Mobilisation and Personal Finance Issues

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by LostComms, Jan 10, 2004.

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  1. Ladies and Gents,

    Some questions for the collective grey matter out there in Arrse land... Am currently facing compulsary mobilisation (and no, I'm not whinging about it, see the other topic for peoples' moans!) but I'd like to ensure that my financial house is in order before I depart for my 6 months of sand castle building.

    1. Under the Reservist's Standard Award, my civvy salary would be matched up to £37,500, and as long as I take pay slips etc to Chilwell then as far as I can tell this should be done with minimum fuss. However, this does leave me a little light, so I should be able to apply for Reservist's Hardship Allowance. Has anyone had any success in doing so? Do I need to take additional supporting paperwork such as bank statements, mortgage details etc in order to support my claim? And there was a theory I once heard about making sure that my joint mortgage is put entirely into my name to strengthen my claim for RHA. Any comments?

    2. I'm a member of my employer's occupational pension scheme. According to Sabre, the MoD will pay my employer's contributions as long as I continue to make my own contributions. Has anyone any experience of this and how difficult is this to arrange? Also, would my death in service benefits still apply if I were to get slotted in theatre?

    3. Life insurance - will a "bog standard" life insurance policy pay out should the worst happen? Or do I need to take out additional cover for the duration of the tour?

    I'm so glad that the army goes out of its way to make these type of issues as clear and transparent as very very thick mud. I'll be buggered if I'm going to end up out of pocket just so Uncle Tony can continue to punch above his weight!

    Cheers,

    LC
     
  2. Brief summary of what I and my colleagues learned getting mobilised as part of Veritas follows - maybe things have changed as a result of Telic ? Maybe not.

    Hardship money (RHA) is doled out very grudgingly. You have to provide details of all your household expenditure for a long time back and justify every penny, so you'll need every bit of financial related paperwork you can think of. It is intended to be the minimum possible amount to allow your family to survive, nothing more and that is how it was administered. Forget all the "you won't suffer" stuff you've heard, the people from Worthy Down who administer this kept pointing out that should not have been said to soldiers.

    You may have been saving part of your salary - that's not counted. In fact, one of my colleagues commented that he'd have been better off taking out a large loan - repayments on which were the same as the amount he usually saved - just before he left, as pre-existing committments do count.

    The other kicker is that you receive nothing above your army salary - ie not even the standard up to 37.5K - until you agree the RHA amount. So if you send their offer back - as several of my colleagues did - as it was wrong/not enough/didn't make sense - you delay receiving anything. The way they arrived at the amount offered was unclear, seemed to differ every time and drove those involved nuts.

    Now, we were all deployed in the UK on a Mon-Fri job so we had time to deal with this sort of thing - the host unit doesn't get involved. If you're away I hate to think how you'd deal with it. One chap didn't agree the RHA until just after he was demobilised, to give you an idea of the timescales involved.

    One other problem is the current system does not take into account any loss of income your partner suffers as a result of mobilisation - my wife had to reduce her hours to do the childcare I used to do, and she wasn't alone. In theory RHA stops you starving, but that's about it.

    My wife lost her temper with the Army while I was at Chilwell and said that if they didn't make her salary up she wasn't reducing her hours and would drive up there and drop the children off. Chilwell pointed out that they weren't - couldn't - asking her to do anything and that it was nothing to do with them.

    So I applied for an exemption for mobilisation on the grounds of child care - one of the few exemptions allowed - it got kicked up to appeal and they banged on the full whack on there and then. Result ! Note that my salary came in below the 37.5K limit and was sorted there and then with no problems.

    Chilwell did have a fit though which was quite funny in retrospect - why couldn't I make her ! (this from an infantry captain) - pointing out that women were not property any more made him go an interesting shade of purple. And then repeating their words back to them - we didn't ask her to reduce her hours - OK, she isn't, so I need to look after the children - ..... But you're not loyal - yes I am, I'm here, my salary's fine, tell me where to go - but I'll be looking after the children, can I have a quarter please - but your wife should - yes but she wants you to make up her loss of income - we can't do that - OK, I'll apply for an exemption then ...

    Ah memories.

    Good luck anyway, just remember to screw the system as it's not there to look after you and will screw you given half a chance.

    Oh, and employers pensions should be easy, they write to your employer and pay them while you're away so you shouldn't lose out. One colleague's employer never replied though so make sure yours is aware and chase them up. The documents in the mobilisation pack are quite explicit though, if they do what it says there you'll be all right.

