Med discharge advice

napier

LE
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Copied from @Filthy_contract on this thread https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/medical-board-oct-2019-med-discharge-due-to-ptsd-non-service-related-where-do-i-stand.295227/

I've been recently medically discharged due to two chronic conditions (not service related) and was on a joint unit where the support unit was Army-led. For my last few months I was assigned to an RAF station - and what a refreshing change. They were much more joined-up and very helpful, with my case handled (with my approval) by a multi-disciplinary team involving admin staff, medics, padre, welfare, resettlement, DIO, local social services and NHS. I also learned of a lot of assistance for someone being invalided from the service that the Army didn't tell me:
  • You are entitled to a shed-load of leave including the little-known 20 days Invaliding Leave. Few clerks are aware of this. Sit down with your clerk when they calculate your last day in uniform (discharge) date.
  • Make sure that you get your full entitlement of resettlement leave and that the army don't try to short change you. I understand that the army want to discharge personnel asap; the RAF took about 12 months, during which I was on permanent sick leave and was not expected to work.
  • You are entitled to a further 3 months in SFA after discharge date and can apply to occupy a surplus quarter for a further 12 months. This might be convenient for schooling/partner's employment etc
  • You have access to service medical centres for a further 6 months after discharge. Press your UWO to initiate this - again, it's not well-known. It doesn't have to be on your current camp, but one convenient to your new home.
  • Take the next few months to get fit, and kick into touch any smoking, drinking or poor diet habits
  • Get your resettlement underway with a career transition workshop - it is an entitlement, along with T&S and doesn't consume any leave. You have access to CTP resources for 2 years after discharge and if you don't spend your various resettlement funds before discharge - or can't fit particular courses in - these can be carried over after discharge.
  • Get your Railcard for you, your partner and children renewed on your last day of service...
  • Also, get yourself on the 'Financial Aspects of Resettlement' Course. Probably the most valuable course that I have ever attended (and should have been exposed to it when I joined!). Again, like the Transition Workshop and a Housing Briefing, these are entitlements and you can claim T&S.
  • If you have children and they are in receipt of CEA or SENA (special educational needs allowance) the MOD will continue to pay this up to their next education break-point. In my case, my daughter had just started GCSEs and it was agreed that CEA will be paid to end of Upper Sixth (worth to me a cool £78k).
  • How's your hearing? Get referred to the Defence Audiology Service by your Dr and get the best hearing aids around for free (helps if you 'fail' your next hearing test...). Get your medical centre to order a gazillion batteries for you before you leave. Once you leave the service, RBL have a fund to maintain and replace your hearing aids, on behalf of MOD.
  • Don't sell your surplus kit and uniform on eBay. People pay good money for crap kit...so I hear.
  • RBL have quite a lot of impartial information on their website for service leavers.
  • SSAFA, likewise. Along with RBL, they can probably provide more up to date info that a Regtl Association 'dug out' wallah.
  • Combat Stress also may be able to help given your condition.
  • Join the Forces Pension Society for £35. They are the only people who can advocate on your behalf on pension matters. Do NOT go near any of those so-called Pension Help Lines offered on social media.
  • Obviously I can't comment on your pension but you should be pleasantly surprised by what you will receive. Veterans UK, on receipt of notification that you are being discharged, will provide you a forecast of your lump sum and pension. They are pretty good, but mistakes do creep in to calculations - refer results to the Forces Pension Society
  • Network like fůck for your next career (if you are able to work). Best advice I was given was 'don't hang around home in your dressing gown dropping a trail of toast crumbs". LinkedIn is primus inter pares but use the web browser and not the app. Similarly, don't register for 'security cleared' groups etc. That's professional advice. Go to the myriad of CTP road shows, insight events etc. You can claim T&S for some of them - speak to your resettlement staff.
  • Try to get a Civilian Work Placement or two. Again, you can get up to 7 weeks with prospective employers; they can't pay you but you can claim T&S (get a whopping advance on JPA beforehand). I spent a couple of weeks with a well-known bank and met an Associate Vice President there who, two years earlier, had been a Cpl musician.
  • There's the thorny issue of 'double-dipping', ie working for a civilian employer whilst still receiving your Army pay. The rules say that you can apply to work during your terminal leave with your CO's approval. This is a made-up MOD 'rule' which cannot be enforced; it's nothing to do with your CO. Just don't park your company BMW or 'Joe's Handyman Service' van on the driveway of your quarter. However, if you decide to take paid employment whilst still in, you will be taxed on your new salary at 40% as secondary income. Either tell your new employer that you are in receipt of other pay and for them to set the tax code appropriately, or your will have to submit a tax return at the end of the financial year. Not difficult, but expect to pay more tax.
  • Most employers are well-disposed to taking on service-leavers. You DO NOT need to say why you are leaving. All you need to say (and this is covered in the CTP workshop) is "I'm at the end of my contract". Through HR at your next employers, you can reveal (if you feel that you have to) that you are recovering from (never suffering) from PTSD and seek 'reasonable adjustments', such as time off to see counsellors or therapists. I have to go for regular cancer treatment and generally 'work from home' the next day (out of fairness, I tried to schedule treatment on Friday afternoons). The company is happy with that, and given that I'm registered as disabled, it looks great on the company's Diversity and Inclusion stats.
  • Finally don't be a victim. Turn this into a wonderful opportunity - you must be in your early 30s - more than young enough to start a new, professional career - potentially for the next 40 years. Use your experiences of the last 15 years as a foundation for something better and don't look back!
ETA additional thoughts
 
I’m not sure about the access to med/dental centre. I understand they will finish off treatments, but you are meant to register with a civvy dentist and doctor upon leaving.

The SFA is on availability. If they are tight for quarters, serving personnel have priority.

Having other paid employment whilst serving is a concern of your CO, there are some types of paid work that serving personnel are not allowed to undertake by regulation.

If you are leaving on a medical discharge an employer has the right to ask your medical conditions so they can make reasonable adjustments and ensure they provide a duty of care to all employees.

There is some good stuff in there and it would be helpful if it could be expanded on, but it does look like the RAF are reading from the bumper book of rainbows and unicorns.
 

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