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Special Needs

If you or someone in your family has additional needs then make sure you take full advantage of the support that is available to you. Equally, as frustrating and upsetting as it can be, it is just as important to understand what restrictions there may be ahead of you in your Forces life together.

Facilities exist within the Service to assist personnel, and their dependants, who have special needs including disabilities. However, there is often a lack of knowledge of both current policy and the range and type of assistance that is available.

The term 'special needs' is used within the Armed Forces to include all Service personnel and dependants who have special requirements in the educational, medical and or social support fields, or as defined in legislation.

While you are living in the UK, all the Service personnel and their dependants are entitled to the same provision of services by local authorities (LA) as any UK citizen.


In the main, your needs will be assessed and supported by your local authority. However, if you have additional considerations as a result of their service in the Armed Forces then assistance should be given wherever possible.


Overseas, things get a lot more complicated! If you are planning to apply or think you may get posted overseas then double check what support is available to you and if the additional needs that you have as a family can be catered for. 


­SSAFA Forces Help

SSAFA clearly knows that life in the Armed Forces is challenging enough without the additional stress of having to cope unsupported with the demands of additional needs or disabilities.  They provide backing, encouragement and a ready source of advice for parents of children with additional needs or disabilities; serving personnel with a disability and their partners and carers.



Because it is not possible to meet the full range of special needs in Service Children’s Education (SCE) schools, it is particularly important that information about a child’s special needs is made known to SCE before accepting an overseas post in Germany, Cyprus or other areas served by SCE schools.


Sadly, there will be some restrictions regarding the schooling that is available at some overseas locations.



Each Housing Information Centre (HIC)should have at least one trained person who is available to help you with any additional housing requirements you have. Get in touch with them as soon as you can and keep all information from your previous GP and care staff to speed up the process.


If you are unsure about anything to do with housing and educational support and feel like you need some help then just ask ask and ask again.


For further information, get a copy of the Joint Service Publication (JSP) 820 which details the MOD Disability and Additional Needs Policy.  Further advice is also available from the local unit personnel staff.



SSAFA Forces Help Carer Support Scheme in Germany

If you are living in Germany and have at least one member of the family with an additional need and/or disability or if you would like someone to be able to offer your family low-level practical help, respite care and assistance then the SSAFA Carer Support Scheme (CSS) can help you.


CSS Volunteers are either Serving personnel or dependants of Service personnel, who have given their time to help on a SSAFA Forces Help ‘Children with Additional Needs and Disability Holiday’. CSS Volunteers undergo training before the holidays as well as a further mandatory training session including: Basic paediatric first aid, Additional needs and disability awareness, Confidentiality of information, Communication skills, Safety awareness, Dealing with different behaviours, Stress and its impact on families, and Safeguarding children.


The scheme can be accessed by either completing a referral form yourself, available from the Volunteer Development Manager who works at the Volunteer Projects Office in JHQ, or by speaking with your Health Visitor, Social Worker, GP or Army Welfare Service worker.

For further information, please contact:


Volunteers Projects Office, SSAFA Forces Help WE


Tel: Civ: 02161 472 3392,

Fax: Civ: 02161 472 2260



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