are taken into account.

It’s also important to remember that the AFPS is far from the only financial support ex-military personnel may be entitled to. For example, if you received an injury or illness during your service, you could be entitled to help as part of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS). If you’re unsure of your options, there are plenty of services you can turn to, including the government’s Veterans UK department and dedicated charities like the Royal British Legion.

Image credits

© Crown copyright 2022

© Crown copyright 2024