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Islington South Locality Patient Participation Group Meeting Laycock Street 25 March 2014 Welfare reform and impact on Islington residents.

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Presentation on theme: "Islington South Locality Patient Participation Group Meeting Laycock Street 25 March 2014 Welfare reform and impact on Islington residents."— Presentation transcript:

1 Islington South Locality Patient Participation Group Meeting Laycock Street 25 March 2014 Welfare reform and impact on Islington residents

2 The size of the Government’s welfare changes Nearly £22 billion cut from UK benefits and tax credits – Islington people will lose about £85 million Government objectives: –Simplify the system –Make work pay –Reduce fraud and error Cuts mainly fall on people of working age Cuts come from: Housing benefit, Family Benefits, Sickness and disability benefits

3 Many cuts already made and are on-going 42 benefit and tax credit changes in the 3 years up to April 2013 Includes increasing all benefits and tax credits by less than inflation. By just 1% from April 2013. Impact for Islington residents is that you have less money to manage on when, for example, food & fuel costs are increasing more rapidly. Council wants to try to mitigate the worse effects of the benefit changes for residents where they can

4 Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) Starting from 2010 everyone on a ‘sickness benefit’ is being transferred to ESA using the Work Capability Assessments and medicals currently carried out by ATOS. This exercise was due to end in Spring 2014. It is a points based assessment (need 15 points from physical & mental health descriptors) There are about 13,000 sickness benefit claimants in Islington and it is estimated that around 4,000 will have to claim JSA.

5 ESA – what should you do? Don’t ignore any letters, forms or appointments Fill in work capability assessment form ESA50 with help if necessary. Send it back before the deadline. Attend the medical appointment. Go with a friend or relative for support. Take or send in any doctors letters or social care assessments that you have – it helps the decision makers.

6 ESA outcomes You could be awarded ESA and be put in either: The work related activity group (WRAG) where you would be subject to work focussed interviews and may be put onto the work programme, or The Support Group (SG) and not have to meet any extra work conditions. If the ESA claim is refused: You can apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) as available for work and be subject to the work programme and the claimant commitment. Sanctions becoming more common. You can challenge the decision: By firstly seeking a Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) – no benefit paid unless JSA claimed pending decision. May need to rely upon food banks, RSS, etc. If MR successful then ESA will be paid. Where the MR is not successful then you can an lodge an appeal and get ESA paid at the assessment rate pending the appeal decision. ESA will be fully backdated if the appeal is successful. There has been an 86% increase in appeals over the last year. Nationally 43% of appeals are successful but IMS in Islington around 85% successful.

7 Disability Living Allowance (DLA) replaced by Personal Independence Payment (PIP) DLA is being abolished for everyone aged 16 to 64. Those people getting DLA who currently are under 16 or were over 65 in April 2013 will not be affected. From June 2013, no adults (age 16 to 64) can make new claims for DLA – they must claim PIP It is estimated that of the approximately 8,000 DLA claimants in Islington about 1,600 (20%) could lose benefit

8 Personal Independence Payment There is no automatic transfer to PIP – everyone needs to make a new claim and most people will have a face to face assessment with a health professional (ATOS). Give any supporting evidence you can get – it has to be taken into account by the DWP. You can take someone with you to the ATOS appointment and this can include a carer or keyworker who should be able to give some evidence.

9 Abolition of DLA: timetable for existing claimants From October 2015 or later DLA claimants in Islington will get a letter explaining what will happen to your DLA and how you can claim PIP. You don’t need to do anything now. By October 2017 it is expected that all DLA claimants will have been invited to apply for PIP

10 PIP: rates and amounts of benefit PIP is a points-based assessment and there are four rates of payment: –Two rates for activities of daily living Standard (8 points): £53.00 pw (same as DLA middle) Enhanced (12 pts): £79.15 pw (same as DLA high) –Two rates for mobility Standard (8 pts): £21.00 (same as DLA lower mobility) Enhanced (12 pts): £55.25 (same as DLA higher mobility)

11 The PIP assessment Activities of daily living: –Preparing food / taking nutrition –Managing therapy / monitoring health –Washing and bathing / toileting and incontinence –Dressing and undressing –Communicating verbally / reading signs, symbols and words –Engaging with people face to face –Making budgeting decisions Mobility activities: –Planning and following journeys –Moving around

12 Cuts to Housing Benefit: ‘bedroom tax’ for Council and Housing Association tenants If your home is bigger than the rules allow, your Housing Benefit may be capped A home is too big if it has more rooms than you are expected to need Approximately 2,800 tenants affected. If you have 1 extra room – you will have to meet 14% of your basic rent before housing benefit If you have 2 or more extra rooms – you will have to meet 25% of your basic rent before housing benefit Note: this will only affect you if you are ‘working age’

13 Cuts to housing benefit: all tenants The number of bedrooms you can get housing benefit for depends on the ages, sex and numbers of people who live with you: –One bedroom for each couple or each person 16+ –One bedroom for each person under 16, unless they have to share with one other child A child under 16 is expected to share with another child of the same sex A child under 10 is expected to share with another child under 10, regardless of sexes

14 Cuts to housing benefit: all tenants If you need an extra bedroom because you get overnight care from someone who lives elsewhere – you will get housing benefit for the extra room If you have children who can’t share because of disability - a child has to get middle or higher rate DLA care and the LA satisfied that it is not reasonable to share. If your home has been ‘significantly adapted’ – apply for extra help with your housing costs

15 Cuts to housing benefit: ‘bedroom tax’ case study A disabled man of 47 on Employment and Support Allowance has a three bedroom Council flat which he shares with his sister. The gross rent is £130.87 a week. Before the ‘bedroom tax’ he got £94.77 housing benefit, £36.10 being taken off because he shares with his working sister. He has to pay £36.10 to the landlord. After the ‘bedroom tax’, he gets £69.65 housing benefit. £18.32 is taken off for the ‘bedroom tax’ plus £42.90 because he shares with his sister. Now he has to pay £61.22 to the landlord.