    Death in service - ask your employer. Probably not, insurance policies exclude that sort of thing as a general rule. In fact, the only insurance policy I know of which would cover you is RPAX - and you might be too late to take that out now, best check the rules. Others may know more than me about this, hopefully they'll post as well.

    Finally, get an overdraft sorted as you will not be paid on time for the first few months as Glasgow are pretty incompetent. You get it all eventually, but that doesn't pay the mortgage on time.
     
  3. If you want to ensure that you get all that you can from the army, all you need do is reduce your morgage term to 5 years. Putting your repayments to 5K a month should do it . Once you have been through chillwell revert back to the former term.
     
  4. FINCO
    That sounds like an excellent wheeze to me!!
    I hope it still works??

    ( are you still with that Special Medical Investigation Unit that works from the New Forge, or are you back at the Rose Garden now??)
     
  5. If your mortgage company finds out you're on Op Telic they'll remove the automatic payment in case of your death.

    I know it happened to me on Op Granby!

    I got a bluey from the missus saying "For fcuk's sake don't get killed as I'll be saddled with the mortgage payments". Just to pi$$ her off I came back anyway.

    It's also too late to take out RPAX - IIRC you need to be in at least 6 months before it kicks in.

    All the civvy insurance companies won't touch you with a barge pole and all your existing civvy policies will have clauses excluding war risks so they won't pay out if you cop it.

    Oh here's the good bit (saving this till last), if you rack up a shed load of debts the civvy companies cannot get at you whilst you are still in green. However the minute you get demobbed it's fair game. I didn't get my final salary until THREE MONTHS after I was demobbed.
     
  6. I can only comment on the first question.

    I was mobilised for Telic 2 back in June and managed to get a RHA claim through with no problem (being a junior my RSA ceiling was £22,500). With RHA I managed to get up to just over £30,000 before I and the WO who was helping ("food for the cat thats another £20 a week") ran out of things I could claim for. This left me about £7,000 short but it didn't meant the wife and kids would starve and not be able to pay the mortgage so I took it.

    When I got back just before Christmas as part of the demob process we had a Q&A session with the staff at Chilwell, and I raised this point. The line from them was that now, regardless of rank, they will match your civvy earnings up to something like £200,000 (two hundred thousand) regardless of what the Reserve Forces Act says so you should be OK.

    When you get to Chilwell you'll be offerd things like PAX because I think (although don't know which is why I don't claim to be able to answer the question fully) most insurance policies won't cover you for an act of war.

    Good luck out there.
     
  7. Many thanks to all for your replies.

    Have found out a few things in the past week... as I can continue as a contributing member of my employer's pension scheme I AM still covered by the death in service beneift part of my pension policy. Surely this would also apply to anyone else in similar circumstances.

    Also, my life assurance company didn't seem too bothered either. After going through their policy document with a fine toothed comb, they seem to have covered themselves in terms of Critical Illness arriving from War etc, but they seem to have omitted this exclusion from the Life Cover section of the policy. On pointing this out to them, they've just asked for a copy of my mobilisation details and said that they will then consider the case before providing confirmation in writing that I'm still covered. I'll let you know how I get on with this as soon as I hear back from them.

    Also, one bonus issue I discovered is regarding Travel Insurance... only two days before hearing about my mobilisation, I had gone and paid the balance for myself and my better half on a not particularly cheap holiday that I was taking in March. However, on reading my travel insurance policy I've discovered that I am covered to recoup the costs for both myself and my partner. Woo hoo!

    OOTS, thanks for your comprehensive reply, but looking at IDONTNEEDAHAIRCUT's comments, it would seem that the pay issues have been addressed.

    FINCO, many thanks for the tip and I did consider it, but seeing as my partner still pays half the mortgage, I don't think that she would thank me for this... but its still worth bearing in mind!

    And RARO_Reject, you're a bundle of joy aren't you!!!!!!

    Thanks all,

    LC
     
  8. LostComms,

    yep being an old ba$tard, I can now say that nothing ever changes.

    When the TA pay/insurance/pension/spouse dependant issues were raised in 1991 (on Op Granby) the response was "Don't worry we're going to get it right next time."

    I went through the whole of Op Granby on an emergency handout of £1,000 per month! (Nothing else!). I was told it would all be sorted out in theatre (yeah right!)

