The FAM pilot at RAF Wittering is now live
The Future Accommodation Model (FAM) pilot is now live at RAF Wittering (1 June). Find out more about the benefits and the answers to your most commonly asked questions. Really useful if you are currently Serving at RAF Wittering, or if your next posting will be based there.
FAM provides financial support to Service personnel who want to rent or buy a home, giving more choice over where and with whom you live. The choice to live at RAF Wittering in Single Living Accommodation (SLA) or Service Families Accommodation (SFA) continues.
Your questions so far
Q: I’ve heard about FAM, but I don’t know whether we are ‘in’ or ‘out’ of the pilot?
A: To be part of the FAM pilot your Service person must have four years’ service, at least 12 months left on their posting to RAF Wittering and be part of an eligible Unit Identification Number (UIN). If you were already living at RAF Wittering when the pilot started on 1 June 2020 you can opt in if to the pilot if you wish, but you don’t have to change your accommodation if you don’t want to. Anyone joining assigned to RAF Wittering from 1 June onwards will join the pilot and choose whether to live in SLA, SFA, private rented accommodation or buy your own home.
Q: What impact is COVID-19 having on the pilot?
A: This is an unprecedented time for all of us and the FAM team is closely following government guidance and adhering to its advice. This means the FAM Cell teams are now all working from home. Although the FAM pilot will operate as usual anyone requesting the Private Rental Scheme (PRS) will have their Accommodation Preference Form (APF) processed, but have to abide by the Government’s restrictions on moving home. This means that they will be able to access their payments and move into a rental property only when the Government tells us all it is safe to do so again.
Q. If a couple are both serving then will they each get an allowance?
A: If you are both assigned to RAF Wittering then one person in your couple must be nominated as the ‘primary SP’. If you decide to rent that person will receive the FAM payments. That person will also pay the expected Personal Contribution, which is the part you pay towards a rental property. You can, of course, split this payment between you making it more affordable.
If one person in your couple is assigned to a site that isn’t RAF Wittering, but you still want to live together, then they may be entitled to either SLA in the working week at the other site, or an additional payment. This will depend on the location they are assigned to so talk to the RAF Wittering FAM Cell who will help you find out more.
Q. If we buy a property near RAF Wittering what support is there for core payments and legal fees?
If you are eligible for FAM and choose to buy a property after 1 June 2020 you can get a core payment of £125 per month to put towards your mortgage. If you are a first time buyer you could also be eligible for Refund of Legal Expenses (New Buyer) of up to £1,500, and you can also use Forces Help to Buy.
Q: 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 own a home over 50 miles from RAF Wittering and live in SLA during the working week 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 SLA in the working week and/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 so you won’t get a FAM payment, but you can continue to claim Home to Duty (HTD).
Q: 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. This applies whether they’re your biological children or step children. You will need to register them as FAM dependants 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, search online for Discover My Benefits and use the FAM calculator:
Q. If I already rent privately will I be eligible for FAM?
A. Yes. If you rent within 50 miles of RAF Wittering and meet the eligibility criteria you can apply for FAM after 1 June 2020. To see what rental payment you could receive use the Discover My Benefits tool (above).
Speaking about the questions that her team are most frequently being asked Danielle Rigby, FAM Implementation Lead at RAF Wittering, says:
“We’ve had a really positive response. This pilot doesn’t look to take anything away from you, but rather increases your options. Giving greater flexibility and choice in where and with who you live. Whether this means moving up to 50 miles away to be closer to extended family members or getting out of the block and renting locally with mates it really is all about your choice.”
To find out more visit the FAM pages on the RAF Families Federation website. There are also lots of other resources:
- GOV.UK has lots more information on FAM
- Forces Help to Buy
- Access the Discover My Benefits tool to see what payments and allowances you could get.
If you have any further questions, or concerns regarding FAM, please feed them in to the FAM Cell at [email protected]
This article will also be shown in the Summer edition of Envoy magazine, due out on 1 June to SFA doorsteps as well as private subscribers. You can sign up to Envoy online free of charge.