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Pay and Pensions


All Service Personnel are eligible for core pay and X-Factor, with Other Ranks also getting additional Trade Supplement Pay. Some Service Personnel also get further pay through their specific job or role, in the form of Recruitment and Retention Payments and/or Financial Incentives.

Core Pay

Core pay is linked to rank, with a set number of increments at each rank accessed by personnel on an annual basis, on a date linked to promotion to that rank. On promotion personnel will receive a minimum 2% increase in pay.

Trade Supplement Pay

is additional pay added to the core pay for trade groups to reflect their specific trade: Knowledge, Skill, Experience; complexity of job; decision-making; supervision; level of communication; and working conditions.

The trades are measured through a detailed process of Job Evaluation which is conducted on a 5 yearly rolling basis.


X-Factor is ‘a pensionable addition to basic pay that recognises the special conditions of service experienced by members of the Armed Forces compared with civilian employment. Current rates are 14½% for Regulars, FTRS (FC), and mobilised Volunteer Reserves, 5% for Part Time Volunteer Reserves and FTRS (LC), and 0% for FTRS (HC) pre-career pay rates.

Bespoke Pay Spines

Bespoke Pay Spines are an alternative to Core Pay and Trade Supplement Pay for groups of personnel for whom the Core Pay model does not work, and who require a longer-term alternative remunerative structure. Bespoke Pay Spines are used for specialists such as Medical & Dental Officers, Officers Commissioned from the Ranks, Chaplains, Special Forces, Pilots, MPGS, and Senior Officers. 

Recruitment and Retention Payments

Recruitment and Retention Payments (RRPs). RRPs are daily payments to encourage personnel to join and/or remain in Service within specific trades. RRPs are taxable daily payments with no associated Return of Service.                 

Financial Incentives

Financial Incentives are used in areas where Defence is experiencing recruitment or retention challenges.  These additional incentive payments are not part of Basic Pay, and non-pensionable, and often are linked to a Return of Service. 


Armed Forces Pension Schemes 75, 05 and 15

The current Armed Forces Pension Scheme is known as AFPS 15.

Pension entitlement starts accumulating from the first day of paid service.

The MOD adds an amount equal to 1/47th of an individual’s annual pensionable earnings for that year, to their individual ‘pension pot’, which is inflated by Average Weekly Earnings index.

An individual will be eligible to receive pension benefits provided they have completed at least 2 years.

If an individual has at least 2 years qualifying service and they serve until age 60 they will be entitled to claim their pension immediately.  A Deferred Pension is paid if an individual leaves before age 60, from State Pension Age. 

Some Service Personnel will have legacy rights to previous Armed Forces Pension Schemes (AFPS 75 and AFPS 05); these schemes have some details which are different to the AFPS 15.  These are described in the guides at the following links:

AFPS 75 Explained

AFPS 05 Explained


Early Departure Payment

Early Departure Payment (EDP) is an additional benefit which is entirely separate to the pension – for Regular personnel who have served for 20 years or more and reach at least age 40.

Resettlement Grant

The Resettlement Grant is paid to Personnel who leave after 12 or more years of service (not those who receive immediate pension or EDP) to help them adjust to civilian life.

Ill-Health Benefits

Ill-Health Benefits are available for those whose career is cut short by illness or injury provided they have completed at least 2 years’ qualifying service.

Death in Service Benefits

Death-in-Service benefits are available to eligible dependants, who will receive benefits that may consist of a tax-free lump sum (in some circumstances) and a taxable pension for life.

Regular to Reserve Pension Transition

Some Service Personnel when they leave the Regular Forces, join the Army Reserve.  Those receiving an immediate pension or are in receipt of an EDP will be subject to rules (detailing Pension Abatement) which are explained in the AFPS Reemployment Booklet