    Fortunately I had some dosh saved and my missus lived on that. It was nice to get the occasional begging letter from the missus - at least she could be bothered to write.

    After demob I had to chase the missing dosh myself. No-one stepped in and offered to help. I took on the might of the RAPC and got a result after three months. Not 100% but let's just say I felt I was getting luckier.

    I actually wrote a detailed letter (factual - not bitching) to the civil servants drafting the Reserve Forces Act 96 (RFA96) to explain the fcuk ups. I got a nice letter back thanking me (nice manners eh?)

    When the RFA96 came out - surprise - there wasn't much in it that addressed these issues except the hardship top-up (and that was in mainly because surgeons won't work in green for peanuts).

    So twelve years later after living off beer and curry and dodging CFTs, I'm a fat and smelly old git and I sit in my battered old armchair watching Op Telic on telly thinking "I bet the poor old sods who are mobilised get fcucked about like I did"
     
  9. thought this could do with a reserection!
     
  10. Bah, will no doubt get savaged by the part time contingent for this, but in spite of the arguments about needing the TA, our duties to them etc, and notwithstanding the truly excellent contribution they are making wherever the Regular Army is deployed, my gut instinct is that people like this:

    ...should perhaps have a bit of a rethink. Yeah, fair one on all your complaints (albeit grudgingly) but it seems as if you might just be a little bit more trouble than you're worth.

    Believe me matey, when it comes to be messed about, you have no idea.
     
  11. well said gizzit
     
  12. get in gizzit. From reading this whole thing it doesn't sound like their stick is too sh1tty. In for a penny, in for a pound.
     
  13. Just for perspective I should point out the regs I worked with when mobilised were just as enthusiastic about screwing the system before it got them as I was - just a different system. They felt that as they were no longer being looked after as perhaps earlier generations of soldiers were then it was time to look out for number one. Now I can't comment from personal experience about the constant erosion of regulars terms and conditions in recent years - maybe someone else could ?

    And as for being too much trouble, well maybe so. But if you don't call me and my equally pissed-off colleagues up there's no-one else left to do the job. I can however guarantee that you'd have got a much better attitude calling me up for a real threat to the UK - but that's perhaps another discussion.

    But if I'm dragged away to compensate for peacetime underfunding of the regulars then there is absolutely no way that I am going to accept my wife and children suffering as a result. And frankly (having no pension resting on the outcome) I really don't care who I honk off in the process. If you can't cope with that, don't use the TA - use a bunch of regs that you can browbeat into silence for the sake of their careers.

    And I'm still here - many of those that accepted what they were told and suffered as a result are now resigning or just letting their engagements lapse. No whinging from them though.
     
  14. Ahh Gizzit, it does me old heart good to see that the British soldier is still so proud about being messed about and shat on.
     
  15. Yes, perhaps you're right - there is sometimes a certain peversity in being hard done by.

    One_of_the_strange - as I said before, you're technically spot on of course, (or no doubt the Head Sheds wouldn't have acceded to your requests), but your description of the situation just irked me, that's all.

    On a purely technical basis, none of this is strictly true, but I just feel that you can't really drag the Regular Army in to provide 'perspective', because there really isn't that much of a comparison to be made.
    Again, notwithstanding the contribution made by the TA, you are only TA.
    If the Regular soldiers you were working with were enthusiastic about screwing the system, it's because the system screws them around more than you could possibly imagine or put up with, even, dare I say, when it's operating normally.

    You say you wouldn't be prepared to suffer a loss of income on deployment; they effectively suffer a pay cut (in comparison with many civilian careers) for their whole 22. You worry that your wife will have to drop some of her hours; their wives have little hope of any sustained kind of career if hubby is being posted every couple of years. You don't want your children to suffer; try 8 different schools in eleven years. And to top it off, you stayed in the UK on a nine to fiver. Your experience was for a few months, and even though I am not suggesting that you should have put up and shut up, your 'perspective' is all wrong.

    I also sense that you had a negative attitude to begin with. You talk of a 'real threat to the UK', and being 'dragged away'. And you are quite right , that's totally irrelevant mate - and the fact that I am inclined to agree is also neither here nor there. No-one held a gun to your head and forced you to sign on the dotted line. You do what you're told. It's that easy.

    This isn't a hostile post, but I just feel that dragging your regular counterparts into things to justify your own actions is a distortion. And I'm glad you're still here!