Discussion in 'Army Pay, Claims & JPA' started by CornishNasty, Jun 3, 2007.

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  1. Hi folks, first post from me.

    I've been retired a year or two now, and was last at RD about 10 years ago. I do a turn for SSAFA a couple of times a week, and debt issues are becoming something that we are asked to advise on more and more frequently. Although I have managed to get hold of the Army guidance on dealing with debt, and it does mention insolvency, some of the folk I deal with are concerned that it will blight their career forever if they go down that route - which is why they come to us rather than to the unit.

    I appreciate the potential impact of debt on things like vetting and suitability for promotion, as these were issues I came across from time to time while serving, but I don't think I ever met anyone who actually went bankrupt.

    Can anyone advise on what the 'official' line on insolvency is please? And does anyone know of anyone who has become bankrupt and gone on to salvage their career?

    thanks, in anticipation.

    CN :)
  2. Welcome to the site, CN.

    I am at home, and cannot quote chapter and verse, but the rules appear to have eased. Two years ago, a soldier working for me was bankrupt. He had been bust from LCpl as a result (too complicated to go into here) but had been allowed to soldier on. In my opinion, that was a fate worse than death because he couldn't afford to join in with anything that the rest of his Troop was doing. He was a non-stop welfare case, and never deployed because he would have been back within the month!

    There was another case many moons ago (many more than I wish to acknowledge here...), where I took over the affairs of a Cpl and intercepted all his mail. I stopped counting when we hit £25k (interest rates were 9.5% and rising IIRC) and I applied for an administrative discharge, which was granted just before he was jailed by a civilian court for other, cough, matters.

    I suggest that it is probably down to the CO; if the CO thinks the soldier is a good 'un and can recover, then it will be OK. However, in both cases in my experience, the soldiers should not have been allowed to soldier on. The operational tempo of today is such that any soldier with financial difficulties is a major liability.

    Having previously discussed this with my colleagues, I am aware of the counter argument that such soldiers are usually the ones who are quite content to be deployed for 90% of their time; but if their family is sitting in the patch...., disaster is only a telephone call away!

  3. Lilotes tread carefully my friend you are breaking the law, also soldiers who are in debt we also have a certain duty of care, but agreed if he is his own worst enemy should initially be help and then fooked off at the high port!!!
  4. "Many moons ago" means before current Elf & Safety laws were introduced....

  5. Thanks Litotes, that's helpful. I guess, as ever, the message is to take control early, open the mail, and don't assume it will go away on its own.


    PS - nice Owl! Good in Pie? :)
  6. No, Strix is a killer wol, who is about to go on his Commando wol course as recommended by Chumpycheeks some weeks ago.

  7. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

    From the Army Website:
    I suppose it will all depend on the both the soldier & the CO's view of him/her.

    I do note that one of the phone numbers they advise soldiers to ring is SSAFA Central Office!
  8. Yes, I'd noticed that! I am on the end of one of the 'local contact numbers' that they provide. Indeed I rang them myself a few weeks ago, and they posed the question to D Pers, or whatever the purple organisation is called that deals with such issues now, and I got a paraphrase of the guidance you have quoted, together with the information that it is a reportable occurrence.

    While not condoning it, voluntary insolvency could be viewed as a way of dealing with unmanageable debt, thus resolving the issue of potential security risks, and removing the stress from the individual concerned, thereby returning him/her to full capability sooner than if they had to struggle on. The related issues of suitability for further responsibility, and a consideration of whether insolvency would constitute 'bringing the Army into disrepute' (or whatever the modern day QR equivalent is) would still remain, of course.

    It has become something of a circular question, really. If someone comes to us (SSAFA), one of the first questions they ask is 'Will I be discharged if I go bankrupt'. All we can say, really, is 'it depends' - which doesn't move the situation forward much at all. But I can see why there is no official line published on it. We can, and do, help people to manage their affairs, along the lines suggested in the link you provided, and the Service charities with whom we work can often help with an unexpected financial catastrophe, but I can't think of a precedent where large consumer debts have been settled.

    I was just wondering whether anyone had known of a situation where someone had gone bankrupt, and been able to soldier on.

    CN :)
  9. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    I frankly cant see why soldiers should be discharged for failing financially. Not only does it show a lack of care but it also shows that the army would rather be shot of its problems than keep them in house, deal with them and retain valuable trained assets. Dumping someone onto civ street is no way to repay even mediocre service. It also leaves the mod open to being chased in the courts later!
  10. good post ugly its f@@king mad to give someone the boot if there in debt some of the stuff blokes do down town on the piss rip the ass !! you dont here people crying for there discharge papers, half the time they have caused the problems by messing blokes pay up, JPA hint hint
  11. The army is not a source of employment for soldiers who cannot manage their own finances, especially where such soldiers are precluded from operational deployments and get choice preference for LOA postings.

    These two elements alone are evidence that the army does care - however I agree with your comment about rather being shot of their problems. I have applied for 1 administrative discharge on the grounds of indebtedness - which was ulitmately refused, nonetheless the soldier concerned was eventually discharged after a spell in MCTC for stealing 3 DII computers - to pay for his debts.

    Furthermore - dumping someone on civvy street for mediocre service is more than adequate repayment - the army is a vehicle for those interested in serving their country to excel and to reap the benifits that the army offers - it is not a hive for wasters who are happy to exist on the back of others efforts.

    As for the MOD being chased in the courts - on what grounds?
  12. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    I expect some scum ambulance chaser will persuade a court to find that you have infringed their rights by removing their sole source of income without letting them repay their debt. This sort of thing didnt happen much 20 years ago but a squaddie in debt would end up in front of his OC. A good OC would find ways of keeping him in camp, ROP's extra gd duties etc a bad oc would fine him and add to the problem!
  13. Bang on, Sammy!

  14. By the time that soldiers in a financial mess come into contact with the CoC, it is invariably too late for any actions that would save the situation! The soldier whose case I quoted earlier owed four times his annual salary and had nothing to show for it... no house, no car, nothing. Most of his debts were on credit/store cards at more than 30% pa. There was no way out - and God knows I tried!

    We could argue all day about whether Troopies should keep a better eye on their men etc, but do you want your Troopie living next to you? Thought not!

  15. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    I dont disagree but perhaps attention needs paying to this during training in the same way that VD films were shown 20-30 years ago. I suppose that a return to the old days where you needed an OC's signature for credit at the NAAFI to buy a cassette player would be an imposition on these soldiers rights but we need to ensure that the service doesnt lose persons who only fault is poor financial awareness. Good soldiers need looking after sometimes, bad ones, well we all have dealt with those problems havent we. It gets worse as described earlier when they are married and cause manning issues on tours. Perhaps some form of mandatory savings plan could be instituted for those going through training. I still up to the month I left sent money home. I didnt leave with an instant pension or pay of but I owed no one either. I wasnt exactly a shiny shoe exemplary either!
    Financial planning needs explaining to these troops when they join. We had a good chat from the Unit Pay Officer on bank accounts (a rarity for soldiers then) and encouraged to save and be responsible for ourselves. A bounced cheque would get you 7 days RoPs. Perhaps discipline is slipping and being noticed too late!
    Only today on my local radio station a soldier was caught near Chichester selling ammunition!