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Steve Dubbins Benefits Advice Programme Manager Overcoming Barriers to Financial Support.

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Presentation on theme: "Steve Dubbins Benefits Advice Programme Manager Overcoming Barriers to Financial Support."— Presentation transcript:

1 Steve Dubbins Benefits Advice Programme Manager Overcoming Barriers to Financial Support

2 Barriers to take-up Lack of awareness about potential entitlements Complexity of the benefits and tax credit systems Poor benefit administration, particularly decision making, resulting in wrongly refused claims Lack of support available with benefit checks, claims and appeals Stigma attached to claiming

3 Consequences... DWP estimate up to £11 billion in means-tested benefits went unclaimed in 2009/2010 This does not include DLA and AA – which have take-up rates of approximately 55% and 65%, respectively. It is estimated that the combined benefit and tax-credit under-claim is in excess of £20 billion. Even when people successfully make claims they may not always receive their full entitlement (DLA underpayments in 2007 amounted to £260 million)

4 Funding for advice and support There is no statutory duty to provide advice services Austerity measures have led to wide-scale decommissioning Legal Aid is no longer available for social welfare law (e.g. benefits, employment, debt & housing) A perfect storm: Increasing need, diminishing provision and the most radical reforms since Beveridge

5 Welfare Reform Welfare Reform Act 2012 Intention to simplify the benefit system and encourage people to move into work A complete restructure of working age benefits Social Security expenditure to be reduced by £22 billion per annum by A further reduction of £10 billion announced in 2012 budget

6 Personal Independence Payment PIP replacing DLA for year olds No new claims from June 2013 Aim to reduce number of claimants by 500,000 More medical assessments Tougher criteria, shorter awards, more frequent reviews DLA renewal or changes of circumstances will require claim for PIP

7 Universal Credit UC completely restructures means-tested benefits provision for working age claimants Introduces ‘Digital by Default’ – claims will have to be made online. Payment will be made once a month (to mirror salaries) Aim for UC to be fully implemented by 2017

8 Some other highlights Housing Benefit cut for working age tenants of social landlords (bedroom tax/spare room subsidy) Council Tax Benefit localised and reduced by 10 per cent Help with mortgage interest payments reduced by 50% Contributory- based ESA time-limited to 12 months Discretionary Social Fund (Grants and Loans) replaced by local authority support schemes

9 Financial Guidance Macmillan’s Financial Support Programme Macmillan Welfare Rights Line Local benefits advice services Macmillan Grants Policy & campaigns Information Resources

10 Local benefits services impact Local advisers helped more than 112,000 Financial gains of £191m 126 benefits services

11 Policy & Campaigns Welfare Reform Fuel Poverty Prescription charges

12 Maximising Income: Some Tips If you’re struggling financially or just want to make sure you’re not missing out get a benefits entitlement check (use the internet, your local CAB, or ask a health or social care professional to refer you) If entitlements are identified try to get support with the claiming process. When you receive a decision get it checked by an advisor immediately – there are tight time- limits for appeals and reconsiderations If you’re refused try to get support with your appeal and don’t give up, decisions are often overturned at appeal

13 Concluding remarks Income maximisation at the earliest opportunity (and at key transition points) can significantly reduce financial hardship and improve well-being However, accessing advice and navigating social welfare is arguably more challenging now than it has ever been Charities must work together to build capacity and to ensure that advice and support is embedded within future care pathways

14 Thank you, any questions?


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