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Welfare benefits and Shared Lives

Donna Bounden Funding and benefits manager Shared Lives South West

Outline of workshop

Discuss the current welfare benefit topics of interest or concern to Shared Lives schemes.

Current topics
1. Can carers claim benefits whilst providing shared lives services? 2. Welfare benefit reform bill future changes to benefits 3. Housing benefit v Local Housing Allowance 4. Appointee ship 5. Carer credits for National Insurance contributions 6. Shared lives and Council tax discounts

1. Carers claiming benefits


Can carers claim benefits for themselves and for other family members. (this excludes the service users normally) whilst providing shared lives services this may include: Housing benefit /Local Housing Allowance Carers allowance Employment Support Allowance/Incapacity benefit Income Support Working Tax Credits Pension Credit

1. Carers claiming benefits


NAAPS has sought clarification from the DWP in these areas but no clear guidance has emerged to answer all the queries in depth. Not sure whether these issues will be resolved in the short term, but some may come clearer in the future under the Welfare Reform Bill? Difficult as benefits consider personal circumstances, however it maybe possible clearer definitions.

2. Welfare Benefit Reform Bill


On 16 February 2011 the Welfare Bill was introduced to Parliament. The bill introduces a wide range of reforms to make the benefits and tax credits system fairer and simpler by:
creating the right incentives to get more people into work by ensuring work always pays protecting the most vulnerable in our society delivering fairness to those claiming benefit and to the tax payer.

2. Welfare Benefit Reform Bill


The main elements of the Bill are: the introduction of Universal Credit to provide a single streamlined benefit that will ensure work always pays a stronger approach to reducing fraud and error with tougher penalties for the most serious offences a new claimant commitment showing clearly what is expected of claimants while giving protection to those with the greatest needs reforms to Disability Living Allowance, through the introduction of the Personal Independence Payment to meet the needs of disabled people today (commencing 2012/13) creating a fairer approach to Housing Benefit to bring stability to the market and improve incentives to work (Already in progress) driving out abuse of the Social Fund system by giving greater power to local authorities reforming Employment and Support Allowance to make the benefit fairer and to ensure that help goes to those with the greatest need (already in progress) changes to support a new system of child support which puts the interest of the child first

2. Welfare Benefit Reform Bill


Areas of concern: Revision of Disability Living Allowance Migration of majority of claimants onto Employment Support Allowance Reduction of housing benefit payments Getting service users into work

3. Housing benefit v Local Housing Allowance


Local housing allowance effectively replaced Housing benefit from April 2008. Local housing allowance only contributes to accommodation costs. Housing benefit covers both accommodation and food and utilities. Caution: many housing benefit offices get confused about which is which!

3. Housing benefit v Local Housing Allowance


Things to consider
Shared Lives package pricing Setting prices for food and utilities? Disability Living Allowance entitlement Possible exemptions (care leavers under 22)

4. Appointeeship
What is an appointee ? a person elected to deal with the financial, aspects of some ones live as they are unable to deal with their own affairs. This is quite closed definition in the sense as appointeeship can cover more wide ranging topics such as decision making wellbeing and health care and other matters in varying degrees.

4. Appointeeship
Who can be an appointee?
family members local authorities solicitors friends/carers corporate bodies

4. Appointee ship
There are various types of Appointee ship and this often causes confusion. Examples are: Power of Attorney Deputyship Court of protection appointee Welfare benefit appointee (corporate appointee)

The powers the appointee will hold will depending on how the appointee has been elected.

4. Appointeeship
As a rule of thumb I would say that a Shared Lives Scheme or Shared Lives Carer would only cover the aspect of the finances of the person as the issues can be very complex and time consuming. Linked to Mental Capacity Act.

4. Appointee ship
Welfare benefit appointeeship: How do you decide if some one needs an appointee? If within a scheme who should take on this role, the carer or the scheme? Accountability of the appointee and of the scheme.

5. National Insurance Credits as a SL Carer


Carers credits have been available since 06.04.10 Qualifying criteria for the carer: provide care for one or more disabled person(s) for a total of 20 hours or more each week, where they do not receive CARERS ALLOWANCE

5. National Insurance Credits as a SL Carer


Carers credits have been available since 06.04.10 Qualifying criteria for the carer: provide care for one or more disabled person(s) for a total of 20 hours or more each week, where they do not receive CARERS ALLOWANCE

5. National Insurance Credits as a SL Carer


Two qualifying routes: EITHER through the disabled person being entitled to Mid rate or HR Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance at either rate or Constant Attendance Allowance. OR Certification route if not in receipt of applicable benefits a certificate completed by a appropriate health or social care professional. See www.direct.gov.uk/carers for more information.

6. Shared Lives and Council Tax


Discounts could be applicable, however these are dependent on the number of occupants in the house as a whole as some occupants can be disregarded. Possible disregards could be: Being a carer Severe Mental Impairment Service user living in an annexe Adaptations to property

Welfare benefits and Shared Lives


Useful websites www.direct.gov.uk www.entitledto.com Useful book Welfare benefits & tax credit handbook (CPAG) Useful resource Local Welfare Rights office/CAB

Welfare benefits and Shared Lives

Any questions or queries?