Being in the military comes with a lot of noise exposure due to explosives in training and combat. Therefore, military deafness is common, especially among officers on the front line.
If your deafness was caused by service in the armed forces, you could be eligible for compensation. In addition, if your settlement claim is successful, you qualify for the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
This article provides information on the scheme and answers all your questions about military deafness claims.
What Is the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme?
Veterans UK runs this scheme on behalf of the Ministry of Defence. It is different from every other accident coverage you could receive. Under this scheme, all former and current members of the UK military force can submit a compensation claim.
This could be for any injury or illness caused by service-related activities. Also, reservists can file for compensation under this scheme.
If you had a condition before joining the service and you feel the military service made it worse, you can also make a claim. However, this is only possible after you leave the armed forces. If your claim qualifies for settlement, the amount you’ll get ill depends on your injury or illness’s severity. Veterans UK will also consider the effect of the injury/illness on your life.
Note that all payments from the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme are non-taxable. Therefore, paying national insurance contributions isn’t a requirement for receiving this payment. Additionally, your savings or income level isn’t a determinant of how much you receive for your claim.
The Law Concerning Military Defence
All military personnel serve under the Ministry of Defense. As an employer, the Ministry of Defence must comply with Health and Safety Regulations. In addition, it must follow the Control of Noise at work Regulations 2005.
There’s a piece of legislation that precedes this regulation that all employers must also follow: Noise at Work Regulations. The Ministry of Defence must follow these rules the same way businesses in the private sector do.
Therefore, members of the Military Forces are entitled to protection from varying noise levels. As long as the sound has the potential to cause damage to their hearing or the development of tinnitus, the Armed Forces should avoid it. Of course, there are several environments where noise levels will exceed the recommended thresholds.
In such a case, the Health and Safety legislation states that employers should take necessary steps to reduce the noise level. Additionally, they should provide hearing protection for employees to prevent deafness.
Who Qualifies for Compensation?
You can qualify for the compensation scheme if your deafness is a direct consequence of your duties in the military. However, it doesn’t need to be caused by combat or active service. For example, sometimes, you can sustain hearing loss during a training exercise. You can also contract an ear infection during service. If any of these cases resulted in deafness, you could still make military deafness claims.
Suppose your hearing loss resulted from service in the armed forces before 6th April 2005. Then, Veterans UK would consider your suit for the war pension claim .
Types of Military Deafness Claims
Before making military deafness claims, you should know the options available. There are different specialist military teams specialising in representing service personnel who sustained a hearing loss in the military. Some of the claims you can make to recover compensation includes:
- A delay in diagnosing Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL), resulting in extensive damage to hearing
- Incorrect medical grading of service personnel with NIHL
- Deafness caused by a negligent discharge of explosions and military weapons
- Exposure to extreme noise or short bursts of high-intensity and high-frequency training without ample instructions.
- Lack of or inadequate hearing protection like personal protective equipment
There are many complexities in the military-medical grading system. However, sometimes, a case of negligence can lead to a worsening of your hearing loss.
Whatever the claim you choose, you could receive high compensation depending on the severity of the hearing loss. Using the compensation calculator, you can determine how much you could receive.
Types of Compensation for Military Deafness Claims
Compensation for military deafness claims varies from a civil case. Therefore, the types of settlements available are limited. However, you can receive two kinds of AFCS awards if your claim is successful.
We’ll explain these compensation types below to provide more insight.
The lump-sum payment amount usually depends on the severity of your illness. For example, if you suffered acoustic trauma due to an explosive, you could receive a lump-sum compensation for the pain and suffering. This payment is entirely tax-free.
A lump-sum settlement is once and not a monthly payment. It usually ranges from £1,236 to £650,000. If you sustained other injuries beyond your hearing loss, the scheme would compensate you for each injury sustained during service. However, the maximum amount you can receive for military deafness claims is £650,000.
Guaranteed Income Payment (GIP)
Instead of a lump sum, you could receive a monthly guaranteed income payment. This type of settlement is only for the most severe injuries and illnesses. For example, you will receive this monthly payment if you can prove that your hearing loss is a severe illness.
This Guaranteed Income Payment is disbursed from the day after your service ends if you filed a claim while still in the military. However, if you commenced the military deafness suit after discharge, the payment begins from the date of the claim.
How To Make a Claim for the AFCS Award
If you were medically discharged from the armed forces, Veterans UK automatically considers the injury or illness that led to your discharge and the effect. Therefore, you won’t need to submit a claim form to receive compensation in such a case.
However, for every other circumstance, you will need to fill out the claims form and submit it to Veterans UK. If you’re confused about what the document requires, the Veterans UK staff will help you.
Veterans UK might ask you to provide additional information supporting your claim. For example, if you have the medical report from your medical officer, furnish it to speed up the claims process. The form also comes with a guidance note informing you about the required type of information.
How the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme Decides Payment for Claims
The amount you’ll receive entirely depends on the tariff level of your injury. There are 15 levels in the AFCS tariff. Level 1 is for most severe injuries, while level 15 is for the least severe injuries. Each tariff level also comes with a corresponding lump sum.
Regardless, if your injury falls under levels 1 – 15, you’ll receive a Guaranteed Income payment. All awards for hearing loss, including acoustic trauma or blast injury to the ear, usually includes compensation for associated tinnitus.
There is no separate payment for only tinnitus. However, you can get additional compensation for some injuries in some cases. An example is if a blast injury results in your eardrum being perforated.
If there’s supplementary compensation, Veterans UK will include it in the value of your claim. Using our compensation calculator, you can calculate your settlement if you’re receiving payment for more than one injury.
Time Limit for Filing Military Deafness Claims
There are time limits for when you can seek compensation for your military deafness. Whether you’re pursuing compensation through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme or the court, there is a strict seven-year time limit for making military deafness claims.
The time starts counting from:
- The date of the incident leading to the injury or illness
- The date on which an injury or illness not caused by service was was made worse by service
- The date you first sought medical advice from an illness
- The date you got discharged from the military
There are circumstances where you can request compensation after the seven-year period. One is if you were prevented from filing a claim because of an illness or the hearing loss happened after the limitation period passed.
Note that despite the limitation to when you can request settlement, it’s possible to review cases between 1987 and 2001 if you served in Northern Ireland.
Unfortunately, if you suffered military deafness before 15th May 1987, you cannot file a claim because of the Crown Proceeding Act. Therefore, you must file for compensation immediately after becoming aware of your hearing loss.
Calculate Your Compensation With Claims Bible
If you’re worried about your hearing due to exposure to noise or disease in the military, you might be eligible for monetary compensation. There are stringent time limits to making military deafness claims, so it’s best you get started immediately. However, before you begin the claims process, knowing how much you can receive is a great motivator.
Every claim is unique so it’s impossible to say how much your claim is worth. You can find out more about typical payouts on our Personal Injuries page or discover more by reading our personal injury blog articles.
For a personal estimation on how much your claim is worth please complete our enquiry form and one of our specialist legal partners will contact you.