16 Cuts to housing benefit: all tenants If your housing benefit has been reduced because your home is too big you can: –Get help to move to a smaller, cheaper property –You could take in a lodger to avoid the size rules but check how your other benefits may be affected –You might be able to get a short term ‘top up’ to your housing benefit through the Islington Residents’ Support Scheme For more information see: to-benefits/what-are-changes/Pages/Spare-room- tax.aspx to-benefits/what-are-changes/Pages/Spare-room- tax.aspx

17 Private tenants hit by rent caps (Local Housing Allowance - LHA) 3,250 private tenants claim LHA (86% lone parents) LHA caps: 1 bedroom £258.06, 2 bed £299.34, 3 bed £350.95, and 4 or more beds £412.89 Shared accommodation rate (under age 35) £94.07 but some exemptions. 1,316 (40%) of LHA households exceed the cap Average loss of benefit is £45.71 a week Range of losses between £34 and £1000 a week

18 What can private tenants do? With the help of the Council they may be able to have their rent paid direct to their landlord May be able to negotiate with the landlord to reduce the rent Apply for assistance with a Discretionary Housing Payment (Residents Support Scheme) to meet the shortfall Seek alternative sustainable accommodation

19 The household benefit cap From September 2013, no household on out of work benefits can get more than £500 a week (couples) or £350 a week (single) Approximately 650 families with children affected by the cap Most benefits including Housing Benefit count towards the cap though Council Tax Support is not included. Some households are exempt from the cap if they are claiming a number of benefits including DLA, PIP, ESA with the Support element, War Pension or Industrial Injury benefit etc You are not affected by the cap if you get working Tax Credit or earn £430 per month (16 hours at the national minimum wage) Note: this cap will only affect you if you are of ‘working age’

20 Help if you are affected by the Benefit Cap. The Council has set up a welfare reform response team to contact and help any resident facing a reduction in their total benefit because of the £500 or £350 overall cap The team will help you think about options to avoid the cap. This includes: - checking whether you are exempt. For example, they can help with claims for DLA or PIP - seeing whether suitable cheaper alternative accommodation is available to you - checking whether they can help you access employment or training - assist you to apply for a discretionary housing payment from the RSS to help meet the shortfall in the rent They can be contacted on 020 7527 2706 or by email

21 Changes to Council Tax Benefit The government abolished Council Tax Benefit from April 2013 Each local council now has to have it’s own support scheme, but with a 10% cut in funding No person of working age in Islington will get all their council tax paid by benefit People of working age who gets council tax support will have to pay at least 8.5% of their council tax

22 Islington’s Council Tax Support: case study A single woman has an annual Council Tax bill of £843.25 She is claiming ESA and previously paid no Council Tax. From April 2013 she must pay £71.68 a year or £1.38 a week. This is 8.5% of her bill.

23 Financial support available locally Social Fund Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans were abolished by the Government in April Islington Council and the Cripplegate Foundation have set up a Resident Support Scheme of £3.2 million to help vulnerable local people who are at risk(for example, of homelessness, family breakdown, entry into institutional care, etc) Against the scale of the benefit cuts – this small fund cannot prevent all hardship

24 Resident Support Scheme (RSS): support offered RSS will provide: –Furniture and household equipment –Housing costs, including rent and deposits –Removal costs –Expenses to enter or maintain employment –Living expenses (food / heating) –Council tax RSS will not provide: –Clothing (except when someone is fleeing domestic violence or disaster) –Funeral expenses –Specialist disability equipment

25 Resident Support Scheme: access You can apply for help from the RSS at Contact Islington, 222 Upper Street N1 Referrals will also be accepted from many advice agencies including the CAB, IPR, the Law Centre and DAII. Statutory council services will assess service users need for RSS support. This includes Housing services, Adult Social care, Children’s Services & Homelessness Prevention Some Housing Associations in Islington also can help you access the RSS For more information see: advice/Pages/Resident-Support-Scheme.aspx advice/Pages/Resident-Support-Scheme.aspx

26 Universal Credit (UC) 1 Timetable for implementation in Islington not clear. DWP plans to make UC available in each part of the UK during 2016 with the vast majority of new claimants moving onto Universal Credit during 2016 and 2017. Replaces working age benefits IS, income-based ESA, income- based JSA, HB, Working Tax Credit & Child Tax Credit Aim to ‘Make work Pay’ Couples will claim jointly. Claims made online Claimant commitment – similar to Jobseeker’s agreement Work-related requirements

27 Universal Credit 2 Paid monthly like a salary and monthly in arrears. Payment includes housing costs – not usually paid to the landlord Help with childcare up to 85% of costs with no limit on hours worked Transitional protection Uses real-time information from employer. Removes the distinction between in and out of work support so there is a smooth transition for some changes in circumstances.

28 Questions and other issues you may wish to consider. What else do you, as patients, need to help you with the benefit changes? What other areas of ‘Welfare Reform’ cause you most concern? What do you think GPs need so they can help you? How would you like to be kept up to date with benefit changes? What action would you like to take following this meeting? What else could the Council do?

29 What the income maximisation service does Carries out benefit checks including around considering employment. Helps you to claim your full entitlement Advises and assists with tax credits & benefits and welfare reform changes Helps to challenge unfavourable decisions Contact the income maximisation service on our daily advice line 020 7527 8600 or Freephone (from a landline) 0800 7318081. You can email the team on Barrie Curtis Team leader, Income Maximisation Service, Islington Council 020 7527 8603

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