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Welfare Reform (in the Scottish Borders A Rural Context) Homeless Action Scotland Cathie Fancy 18 th April 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "Welfare Reform (in the Scottish Borders A Rural Context) Homeless Action Scotland Cathie Fancy 18 th April 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 Welfare Reform (in the Scottish Borders A Rural Context) Homeless Action Scotland Cathie Fancy 18 th April 2013

2 SBC’s Approach to managing the Impact of the Implementation of the Welfare Reform Overview of the Impact of the Welfare Reform in the Scottish Borders Highlight of some of the Key Actions/Changes Challenges Today’s Presentation

3 Estimated Impact Scottish Borders

4 Approach to the Welfare Reform Joint Programme/Joint Solutions Focus is on the claimant –Designing processes around the claimant –“Customer Journeys” –Whole picture – 1st contact, support & advice, accessing benefits, support into employment Supporting/Managing the Implementation Business Impacts Opportunities Welfare Aware Borders – Launch 4 th March Increased publicity/enquiries

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6 Change Local Housing Allowance - reduction in rates from 50 th to 30 th percentile for Private Tenants (April 2011) Increased deductions for non-dependents (April 2011) Shared room rate extended from under 25s to under 35s (January 2012) Employment Support Allowance starts to replace Incapacity Benefit Impact Reduction in rate to 30 th percentile – 1500 cases in the borders, over £430k per annum reduction in benefit Non-dependent deductions – 203 cases Shared room - 49 cases, over £61k per annum reduction in benefit Employment Support Allowance – Significantly less people qualifying, more (1,760) people required to find work

7 Scottish Welfare Fund Changes New/Additional Council Service Temporary for 2 years Crisis Grants – expect 3000 applications/year – 2000 awards - budget £123k Community Care Grants – expect 1200 applications/year awards – budget £284k Applications by telephone, on-line or postal Payment by SMS, Electronic Card or direct to bank Closer working with CAB and Welfare Benefits Officers Impact Additional staff required (3FTE) – budget pressures of £30k (13/14) & £25k (14/15) New systems and contracts being negotiated Security Issues in Contact Centres Grant, NOT loan! Expect increase in number of applications

8 Social Sector Size Criteria Changes Reduction in Housing Benefit where tenants have more bedrooms than they require 14% for one Bedroom and 25% for more than one bedroom Impact Approx 1100 households affected – financial sum £500k/annum Increased pressure on household budgets Appropriate size of accommodation being available Increased demand for discretionary help Potential increase in rent arrears

9 Council Tax Reduction Scheme Changes Funding reduced by 10% No change in 2013/14 for customers, new scheme expected in 2014/15 Current Council Tax Benefit claims will migrate automatically Changes to appeal system – Valuation Appeals Committee, not Tribunal Service Impact New financial burdens – software changes, increased cost of appeals, changes to documentation Dept of Work and Pensions will no longer receive applications – additional administration No longer a social security benefit – cannot access Discretionary Housing Payments Financial cost to the Council of meeting the 10% shortfall in funding - £371k (one year only)

10 Local Housing Allowance Changes Further reduction in Local Housing Allowance Rates Impact 1152 households affected approximately £250k per annum. Between £2.41 and £5.77 per week.

11 Discretionary Housing Payments Changes Now seen as the main way to assist claimants in need due to Welfare Reform Must demonstrate the need based on income and expenditure DWP budget increased from £39k in 2012/13 to £170k in 2013/14 Properties adapted for disability/foster & kinship carers/moving to more affordable accommodation Impact Anticipate a significant increase in applications (est. 150pa in 2012/2013 to 800pa in 2013/2014) Demand is likely to outstrip funding Staff training New appeals process

12 Benefits Cap Change Comes into effect in summer 2013 Benefits will be capped at: £500/week for couples £350/week for single people Impact 20 households affected in the Borders

13 Personal Independence Payments Change Disabled Living Allowance will be replaced by Personal Independence Payments for people aged New claimants will be invited to claim from 10th June Will have a more rigorous qualifying criteria Impact National budget reduced by 20% Currently 5,450 Disabled Living Allowance claimants in Borders 20% cut will lead to significant changes and hardship for these people Significant loss of income to local economy Reduced income to Social Work Care & Health Services Increase in demand for support and advice

14 Universal Credit Change Universal Credit begins to be rolled-out nationally from October in a phased way Anticipated that Universal Credit will “go live” in the Borders in February 2014 Local Support Services Framework in place from October. Impact Redesign of support and advice services Increased demand on services including online access Potential increase in homelessness/Temporary Accommodation Costs Potential loss of income Comprehensive training programme to enable staff to understand Universal Credit and also how it interacts with other benefit entitlement, including e.g. free school meals Potential risk to vulnerable people.

15 Personal Independence Payments Change Reassessment to Personal Independence Payments starts for fixed period – Disabled Living Allowance awards coming up for renewal, young people turning 16 or where claimants report a change in circumstances. Impact Need to provide support with making claims Need to make claimants and carers aware of impact on other benefits if Personal Independence Payment is refused. Need for support with review and appeals processes

16 Universal Credit Start of Managed Migration of existing claimants – starting with Job Seekers Allowance. (Dept. of Work & Pensions still to publish schedule of phased migration). By Oct 2017 all working age claimants for means tested benefits would be on Universal Credit. Single Fraud Investigation Service Local Authority staff to operate under guidelines from the Single Fraud Investigation Service Review of fraud investigation arrangements underway.

17 Change Migration of all remaining DLA claimants to PIP (completion in 2018) New Council Tax Reduction Scheme Starts (to be determined) Housing Benefits Closure (minimum of 2 years notice) SFIS new arrangements go live (subject to review) Impact Significant Structural Change Subsidy – Budget Impact

18 Key Challenges Population of 112,430 over 732 sq km =24 per sq km – compared with Glasgow - population of 584, 240 over 175 sq km = 3329 per sq km Only 3 JCP Officers to cover Area (Hawick, Gala & Eyemouth) – 6 PC’s available for claimants Drop-in – tends not too work in rural locations Poor broadband coverage in many rural areas Transport Issues (Costs/Services) Food costs tend to be higher Fewer third sector organisations Historically low THB

19 What work is underway Worked jointly with RSL's to identify and write to people affected by the "Size Criteria" Rsl's have continued to work by contacting their tenants and supporting them (30 moves and 100 DHP applications) changed our Discretionary Housing Policy and consulted widely including Homeless/housing, CAB, Welfare Advisors and RSLs. The policy now includes provision for people affected by the " Size Criteria " particularly where the property has been adapted for a disability, participated in national groups on the development of the Scottish Welfare Fund procured software and payment methods for Scottish Welfare Fund checked to ensure that we do not have foster or kindred carers affected by Benefit Cap running awareness session for practitioners working with Job Centre Plus staff to ease the transition

20 What work is underway cont.. Work ongoing Libraries/contact centre – establish IT availability/staff support claims Work ongoing Service providers to identify internet access and support for mental health services Investment in the Programme (Staffing) Signposts to further information: –Dept. of Work & Pensions Website –Scottish Borders Council’s Welfare Reform Web Pages Welfare Aware Borders – Launch 4 th March

21 Thank you for Listening Any Questions?


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