LifeChange benefit Terms and Conditions

Every life stage brings its own rewards and challenges, so our LifeChange benefit ensures that you’re getting that little extra help you need to make things easier. Whether you or your family are recovering from a loss or you’ve had an accidental injury, or you are celebrating a milestone birthday, we can help.

Your LifeChange account is held by Community, builds up over time and is available at life changing moments to help you and your family.

Working members accrue £200 each year for the first 6 years of membership, and £20 each year thereafter. (This equals a total of £1,380 after the first 15 years, and £1,580 after 25 years).

As a retired member this benefit continues to accrue at £20 each year and is still available as long as you continue your membership. If you leave the union, the benefit is lost.

If you become unemployed during your first 6 years of membership, you will continue to accrue £20 each year whilst you are not working. As soon as you let us know about any new employment, you can continue to accrue this benefit at the normal rate.

If you join as a non-working member, you will be entitled to a £200 flat rate after one year, and the regular rate will commence after you’ve found employment and informed us of this.

You can access the accrued amount under your LifeChange benefit in a number of ways as follows.

Accident-related injury benefit

There are two tiers to this part of the benefit.

Tier 1 – If you suffer an accident-related injury which prevents you from continuing with your current employment, you can access the full amount of your accrued benefit.

Tier 2 – If you suffer a serious accident-related injury (as defined under the prescribed list of injuries below), which prevents you from continuing with your current employment, you can access an amount equivalent to five times your accrued benefit.

The prescribed list of serious injuries is as follows:

• Loss of, or permanent loss of use of, a limb;
• Loss of, or permanent loss of use of, an entire thumb, finger or toe;
• Permanent total loss of use of a shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, ankle or wrist;
• Permanent total loss of sight in one or both eyes;
• Permanent total loss of hearing in both ears;
• Permanent total loss of speech.

In support of your application, you will need to submit evidence of your loss of employment, together with medical evidence in the form of a letter from your General Practitioner or treating Consultant, outlining your accident-related injury. (If you are pursuing a personal injury claim arising out the accident, relevant medical evidence may be available to you through the lawyer acting in your case.)

The union reserves the right to seek any additional supporting evidence we may need and to postpone the payment of benefits until such time that we have enough evidence to determine what level of benefit is payable.

If you receive a payment under this benefit, your LifeChange benefit accrual amount will reduce to a nil balance, but will continue to accrue at the appropriate rate thereafter.

The effective start date of the union’s LifeChange benefit is 1st January 2019. In relation to the accident-related injury element of the benefit, applications will only be considered where the index accident and the loss of employment occur after the effective start date.

65th Birthday Bonus

When you reach the age of 65, you can access 10% of your accrued benefit.

This is optional, and if you choose not to access the benefit when you reach the age of 65, your accrual amount will remain unaffected and can be used for other purposes at a later date.

Whether you choose to access this part of the benefit or not, your benefit will continue to accrue beyond the age of 65 at the normal rate.

If you choose to access this part of the benefit when you reach the age of 65, you must submit your application to the union within 12 months of your 65th birthday. If you don’t submit your application within this time, you won’t be able to do so later, and your benefit will simply remain where it is, unaffected, and will continue to accrue.

The effective start date of the union’s LifeChange benefit is 1st January 2019.

In relation to the age-related element of the benefit, applications will only be considered where the relevant age is reached after the effective start date.

Bereavement benefit

If the worst happens and your spouse/partner or child under the age of 18 passes away, you can access 50% of the amount accrued under your LifeChange benefit, to assist you with the funeral costs.

You will need to submit evidence in support of your application.

If you are claiming following the death of your spouse, you will need to provide a copy of the deceased’s death certificate and a copy of your marriage certificate.

If you are claiming following the death of your partner, you will need to provide a copy of the deceased’s death certificate and evidence of financial dependence, for example a joint bank account statement or a utility bill.

If you are claiming following the death of a child under the age of 18, you will need to provide a copy of the deceased’s birth certificate and death certificate.

The effective start date of the union’s LifeChange benefit is 1st January 2019.

In relation to the death of a spouse/partner/child element of the benefit, applications will only be considered where the relevant date of death occurs after the effective start date.

Your next of kin will be able to access the amount accrued under your LifeChange benefit after you die, to assist them at that very difficult time.

The amount of benefit available will depend on how much you have accrued during your membership with the union, and on what payments you have received, if any, during your lifetime, in regard to the other aspects of the benefit, listed above.

Your next of kin will need to submit evidence in support of their application, in the form of a death certificate.

The effective start date of the union’s LifeChange benefit is 1st January 2019.

In relation to death of a member, where the date of death precedes the effective start date, the member’s entitlement to the union’s former Bereavement Benefit will remain unaffected.