Your FAQs on FAM

Service personnel tapping on a calculator

Below we have answered the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the Future Accommodation Model (FAM). Remember, if you have a question that isn’t answered here – or would like to talk to someone about your options – you can get in touch with the FAM Cell by emailing [email protected]

Danielle Rigby who leads the FAM Cell says:

“As the FAM Cell we’re here to offer support. We’re always open to answering questions, whether they’re about paperwork or the allowances available to cover moves into the private rental sector, plus everything else in between. Our aim is to be part of the community here, as well as a resource for RAF personnel and their families who are moving Wittering and want to settle in a home that works for them.”

If you would like more information on how FAM works we’ve summarised it on the FAM page.

Eligibility

I’ve heard about FAM, but I don’t know whether we are ‘in’ or ‘out’ of the pilot?

To be part of FAM Service personnel must be:

  • currently serving at RAF Wittering (or receive an assignment order to the base during the time the pilot is live)
  • they must also be in regular or Full Time Reserve Service
  • have four years or more of service
  • and 12 months or more left on their posting at the pilot site

You can be married or in a civil partnership, or in a long term established relationship or single. You can find out more about eligibility on the GOV.UK website.

We are based in RAF Brize Norton is this relevant to our family?

The FAM pilot is being rolled out at three places: RAF Wittering, HMNB Clyde and Aldershot Garrison. It would apply if you were moving to RAF Wittering and are eligible. In that case you would then need to make a decision about which accommodation option you would like: SLA; SFA; private rental sector; maintaining your own home (which includes purchasing a property).

If a couple are both serving then will they each get an allowance?

FAM supports dual-serving couples in two different ways:

  • If both partners are assigned to a FAM site, then one person must be nominated as the ‘primary SP’. If renting a property the primary SP will receive the FAM payments (the Core Payment and the Geographic Payment). They also pay the expected Personal Contribution (this is the part you pay towards a rental property), so you can choose to split this payment between you (if you wish!)
  • If one person is assigned to a non-FAM site but you still want to live together as a couple, then they may be entitled to either SLA in the working week at the other site, or an additional Core Payment, depending on the location they are assigned to – talk to your FAM Cell to find out more.

Your accommodation choices under FAM

So, with FAM we can choose to go into private rent property – will we get help with the monthly payments?

Yes, if you are eligible under FAM you can still select to be housed in Service Family Accommodation or Single Living Accommodation, but you can now choose to live in private rental accommodation, or to buy your own home – all with financial support from the MOD. You can find out how much you could get on the FAM pages of the Discover My Benefits tool.

If we choose to live in a rented house what’s the story with council tax? Is this already accounted for in the allowance given?

At the moment, Service personnel get Council Tax deducted direct from their pay in something called CILOCT (Contribution in Lieu of Council Tax). If you choose to rent, that money won’t be deducted from their pay, instead you will need to pay the Council in your area directly. The same is also true for water rates. If you choose to rent you will be responsible for paying bills directly from your bank account.

Are we getting the core payment for FAM when we live in SFA?

If you choose to live in Service Family Accommodation or Single Living Accommodation under the FAM pilot you will be charged as per existing policies – so there will be no changes for you.

We want to stay in SFA as we’ve just got the kids settled – do we have to move again?

If you already live at RAF Wittering and don’t want to change your accommodation, you don’t have to – you won’t have to do anything differently or fill in any paperwork. But, if you and your family would like to live in rented accommodation or buy your own home FAM offers financial support to do this now too.

I’m recently divorced and have shared custody of children – could you tell me how FAM could support this please?

If your children are in full time education and you have custody of them for more than 80 nights of the year then they count as dependants under FAM, whether they’re your biological children or step children. You will need to register them on JPA first, before submitting your FAM choice. This means that the size of property you’re eligible for (whether SFA or privately rented) is larger to meet this need. To find out what you could get, visit Discover My Benefits.

If we buy a property near RAF Wittering what support is there for core payments and legal fees etc?

If you are eligible for FAM and choose to buy a property after 1 June 2020, when the pilot goes live for all personnel, you can get a core payment i.e. a fixed sum monthly payment to put towards your mortgage. If you are a first time buyer you could also be eligible for Refund of Legal Expenses (New Buyer), and you can also use Forces Help to Buy. More information is in the ‘Home Ownership’ section on the GOV.UK website.

We are interested in FAM but we already own my own home. Could you tell me how FAM supports people who already own a home?

If you already own a home over 50 miles from RAF Wittering then you can claim the FAM Core Payment of £125 a month, plus Get You Home. FAM replaces the SLA waiver with the Core Payment, so you can put this payment towards the cost of your SLA in the working week or your mortgage. If you live within 50 miles of the base then it is reasonable that you live in this home and commute during your posting (but you can continue to claim HTD).

Next steps

Where can I find out more information?

You can find out more on our website and hear from the first Service people and their families to join the FAM pilot up at HMNB Clyde.

The GOV.UK page also has lots more information on FAM.

Access the Discover My Benefits tool to see what payments and allowances you could get.

Plus, you can talk to your FAM Cell, reaching them via [email protected].

What do we do next on JPA?

If you have questions about filling out the Accommodation Preference Form on JPA you can talk to the RAF Wittering FAM Cell, Danielle and the team will be happy to help. Contact them via [email protected].