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Welfare Reforms Health, Social Care and Housing Scrutiny Sub Committee 18 June 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "Welfare Reforms Health, Social Care and Housing Scrutiny Sub Committee 18 June 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 Welfare Reforms Health, Social Care and Housing Scrutiny Sub Committee 18 June 2013

2 Benefits Cap 490 people affected Avg. loss £78 per week Council Tax Support 12,967 people affected Avg. loss £4 per week Under Occupancy 1,273 people affected Avg. loss £16 per week Benefit Cap & Under Occupancy – 7 people affected Avg. Loss £74 a week CTS & Under Occupancy – 1,143 people affected Avg. £19 a week loss Benefit Cap & CTS – 231 people affected. Avg. £98 per week loss Impact & Overview There are also 2 customers affected by all 3 components

3 Under occupancy For people who rent from the council, a registered housing association or a registered social landlord. –A size limit rule is being introduced for working age people, i.e. anyone under state pension credit age. The new rules will restrict the size of accommodation you can receive housing benefit for, based on the number of people in your household. –The new rules allow one bedroom for: –every adult couple (married or unmarried) –any other adult aged 16 or over –any two children of the same sex aged under 16 –any two children aged under 10 (regardless of gender) –any other child –a carer (or team of carers) who do not live with you but provide you or your partner with overnight care 14% if you have one extra bedroom 25% if you have two or more extra bedrooms

4 Council Tax Support (1) 1: Cut off limits on savings lowered - council tax support will not be paid to those with relatively large savings. At present, people with savings of more than £16,000 cannot claim council tax support. The cut-off limit has been lowered to £8,000. 2: Cut off limits on property lowered - There are now restrictions in place based on the property on the amount people can receive in council tax support. For example, if you live in a Band E property, you would receive no more council tax support than the equivalent of a Band D property. 3: Everyone will pay something – everyone of working age, and not in one of the protected groups (link to web) will be asked to contribute towards council tax.link to web –We will ask all working-age people not working, and not in one of the protected groups, to pay at least 15% of their council tax liability. This is approximately £3.50 per week. –We will ask all working-age people that are working, and not in one of the protected groups, to pay at least 15% more of their council tax liability.

5 Council Tax Support (2) 4: Everyone in the household to contribute - Other adults living in a household who are not the main taxpayer or their partner will be asked to contribute towards meeting the cost of council tax for the property they live in. –The amount that other adults living in the property contribute towards the council tax will increase to 40%, which equates to a further £1.30 per week. Other adults living in the property, who receive jobseekers allowance or are a student, and who currently do not make a contribution towards council tax will now pay £3.50 per week. –The second-adult rebate scheme is being abolished. This is where a person who is working and not receiving council tax benefit but has another adult occupier in their property that is on a low income has been able apply for up to a 25% reduction in council tax. 5: It pays to work – the scheme supports and encourages people to work by increasing the sums they can earn before their benefit is reduced. The amount that people are allowed to keep will increase by £10 per week.

6 Benefit Cap Benefits will be capped at £350 a week for single adults and £500 a week for couples (with or without a child or children) and single parents (with a child or children). Which benefits are included in the cap?Which households are exempt? The cap will apply to the total amount people in your household get from: Bereavement allowance Carer’s allowance Child benefit Child tax credit Employment and support allowance* Guardian’s allowance Housing benefit (help with your rent)** Incapacity benefit Income support Jobseeker’s allowance Maternity allowance Severe disablement allowance Widow’s pension *exempt if support component has been awarded **including payments made directly to the landlord Your household will not be affected by the benefit cap if you qualify for: Working tax credit Disability living allowance (changing to personal independence payment) Attendance allowance Industrial injuries benefits Employment and support allowance, if you get the support component War widow’s, or war widower’s, pension

7 The Approach (1) “Safe Sustainable and affordable” Each customer is being managed on a case by case basis This is being done, not just by one service area but across agencies, so a joint view from housing, revenues and benefits, welfare rights, JCP, CFL, DASHH amongst others is being taken into account We are trying to achieve a change in behaviour from the customer, ideally getting them to take some or all responsibility themselves for getting out of the situation they are in.

8 The Approach (2) “Safe Sustainable and affordable” We are trying to get an agreed action plan between the agencies and the household/customer –This is aimed at achieving a sustainable outcome within 3 months –DHP funding is sometimes contingent on this to help with the behaviour change but also as we can not afford to pay DHP ad infinitum for cases A preventative holistic view is being tried as the first port of call –This includes trying to get them into work to keep the household in situ, or trying to find suitable alternative property before the household is homeless. It may also include looking at the social care or education implications, for example where someone is an informal carer or where children are currently leading up to significant exams additional work with the household is undertaken.

