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Are You Eligible for ELC?

Are You Eligible for ELC?


20 Jan, 2017

Take a look at the eligibility rules to find out …

  • All Regular Service Personnel (SP) currently in service will be auto-enrolled on the ELC scheme, as will future SP on completion of their Phase 1 training.
  • The qualifying service required for both ELC lower-tier and FEHE awards increased from four to six years as of 1 April 2017. If you had already accumulated four years’ qualifying service before 1 April 2017, you keep your entitlement to use ELC lower-tier award and FEHE.
  • If you left service on or after 1 April 2016, you are entitled to post-service access to ELC and FEHE for five years.
  • If you left between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2016 inclusive, you will have until 31 March 2021 to use your ELC or FEHE (i.e. five years from March 2016). If you left before 1 April 2011, you will retain ten years of post-Service access.

In brief …

To take advantage of ELC support, you must:

  • have completed four years of full-time service or, since 1 April 2017, six years
  • have joined – or since April 2016 been automatically enrolled – on the scheme and completed four years’ or, from 1 April 2017, six years’ qualifying scheme membership
  • apply only for a first eligible FE/HE qualification at the level for which you are academically qualified to enter learning on leaving the Service
  • have left the Service or entered your qualifying resettlement phase on or after 17 July 2008
  • meet UK residency requirements to qualify for full state subsidy.

Special eligibility criteria apply if you were medically discharged from service before achieving the required number of years’ service. If this is the case, please seek advice from your unit education staffs.

In detail …

When can you start claiming ELC?
You can start claiming when you have accumulated the necessary qualifying years of service. For example, if you registered on the ELC scheme and have been serving since 1 April 2000, you will have been entitled to start claiming at the £1,000 level from 1 April 2004 and at the £2,000 level from 1 April 2008. As noted above, from 1 April 2017, the qualifying service for lower-tier awards increased from four to six years. However, if you accumulated four years’ qualifying service before 1 April 2017, you will still be able to claim your lower-tier awards.

What happens if you are made redundant?
Irrespective of whether or not you applied to be made redundant, you will cease to accrue service for ELC eligibility on the day you leave service. If you have accrued six or more years’ service since registering on the scheme by your last day of service, you will still be eligible to claim ELC at the lower tier (£1,000). If you have accrued eight or more years’ service since registering on the scheme by your last day of service, you will be eligible to claim ELC at the higher tier (£2,000), subject to meeting the other conditions associated with the scheme.

What about if you are medically discharged?
You are eligible to claim ELC at the lower (£1,000) or higher (£2,000) tier depending on your length of service on the date of discharge. Additionally, if you are medically discharged prior to completing six years of service, you may be eligible to make claims at the lower-tier rate if the injury or illness was caused or significantly worsened, wholly or predominantly by service, as defined by the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (JSP765).

What if you are no longer serving?
If you have already left the Service or are in your resettlement phase, you may be eligible to claim under the terms of the Publicly Funded Further Education/Higher Education (PF FE/HE) scheme. Take a look at the feature on page 12 to find out more – or, for full details and to check the detailed eligibility rules, visit

 Click here to view our ELC training providers

Find out more

Much more detailed information is available in JSP898, which can be downloaded from the ELCAS website at

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