Frequently asked Questions
Will the JCCC be sympathetic?
It will consider each case very carefully and investigate and verify each one. Only after that will they make the necessary recommendations.
What is a Notifiable Casualty?
The JCCC has a system that categorises casualties depending on the nature of their illness or injury, and uses the word 'notifiable' to ensure that the casualty's Emergency Contact (EC) is notified as quickly and accurately and possible. The categories used are defined as:
• Unlisted (UL) UL is applied to an individual whose illness or injury requires hospitalisation but whose condition does not fall into the categories below. The responsibility for notifying EC of personnel within this category rests with the individual and his unit, not the JCCC, and in most cases a telephone call will suffice.
• Missing Missing is a general category of which there are several variations e.g. Detained Against Will. It does not, however, include illegal absence.
• Incapacitating Illness/Injury (III) III applies to an individual whose illness or injury requires hospitalisation but does not fall into the categories below. It indicates that the illness or injury has rendered them either physically or mentally unable to communicate with friends or relatives.
• Seriously Ill (SI) The category of Sl is applied to an individual whose illness or injury is of such severity that there is cause for immediate concern but there is no imminent danger to life.
• Very Seriously Ill (VSI) The category of VSl is applied to an individual whose illness or injury is of such severity that life is imminently endangered.
• Death Death has to be verified by a Medical Officer/Doctor and again the JCCC has both a monitoring and action role. In matters of death the JCCC has the additional role of ensuring appropriate advice and assistance is given to the family / Visiting Officer (VO), regarding the circumstance of the death, funeral and estate issues The JCCC also works with the RAF Investigations and Aftercare Support Cell to ensure the family are provided with the appropriate advice and aftercare.
What Do You Mean By 'Emergency Contact (EC)'?
• Service personnel are required to give details of the person they wish to be notified in the event of them becoming a listed casualty or of their involvement in an incident of public interest.
• It should be stressed that the person nominated is not necessarily the legal next-of-kin and that being nominated as an EC does not give the person any legal rights.
• Initial notification of the casualty incident is made to the person recorded as the notifiable EC (as above) on the Service person's EC record but all other matters, including funeral arrangements may be the subject of a will or the wishes of the legal next-of-kin.
• Make sure you know who your serving person has notified as their EC.
Who is the NOK?
• An individual cannot choose their next of kin (NOK). It is determined in the following order. If married or separated (but not divorced), this will be their spouse/civil partner. If single, a widow, widower or divorcee it will be their eldest child, a parent, sibling, or other relative, or if they have no living relatives, it may be a friend. If a Service person dies, their NOK has certain rights regarding funeral arrangements and inheritance (unless specifically excluded in a legal document such as a will). Consequently, the MOD is obliged to inform the NOK of a Service person’s death or if they are missing. In the event of death it is generally the NOK who will be the focus of the support and assistance provided by the MOD.
• Whilst a partner / fiancée can be the emergency contact, other than where partners of the same sex have undergone a civil partnership ceremony, they are not the NOK.
• An estranged spouse remains the NOK until a divorce is finalised by decree absolute.
What is an Additional EC?
An additional EC is someone the Service person nominates to be notified in addition to or instead of the EC. An additional nominee should only be notified of a casualty instead of the EC when:
• The Service person considers direct notification to the EC could have serious consequences and arranges for the additional nominee to bear the responsibility. This may happen, for example, when the nominated EC is elderly or infirm and bad news could contribute to a deterioration of their physical or mental state.
• The nominated EC is a minor.
What is a Casualty Notification Officer?
• When a service perosn becomes a notifiable casualty, the JCCC will task the relevant RAF Headquarters to appoint a Casualty Notification Officer (CNO) to inform in person, the EC and/or the additional EC. This is usually by a personal visit but if the service person is listed as III notification is normally via a telephone call.