9 Supporting the approach (1) Multiagency team –working across the exercise to ensure joint approach to enabling the customer and finding the best options for resolution. Suite of offers –developed across the multiagency team and using a host of other providers and the 3 rd sector to assist in preparing for and finding work, resolving housing situations, relocation etc

10 Supporting the approach (2) DHP and CDS –Used as an enabling fund as well as a conditional reward for the behaviour change normally to help cover the period between where the customer is now and their safe, sustainable and affordable outcome. Review and joint decision making –As a multiagency team we understand that this is a new area and that it is important that we ensure that we are enabling good outcomes adhering to our principles. In doing this we are regularly reviewing our processes and decision making and re- engaging with customer if our learning can improve their outcome.

11 Transition and support approach

12 DHP (Discretionary Housing Payment) The latest DHP policy can be found here http://www.croydon.gov.uk/advice/benefits/hb-ctax/dhp If we were to cover the benefit cap gap for our customers we would run out of DHP within 3 months DHP will be linked to the action plans drawn up by the front line teams Household budgeting in most cases will be expected to make up some of the shortfall, this will need to be evidenced during the DHP application process It will often be paid retrospectively as part of the offer to assist customers in seeing their action plans through and continuing to engage with us DHP is part of the solution and not the whole of the solution for households

13 CDS - Croydon Discretionary Support (1) From 1 April 2013 the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) will no longer pay Crisis Loans and Community Care Grants. Instead, Croydon Council will be responsible for supporting customers who previously received such payments. This assistance is known as Croydon Discretionary Support (CDS). Claiming CDS Claims for CDS must be made directly to the council and can be made by telephone or in writing using the Croydon Council claim form. (http://www.croydon.gov.uk/contents/departments/advice/pdf/CDS-form.pdf )http://www.croydon.gov.uk/contents/departments/advice/pdf/CDS-form.pdf

14 CDS (2) Customers who may be supported through the scheme The criteria for awarding CDS are different to those used by the DWP when awarding Crisis Loans or Community Care Grants. The new CDS scheme seeks to support Croydon residents in the following categories: –in times of crisis –moving out of institutional or residential care –to help residents stay in their communities and keep families together We will normally only make one award in a rolling 12 month period.

15 CDS (3) To be considered for an award, applicants will generally have to demonstrate the following: They fit into one of the categories mentioned on the previous slide They have lived in Croydon for at least three months or are moving into Croydon from certain institutions They are over 16 years of age They are in receipt of, or are about to receive, one of the following: –Income Support –Jobseekers Allowance –Employment and Support Allowance –Any disability benefit –Housing Benefit –Council Tax Support –Pension Credit.Awards will normally be in the form of gift cards or vouchers. We cannot issue cash payments.

16 Housing Process (1) There is a team set up called the Housing Welfare Reform Team. This team is led by Jayne Raper Generic email – housingwelfarereferrals@croydon.gov.ukhousingwelfarereferrals@croydon.gov.uk Contact number – 88944 (02087605768 ext 88944) HWRT have a list of the top 500 affected customers from DWP data –This list is not fixed so new referrals may need to be included –The team are working through in priority order Priority loosely based on when the cap is being applied to customers and the amount that the cap affects the customer and their household –They are working with the partners to get the full picture for each customer building an action plan and trying to get the customer to agree to it. –They will need to handoff some of these households to existing service areas (some referral paths are already in place, some will still need to be developed as need/demand for it arises) – when they do this they will give you the full picture to work with.

17 Housing Process (2) All cases are being managed centrally where they are subject to the benefit cap aspect of the welfare reform –If it is bedroom tax (under occupancy) this may be within Croydon Landlord Service – Colin Alexander is leading on this –For all other cases, they are being managed through the HWRT –It is key again that you let the HWRT know if you have a case come to you directly so that they can log the information and potentially help you as they may have access to more information pertinent to your case. They will also have dealt with a lot more cases in the situation so may save you time too.

18 Referral points for support – Employment Job Centre Plus – through Access Croydon or direct Reed – through the job centre plus CAB - http://www.croydoncab.org.uk/ | 020 8684 2236 http://www.croydoncab.org.uk/ CV writing service – Job centre plus and Croydon library

19 Referral points for support – Financial help Benefit advice –croyhben@croydon.gov.uk | 0208 726 7000croyhben@croydon.gov.uk DHP –dhp@croydon.gov.ukdhp@croydon.gov.uk Budget advice –Welfare rights - 0800 731 5920 | http://www.croydon.gov.uk/advice/benefits/welfare- benefits/projecthttp://www.croydon.gov.uk/advice/benefits/welfare- benefits/project –CAB - http://www.croydoncab.org.uk/ | 020 8684 2236http://www.croydoncab.org.uk/ –Law centre - http://www.lawcentres.org.uk | 020 8667 9226http://www.lawcentres.org.uk Debt management advice –Law centre – as above –Welfare rights – as above

