Help for Heroes is calling on the Ministry of Defence to add chronic pain as a condition within the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) tariffs.

The AFCS is currently out of step with medical guidance as it does not recognise or compensate veterans who suffer from diagnosed chronic pain. The very purpose of the AFCS is to compensate for ‘pain and suffering’ experienced by those injured, and their families, because of their service. 

Yet when it comes to pain, the system completely fails to consider the lifelong and extensive impact of these conditions. We advocate that AFCS tariffs are amended to include chronic pain.

Why does it need to be added?

Chronic pain is recognised as a distinct disease of itself by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a pain that persists for more than three months. Chronic primary pain has no clear underlying condition or is out of proportion to any observable injury or disease. Chronic secondary pain is a symptom of an underlying condition. Chronic secondary pain and chronic primary pain can coexist.

By failing to have a tariff for chronic pain, the AFCS is at odds with how mental health injuries are compensated through the same system, where an ongoing mental disorder is seen as a distinct condition from a physical injury, to which it was initially associated. 

Additionally, current AFCS legislation omits higher or distinct compensation tariffs for secondary chronic pain where the pain is over and above the initial physical effects of injury or illness persist after they have fully healed or been resolved.

The moral case under the Armed Forces Covenant for this policy is highly compelling. The fact that claimants are specifically disbarred from making claims for chronic pain that can directly and specifically be attributed to a traumatic or accidental injury that occurred during service, (i.e. incurable, chronic neuropathic pain), is unjust and reduces the capacity of the veteran to live well and be economically active after service. 

Such pain never resolves and is often considerably more debilitating than the original injury for which a compensation payment has been awarded.

What we’re doing

  • In 2023, we included this ask as one of our top priorities for veterans at the next General Election.
  • We have also met with MPs and officials from numerous political parties in support of this policy.

Get involved in this campaign

To support this campaign, sign our petition calling for better mental health support for veterans


If you want more information on this campaign, please contact our Senior Public Affairs and Policy Manager Ted Arnold at