• Where the EC lives near the Service person's permanent unit, notification will normally be undertaken by an officer from the unit. There may be times when this is not possible and in those circumstances a request will be made to the Divisional or Brigade Headquarters nearest to where the EC and/or additional EC reside to appoint a CNO.
• If there are no RAF Units within a reasonable travelling distance of the EC or immediate notification is required, a request may be made to the nearest Army, Royal Navy or Royal Marines establishment to appoint a CNO. • In some circumstances the civilian police may undertake notification.
What is a Visiting Officer?
• A Visiting Officer (VO) is appointed after bereavement, or in cases where a serviceman or woman is very seriously ill or missing and they or their family may require long term support. The RAF is fully aware of the anxiety and confusion that a family suffers in such distressing times and therefore a VO will continue to be available after the Casualty Notification Officer has left. The VO will be there to advise the EC and next of kin on matters such as welfare support arrangements, financial affairs, and any other areas of concern.
Can I Visit a Casualty Overseas?
• The MOD operates a scheme known as DILFOR (Dangerously Ill - Forwarding of Relatives) which allows a visit at public expense to the bedside of a casualty who has been medical evacuated to a hospital away from the theatre of operations. It will not mean travel to an operational theatre. DILFOR is only authorised on the direct recommendation of the medical authority concerned and has to be approved by the JCCC once they are satisfied that certain criteria have been met.
• It must be stressed that the DILFOR scheme is intended solely for the benefit of the patient and there is no automatic entitlement for next-of-kin to visit the patient at public expense.
• The DILFOR scheme normally allows two people, the nominated EC and a companion, to travel at public expense (i.e. paid for by the RAF) to visit a Service person at the bedside upon medical recommendation. The JCCC is responsible for making all the travel arrangements and liaises very closely with the CNO or VO and the serving person’s/spouse's unit.
Following a death in service how will I pay the mortgage / rent / bills / turn to for help?
Should the worst happen and your loved one dies, the EC/NOK a VO will be appointed who will be able to offer you advice directly or put you in contact with experts in the MOD who can help with a range of issues such as:
• Pension Entitlement
• Matters relating to the Estate
• Benefits and aAlowances
What Arrangements are made for Repatriations?
• In the unfortunate cases where RAF personnel die overseas the MOD will repatriate the body to the UK and (where applicable) onwards at the families request to the service persons country of origin. The JCCC will make the necessary arrangements.
• Repatriations from most areas of the world are carried out using scheduled flights with little or no ceremony. For those repatriated from operational theatres military transport aircraft are used and a repatriation ceremony is held at the UK airhead, to which the immediate family will be invited.
What Arrangements are made for Funerals?
• All serving military personnel are entitled to a Service funeral, with as much or little ceremonial / military presence as the family require. The arrangements and costs involved, within certain limits, will be met by the MOD. If the family prefer to arrange the event themselves (a private funeral) a grant towards the cost is made by the MOD once the funeral has taken place.
• The RAF will take great care to ensure that funeral arrangements are made with as little distress to the family as possible and with sensitivity to the wishes of the relatives, and of course to any wish the serving person may have made in a will.
• The service person’s unit or the Visiting Officer will explain to the family what options are open to them and what entitlements they have.
• If family members are unable to agree on the funeral arrangements, in the absence of instructions left by the deceased, the RAF will liaise with the Executor of the will (or NOK if no will is found) over the arrangements.
Is it different if I am a non-British National?
• The RAF provides support regardless of nationality. Families of wounded personnel are provided with support by the RAF regardless of nationality, for example the Dangerously Ill Forwarding of Relatives (DILFOR) scheme enables eligible family members to be moved at public expense from anywhere in the world to the hospital bedside of a seriously injured service person.
• The Home Office have confirmed that non-British service person’s widows will not be removed automatically to their country of origin upon the death of a serving spouse. Immigration Instructions allow widows(ers) or orphans of non-British service personnel to apply for settlement in the UK irrespective of whether the deceased spouse was serving or had retired from the service. All applications are considered individually by the Home Office, which treats each case sympathetically.
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