20 Sadly not all of our customers are ‘doing the right thing’ – Fraud Croydon has a good track record and reputation with the public of dealing with fraud It is very likely that compared to other authorities that we will have a lower number of potential fraud referrals during this piece of work A number of customers have taken this opportunity to declare employment or changes in their circumstances, this is encouraged to a point. If you think that someone is systematically abusing the system and intends to continue doing so. It is recommended that you contact the corporate anti fraud team who will be able to look into the case for you and give you the best advice. Whilst doing this it is important that you continue with whatever other actions you were lining up for the customer e.g. financial budgeting advice, moving accommodation etc Cases identified by HWRT of non engagement where the shortfall appears to have no impact on the long term security of tenure will be referred by HWRT to CAFT corporateantifraudteam@croydon.gov.uk or gcantifraud@croydon.gcsx.gov.uk or telephone 0208 760 5645 (x65645 internally)corporateantifraudteam@croydon.gov.uk gcantifraud@croydon.gcsx.gov.uk

21 Offers The next set of slides gives you a suite of examples of the type of approach we are taking for customers hoping to use different routes to find a way to mitigate the affect of the cap These examples are not prescriptive but a guide as each case is different and we intend to treat them as such taking that holistic view. The offers are a complimentary set, containing: –What we will do for the customer –What we expect in return –Time scales –Values –What evidence we would be satisfied with to prove that they are working with us The offers are also aimed at balancing the ‘stick’ and ‘carrot’ through paying in arrears as well as the action plan to best motivate each customer whilst taking in to consideration the need to understand their exact circumstances.

22 ScenarioCustomer commitmentOfferEvidence Self-employedMonth one Essential Applied for working tax credit Desirable  Attended New Enterprise Allowance scheme  Have a business website  Have a business card  Have 2 purchase orders  Have client bookings  Have advertised (online, local newspapers, leaflet distribution)  Have a dedicated work space, e.g. renting a salon chair, garage or studio Month one  Retrospectively pay DHP to meet the full difference of housing benefit difference due to welfare impact Letter/CIS check to confirm that they have applied for WTC  Letter from/conversation with JCP  Website address  Copy of business card or leaflet etc.  Copy of lease

23 ScenarioCustomer commitmentOfferEvidence Increasing hours of work Month one Essential Must meet the minimum number of hours to get working tax credit Applied for working tax credit If unable to increase hours with existing employer: See Seeking employment Month one  Retrospectively pay DHP to meet the full difference of housing benefit difference due to welfare impact Letter from employer confirming increased number of hours Letter/CIS check to confirm that they have applied for WTC

24 ScenarioCustomer commitmentOfferEvidence Seeking Employment Must Have an up to date CV to be reviewed by JCP staff (Is a referral to GGT solutions needed for help with CV?) Desirable  Have worked within previous 13 weeks Month one Essential Actively seek employment (applying for a minimum of 10 jobs) Attend interviews arranged by JCP, Reed etc. Have job goals that are available in the local job market Have clothes suitable for interview Month two Essential Actively seek employment (applying for a minimum of 10 jobs) Attend interviews arranged by JCP, Reed etc. To accept any reasonable job offers Each month  Retrospectively pay DHP to meet the full difference of housing benefit difference due to welfare impact Refer to JCP/GGT solutions for help with CV, check they have attended appointment/course  Check with JCP To provide forms/details of jobs applied for Officer to confirm with JCP, Reed etc. Sanity check Officer to confirm with JCP, Reed etc.

25 ScenarioCustomer commitmentOfferEvidence Move out of the borough Month one: Essential Plan signed off -Agree to moving out of London and property specification agreed -Agree how the property is to be found. Self-help or assisted by us Month two: Essential Demonstrate property search and viewing Identify a suitable, affordable property; - If assisted: customer to contact housing twice a week re progress - If self-help: to identify a min of 5 properties a week Confirm and evidence agreed date for moving Each month  Retrospectively pay DHP to meet the full difference of housing benefit difference due to welfare impact Once agreed property the following may also be deployed  Incentives and support o Rent in advance o Deposit o Licence or bond schemes o Transport costs  Floating support may still be used but is by exception for in borough moves Officer to check on CRM or with housing Officer to check with housing - Officer to check on CRM or with housing - Customer to provide details of properties they have found Customer to provide new tenancy agreement confirming TSD

26 ScenarioCustomer commitmentOfferEvidence If you move within the borough Must It is agree alternative accommodation will be available. Month one Essential Engagement and iteration of action plan Letter to confirm the action plan Triggers e.g. o Home-swapper needs to evidence on your behalf that you have been looking actively you will get 4 weeks in arrears. We will also give you a further 4 weeks if necessary to give you more time to find a property swap. Signed off Month two Essential Identify a suitable, affordable property; - If assisted: customer to contact housing twice a week re progress - If self-help: to identify a min of 5 properties a week Confirm alternative property with agreed date for moving, which is evidenced Each month  Retrospectively pay DHP to meet the full difference of housing benefit difference due to welfare impact Once agreed property the following may also be deployed  Incentives and support o Rent in advance o Deposit o Licence or bond schemes o Transport costs  Floating support may still be used but is by exception for in borough moves Officer to check on CRM or with housing Confirm with home swapper or customer to provide print out of activity - Officer to check on CRM or with housing - Customer to provide details of properties they have found Customer to provide new tenancy agreement confirming TSD


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