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Changes to benefits: what do they really mean for people with a learning disability and their families? April 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "Changes to benefits: what do they really mean for people with a learning disability and their families? April 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 Changes to benefits: what do they really mean for people with a learning disability and their families? April 2013

2 What I am going to talk about New things to know about the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) The new Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which is slowly replacing DLA Housing changes (including the bedroom tax) Universal Credit and the replacement of means-tested benefits

3 What is ESA? ESA is gradually replacing Incapacity Benefit, Income Support (because of a disability), and Severe Disability Allowance. 1.5 million people on these benefits are being re-assessed to see if they can get ESA. This finishes in March New assessment for ESA – the Work Capability Assessment (WCA). Most people expected to have a face to face assessment with a healthcare professional. Some people getting ESA will have to do things to prepare for work. Their benefits can be affected if they dont.

4 What do ESA claimants have to do? There are two parts to ESA – the work-related activity group and the support group. People in the support group dont have to do things to prepare for work, as they have a severe disability or illness and it would not be fair to expect them to do this. Those in the work-related activity group will have to: –Sign up to a claimant commitment (this is new!) –Have some work-focused interviews –Prepare for work – for example, by doing some work experience. The Government has said that people should only be asked to do things that are reasonable and that take into account that persons situation. Failure to take part can result in benefit being cut- a sanction

5 Other recent changes to ESA Time-limiting of contributory ESA to one year – started in April This affects 700,000 people. -Contributory ESA youth entitlement stopped, where young disabled people could access non-means tested benefits Income-related ESA stopped, with the introduction of Universal Credit.

6 Top tips! When you complete the form to apply for ESA, provide as much information as you can. Disabled people can take someone to the assessment to support them. Get people who know you well – (like a support worker, care manager, or your doctor) to provide information. If you dont agree with the decision after the assessment you can ask for it to be looked at again. You can ask for a copy of the report from the assessment. Conditions on people getting ESA must be reasonable and include things like being avaialble for assessments, interviews or activity. Tell Mencaps campaigns team about your experiences – we need these to help us campaign on this issue.

7 What is PIP? DLA is being replaced with the Personal Independence Payment or PIP (ages 16-64) to help with extra costs people face because of a disability. The Government has said that it spends too much money on DLA and that DLA is over 20 years old so needs updating There will be some big differences between DLA and PIP. For example: Some disabled people get DLA automatically. This wont be the same for PIP. Everyone will be assessed. Some disabled people get given DLA for life. This wont be the same for PIP. No one will get life time awards. Some things will be the same as DLA. For example: Like DLA, PIP will still be a non-means tested benefit. This means it doesnt matter how much money you have or if you have a job or not. There is a new assessment for PIP. Most people are expected to have a face to face assessment with a healthcare professional. Government focusing on those with the greatest need.

8 Before and after… DLA to PIP PIP DLA CARE component Highest rate £79 MOBILITY component Middle rate £53 Lowest rate £21 Higher rate £55 Lower rate £21 MOBILITY component DAILY LIVING component Enhanced rate £79 Enhanced rate £55 Standard rate £53 Standard rate £21

9 When will I get PIP? PIP started for new people making a claim this April, but this was only in a a few areas. This week, new people will only be able to make a claim for PIP across the rest of the country. From October 2013, some DLA claimants will be asked if they want to make a claim for PIP instead. For example, those turning 16. From October 2015 – March 2018, remaining DLA claimants will be reassessed for PIP.

10 The impact on people with a learning disability and their families? The Government estimates 600,000 fewer people will get PIP by 2018, compared to DLA. We are concerned that if people miss out on support they will live less independent lives It is hard to know how the assessment will work for people with a learning disability Disabled people with lower level needs may be the most likely to miss out on support When people lose DLA they may also lose passported benefits and support– for example, things like Blue Badge, Motability and Carers Allowance

11 Top tips – what can you do? Remember!: unlike with ESA, claimants of DLA will not automatically be put forward for PIP. They will instead be invited to apply. When competing the main claim form, provide as much information as you can. Take someone with you to the assessment to support you. Get people who know you well – (like a support worker, care manager, or your doctor) to provide information about you. Fill in Mencaps survey on the move from DLA to PIP. Tell us if you think youll still get PIP. Tell Mencaps campaigns team about your experiences – we need these to help us campaign on this issue.

