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Compassionate leave and travel

The MOD's publicly funded Compassionate Leave & Travel scheme is UK-centric. If there is a requirement for a soldier serving overseas to return to the UK for compassionate reasons, for example if a close relative becomes very seriously ill (normally life threatening) or dies, then it is the role of the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC) to investigate the circumstances and make a recommendation as to whether compassionate travel should be granted.

For those whose relatives are overseas it would be prudent to ensure a contingency plan (for instance money set aside) is in place in case family members are required to return unexpectedly to their country of origin. 

If additional assistance is required, a unit welfare officer will be able to explain what is available from public funds and what other forms of support are available.

When a soldier is on operational duties overseas, any requests for them to be allowed home on compassionate grounds must go through the JCCC rather than the Unit Welfare Office.

Should circumstances arise which make it necessary for you to apply for a soldier to be returned to the UK from overseas on compassionate grounds you should telephone the JCCC on 01452 519951. 

This telephone number is manned 24hrs a day every day of the year. Contacting a soldier first may lead to delays.

When you telephone the JCCC you will be asked to provide the following information of the service person:

  • Number, Rank and Name
  • Unit and Address of Soldier
  • Name and Telephone Number of Doctor or Hospital (if applicable) who are treating the subject of the compassionate request
  • The details of the person very seriously ill (normally life threatening) or deceased

Compassionate leave may also normally be granted in the following circumstances:

  • When the spouse, entitled partner or child of a serving person is very seriously ill or has died. In the case of death, every endeavour will be made to enable the serving person to arrive in time for the funeral.
  • When a serving person's presence is the only means of preventing the break up of his or her immediate family. Under these circumstances, a great deal of care is taken and specialist assistance is sought in assessing the need. For example, there may well be cases where the break up of the family is inevitable, has been an issue for some considerable time, or where the return of the individual to the family home will not contribute to the resolution of the problem.
  • Where the care of young children can only be provided satisfactorily by the serving person's presence.
  • When the death of a close relative is imminent. In these cases, every endeavour is to be made to enable the serving person to arrive before the death.
  • When a close relative is very seriously ill, provided that the serving person will be of practical help and that there is no other appropriate relative who is available to help.

The scope of JCCC support is normally limited to close relatives and either the JCCC or Unit Welfare Officer can explain who these are.

Dangerously ill - Forwarding of Relatives (DILFOR)

The JCCC will authorise and, in the case of travel overseas, make arrangements for DILFOR travel. This allows two people to be moved at public expense from anywhere in the world to visit a service person at their bedside if they are listed as Very Seriously Ill (VSI), Seriously Ill (SI), Incapacitating Illness/Injury (III) or Unlisted (UL) and the medical authorities have recommended such a visit.

Temporary postings to the United Kingdom for compassionate reasons

Sometimes compassionate leave is not long enough to resolve a domestic or welfare problem. If temporary posting in the United Kingdom is a solution, this will be organised by the soldier's Commanding Officer in conjunction with the relevant Manning and Career Management Division in Glasgow.