When it comes to your resettlement, a number of organisations exist to provide support and guidance, says Hannah...
Individual Resettlement Training Cost (IRTC)
The IRTC grant exists to help towards the cost of resettlement training through the CTP or external training providers.
The IRTC grant may not be used for Civilian Work Attachments but may be used in concert with a Learning Credit - Standard (SLC) or Enhanced (ELC) - for any course that is completed prior to the Service Leaver leaving the Service and subject to the relevant criteria of either scheme. (See JSP 898 Part 4.)
IRTC: Your questions answered
Q: Can I use my Individual Resettlement Training Costs (IRTC) and ELC to fund the same course of study leading to achievement of a nationally recognised qualification?
A: Yes. For courses that started on or after 1 September 2008, it is permissible to use IRTC with ELC or SLC (but not both) to fund a learning activity during resettlement if, in all instances, the criteria of the relevant learning credit schemes are met. For example, IRTC may be used with ELC but only during resettlement and to fund a nationally recognised higher-level qualification (level 3 or above) delivered by an approved ELC learning provider.
Q: Do I still need to make a 20% minimum personal contribution towards the cost of the qualification course during resettlement if I am using IRTC with SLC/ELC to fund the same activity?
A: In the first instance yes, because you are required to submit a claim in accordance with the current ELC regulations. You may subsequently submit an IRTC claim in accordance with resettlement policy to claim your IRTC grant in full or part to help pay towards the cost of the higher-level learning. However, under these circumstances only, it is permissible for Service leavers to use IRTC to pay, in part or in full, the mandated 20% personal contribution element.
Q: This doesn’t seem fair. Why only under these circumstances during resettlement am I allowed not to make a personal contribution?
A: Demonstrating a commitment to learning and personal development is a fundamental principle of the Armed Forces learning credit schemes. For the most part, the use of learning credits is aimed at developing people in-Service to the benefit of both the Forces and the individual. For Service leavers undergoing resettlement, it makes sense to use all the available funding to help pay the costs of undertaking qualifications and, where feasible, rationalise learning credit regulations with the resettlement rules. In addition, for the majority of cases and especially for more expensive higher-level learning courses, the principle of personal contribution is preserved as most claimants will make some element of contribution that often exceeds the 20% minimum.
Q: Since I can’t use any unused ELC later in the financial year for a different higher course, can I carry forward any outstanding IRTC grant balance?
A: In accordance with resettlement regulations, you can use any balance of IRTC to pay for another resettlement activity. This is because IRTC is a grant up to a maximum figure, so each individual is guaranteed an allowance to a maximum level to use as they choose until it is spent. ELC and SLC are not entitlements in that sense. The Armed Forces, rather, make a contribution to the actual cost of learning up to a maximum limit, as described in the scheme regulations. For ELC this is based on a ‘one hit’ claim per year, although for SLC multiple claims can be submitted in each financial year up to the maximum credit value, which is currently £175.
Q: How do I know whether I should use ELC or SLC plus IRTC in resettlement to pay towards the cost of learning?
A: It depends on the cost of the learning activity and whether it meets the criteria of the various schemes. It makes sense to optimise the funding available, but talk this through with your resettlement adviser if you are unsure about the best route. In all cases it makes sense to maximise the use of learning credits up to the full value for which a claimant is eligible, before considering using IRTC to pay towards the same course. It doesn’t make sense to waste any of the value of learning credits.
Q: What information is available to ensure that I use the correct combinations of IRTC and learning credits to maximise their value during resettlement?
A: Service resettlement advisers (SRA) have access to the latest advice and guidance, and should be consulted in the first instance. SRA have been given an IRTC/learning credit calculator that may also help to determine the net worth of the funding options and allow Service leavers to make an informed decision on which, and in what order, IRTC and learning credits can be used most efficiently.
Q: How do I submit a claim to use IRTC with ELC?
A: Having decided if it is to your advantage to use IRTC with ELC or SLC, you follow exactly the same process as before. For ELC the form has been slightly amended and you are asked to tick a box indicating whether you will also claim IRTC for the same course of study. Otherwise you submit a claim as you do now, having calculated your 20% minimum personal contribution. As for IRTC, you can decide whether to claim up to 80% in advance of your grant or wait until after the course has completed to claim back your IRTC entitlement, which may contribute in full or part towards refunding your 20% personal contribution. You will have to ask the provider to provide you with a clear invoice detailing the separate course fee elements.
Q: Can I only use SLC with IRTC to pay for examination fees?
A: No, you can use it towards any recognised national qualification or for any of the other permitted uses laid out in JSP 898 – Defence Direction and Guidance for Training and Education.
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