12 New under-occupancy rules in social housing- the bedroom tax April 2013: People who claim Housing Benefit face new rules about how many bedrooms they can have: One bedroom for each person or couple. Two children under 16 of same gender expected to share a bedroom Two children under 10 regardless of their gender expected to share Exemptions to those rules: Where are disabled person has a need for an overnight carer and can prove this, and receives middle or higher rate care DLA, AA or PIP, they will be entitled to an additional bedroom Where a severely disabled child requires a separate bedroom, new guidance is making an exemption for them

13 How will it affect people? Those with 1 or more spare bedrooms will see their Housing Benefit cut. They will have to pay more or move to a smaller property. The Housing Benefit reductions are: 14% for under-occupancy by 1 bedroom 25% for under-occupancy by 2 bedrooms or more An average of £14 a week Discretionary Housing Payment is meant to help, but it is very limited- £30m for people in adapted properties

14 The impact on people with a learning disability and their families? Government equality impact assessment – 420,000 people with a disability to be affected. People living in exempt accommodation will not be affected. Mencap and other organisations working on this recently won a concession from the Government – where a severely disabled child needing a separate bedroom they are now entitled to this under new guidance BUT still an issue for couples where one or both people have a disability and some families who include a household member with a disability Individuals and families may be forced to move house, may lose their support networks and facilities they need.

15 Top tips – what can you do? If you have a disabled child who needs a separate bedroom, or you need a room for an overnight carer, you have to tell your local authority so that they can look into this The Contact a Family website has a draft letter you can use. Tell the local authority why your child cannot share a room or that you have an overnight carer. Give them examples about why this is. You can ask your childs doctor or pediatrician, or your own doctor, to write a letter explaining why an extra bedroom is needed. You may be able to get a Discretionary Housing Payment to make up all or some of the reduction – ask your local authority about this if you think you should get this. From October you can take in a lodger without benefits being affected. Tell Mencaps campaigns team about your experiences – we need these to help us campaign on this issue.

16 Household benefit cap April 2013: Cap on the total amount of benefit that people of working age can receive. Applies to combined income of a number of benefits including Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit and Child benefit. The cap is: £500 for a lone parent or couple (with or without children) £350 a week for those who are single Households are exempt from the cap, if they: -Include a person in the support group of ESA -Include a partner or child (under 20) receiving DLA or PIP Claim Working Tax Credit BUT, the cap WILL still apply to parent carers who are looking after a disabled adult child. Key dates: 15 April 2013 – started in the London boroughs of Bromley, Croydon, Enfield and Haringey. The cap will be extended to the rest of the UK in stages starting on 15 July 2013, with the whole of the UK covered by the end of September 2013.

17 The impact on people with a learning disability and their families? The household benefit cap is most likely to impact on those living in high rent areas such as London and the South East of England (49 per cent of affected households are in Greater London) Families caring for adult children with disabilities might be affected by the cap, as they are seen as a separate household. 5,000 people affected by this are Carers who get Carers Allowance. They are facing losing £105 per week.

18 Top tips – what can you do? You may be able to get a Discretionary Housing Payment to make up all or some of the reduction – ask your local authority about this if you think you should get this. Tell Mencaps campaigns team about your experiences – we need these to help us campaign on this issue.

19 It will replace most means-tested benefits, including: –Income Support –Income-based Jobseekers Allowance –Income-related Employment and Support Allowance –Housing Benefit –Child Tax Credits –Working Tax Credit How its put together: Standard allowance + additional elements (includes an element for those who have limited capability for work e.g. for disabled people, the equivalent to ESA). A single taper at 65% (the rate at which benefit is reduced as you earn more in work). You keep 35p in each £1 About the Universal Credit

20 Universal Credit time- line April 2013 – pilots started in a number of areas. Between October 2013 and March 2014 local pilots across the country will deal with new claims. From April 2014 there will be a gradual introduction of Universal Credit for all new claims. From 2015, people on existing benefits will begin to be moved onto Universal Credit. This process will be complete by

21 People will get to keep more of the money they earn in work- end of the benefits trap? BUT: Some people will lose out financially: –Loss of Severe Disability Premium –Support for disabled children being changed Issues like the Benefit Cap will apply to Universal Credit. Important: transitional protections. The impact on people with a learning disability and their families?

22 Any questions or comments? Tel:


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