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Abuse of CEA-Forces families

(87 Posts)
AJSH Thu 18-Feb-10 10:42:01

Am I the only person relieved that the MOD is tightening up on CEA entitlement? For those that don't know, Continuity of Education Allowance is paid to service personnel to enable, as the allowance suggests, continuity of education (boarding school) for their children who may otherwise have to move schools frequently due to postings.

luciemule Thu 18-Feb-10 11:27:16

Tightening up in what way?

AJSH Thu 18-Feb-10 12:20:44

Looking at last four addresses and CO has to sign to confirm eligibility status. If you have a job that will keep you in post more than 4 years personnel will theoretically lose eligibility for allowance.

Sidge Thu 18-Feb-10 12:24:52

It's a tricky one - just because you haven't been posted away doesn't mean you won't be for the next draft. There is always that huge uncertainty and potential for upheaval, but then that's life in the Forces. It's nice to know that your (older) child's education can be stabilised.

hf128219 Thu 18-Feb-10 12:33:25

Blimey - a 4 year posting? That's something I haven't come across in the Army. We've moved 15 times.

AJSH Thu 18-Feb-10 12:35:29

Couldn't agree more Sidge, however am aware of some Army/Naval families living in own houses for years and sending their kids to local schools thus getting MOD to fund private education, all the while being able to turn up to all childrens events. CEA costs to the MOD are enormous, and in a time when the military are having to cost cut, I find mis-use of this allowance abhorant.

Sidge Thu 18-Feb-10 12:36:02

Same here hf - we're Navy but DHs longest draft has been 2.5 yrs.

AJSH Thu 18-Feb-10 12:38:36

hf128219-Some skilled service personnel, for example aircrew types, tend to stay put, so there is every chance you can stay in the same place. Obviously this doesn't apply to all. I too have not lived anywhere for more than two years.

hf128219 Thu 18-Feb-10 12:42:01

I know of someone who is having to pay back many thousands of CEA to the MOD for abuse of CEA.

AJSH Thu 18-Feb-10 12:44:07

Really? I am sure there will be more to follow.

hf128219 Thu 18-Feb-10 12:45:21

Have you never wondered why some senior officers have resigned?

AJSH Thu 18-Feb-10 12:47:45

Rightly so though. I know it's harsh, but it is stealing if you are not eligible

luciemule Thu 18-Feb-10 13:05:51

As long as you're prepared to move on posting (whether after 2 yrs, 6 yrs, whatever), then you should be entitiled surely. Say if your DC went to BS at 8 and you stayed in post for the next 4 yrs, if you were posted in yr 5, it'd still be very disruptive for your DC to be moved again at age 12.
If you live in your own house though and you're posted and say, for example, your widfe stays in your own house near the private school whilst you commute, then that's not on.

notabully Thu 18-Feb-10 13:11:13

Does that mean that if you have been moving around a lot but now you're stable for a few years that you would have to pull your child out of school (in the middle of GCSEs perhaps)? That can't be acceptable.

goinggetstough Thu 18-Feb-10 13:14:04

Yes I am pleased to see that they seem to be tightening up the system. However it will be interesting to see what happens in practice. Four addresses could still cover the whole of prep school or senior school or even both. So they could receive CEA legally but not exactly in the spirit of the allowance. I did hear of a child who was refused CEA for a move to a new sixth form as the father had just started a posting and would be there for at least 2 years and therefore there was no need to board....So they are trying!!!
I think that those who are posted abroad should receive extra as it costs more than if you live near the school. Obviously this won't happen as it costs too much, but would add and incentive to move abroad.

AJSH Thu 18-Feb-10 13:28:53

There are enough postings for most service personnel to ensure you don't stay in the same place. If someone selects to stay for a long posting in my opinion they do not really need boarding school. Remember that at exam times eg GCSE and A level, you are entitled to retain SFA until the academic period is over.

AJSH Thu 18-Feb-10 13:50:03

Luciemule, I think my views are quite hard regarding CEA. If I knew that I was definately staying in the same area for four years I would not send my daughters to boarding school. Four years is a long time in a childs life and I do not consider moving every four years as being particularly traumatic. In my experience service children are pretty resiliant, that said to move schools every one to two years is too much, my children, along with thousands of other service kids have been to far too many schools in their short years.

Lexilicious Thu 18-Feb-10 13:59:26

I know of an officer (posted all over the place) whose two children were at boarding school paid for by CEA. However he was divorced and his CSA maintenance demand did not take into account that the children were full time (incl most weekends) boarders. His wife lived near to the school and could have the kids every weekend if she'd wanted. But she didn't. So through his CEA "he" paid for their education and feeding and clothing, and the CSA money paid to fund his ex wife's lifestyle. THAT'S what I call abusing the system. She would have raised merry hell if he had withdrawn his CEA application, and although he was conscious it wasn't fair, he wouldn't do it because he cared about his kids education.

(yes clearly I am repeating a somewhat biased story!)

luciemule Thu 18-Feb-10 13:59:51

My own children (service children) have moved every one or two years throughout their short lives. I wouldn't send them to board but I really thik the army wastes far more money on other less important things, such as single accommodation at Abbey Wood rather than building a Mess or allowing civil servants/MOD personnel to spend a couple of hundred quid on a return first class train ticket to London for an hour's meeting!
But yes, I agree, 4 years isn't a really short time and probably doesn't require BS.

AJSH Thu 18-Feb-10 14:15:01

Oh don't get me wrong luciemule. I am in the MOD and see wastage all the time. Don't even get me started on the cleaning of command SFA's when there is no entertainment budget at the moment. CO's houses are seen as an extension of the mess and have a 16 hr minimum cleaning contract, for what I may ask. If there is no official entertaining to do why is the public paying to have the CO's ironing done and children's bedrooms cleaned....anyway the kids are probably at boarding school so their rooms don't need cleaning! Oh dear. . .fear I am hormonal today!

luciemule Thu 18-Feb-10 14:19:44

well - I told DH he had to have 2nd class train tickets from now on. He agreed and put it to everyone at a meeting. Think the civil servants were up in arms!!!

hf128219 Thu 18-Feb-10 14:25:53

We still have to bleeding entertain - and pay for it ourselves.

AJSH Thu 18-Feb-10 14:27:48

I think I have read that most first class travel has been withdrawn now for an array of military/MOD staff. About time. Cost cutting hitting all areas, and so it should.

AJSH Thu 18-Feb-10 14:30:10

hf- One of our neighbours has stopped all except mess activities.

hf128219 Thu 18-Feb-10 14:32:07

Because they can't afford it or because they don't think they should have to?

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