In Touch-South EastIssue 6 1st September 2010 IB/IS Reassessment The Process (subject to change following reassessment pilot) We will write to customers when their benefit becomes due for reassessment to tell them about the changes. We will also phone them to answer any questions they may have and find out if they need extra help. They do not need to contact us before they receive this letter. Customers will then be sent a medical questionnaire to complete and return and this will be used to decide if they need to attend a Work Capability Assessment. It is important that customers provide as much detail as possible when completing the questionnaire as this will be used to help decide if the customer is entitled to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Continued overleaf Those who cannot work or have limited capability to work will move to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). The WCA will identify the most severely disabled people and those with the most severe health conditions, and place them in the ESA Support Group. They will not have to take up any work-related support unless they wish to do so. Those for whom we assess an eventual return to work is realistic will be placed in the ESA Work-Related Activity Group where they will have to take part in prescribed activity in order to retain their full benefit – this will include access to the Work Programme. We plan to introduce a single Work Programme that will offer targeted, personalised help for those who need it most, when they need it. Customers moving onto Employment and Support Allowance and Jobseeker's Allowance will be supported by the planned Work Programme. Incapacity Benefit/ Income Support Reassessment Summary of Policy All existing incapacity benefits* customers are to have their claims reassessed between October 2010 and 2014, (reassessment in the South East will be between February 2011 and 2014). As part of this reassessment the majority of incapacity benefits customers will undergo a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) to determine their future benefit entitlement. Those assessed as fully capable of work will be invited to make a claim to Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), claim/remain on Income Support (IS) if they satisfy an alternative condition of entitlement, or move off benefits. *‘incapacity benefits’ includes both Incapacity Benefit (IB) and IS paid to people on the grounds of incapacity (including Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA) cases) but not Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Attendance Allowance (AA).
IB/IS Reassessment Further Information IB/IS Reassessment Customer Journey (subject to change following reassessment pilot) Customer Letters (we are aware that there can be issues opening these documents therefore please refer to separate attachments sent with this newsletter) Useful Links Jobseeker’s Allowance Jobseeker's Allowance : Directgov - Money, tax and benefits Income Support Income Support : Directgov - Money, tax and benefits Pension Credit Pension Credit : Directgov - Pensions and retirement planning IB Reassessment The Process continued If they need to attend an assessment, the customer will be phoned to arrange an appointment. They will not need to attend an assessment if a decision can be made on the information provided on the medical questionnaire. Using the information from the questionnaire, the Work Capability Assessment and any other evidence provided we will then decide if they are entitled to ESA. People will continue to receive their current benefit, as long as they meet the conditions of entitlement, until we have reassessed their claim. If a customer does not return their medical questionnaire or attend a Work Capability Assessment when asked, this may affect their benefit If they can get ESA We will phone and write to the customer to tell them they can get ESA. We will transfer their claim automatically and they will not need to do anything. No one moving from their existing benefit to ESA will see a reduction in the level of their benefit entitlement at the point of change. If we assess that an eventual return to work is realistic, we will place the customer in the "ESA Work-Related Activity Group". This means they will:
have to take part in work-focused interviews with their personal adviser
get support to help them prepare for suitable work
get extra money on top of their basic benefit called a "work-related activity component".
If we assess the customer's illness or disability has a severe effect on their ability to work, we will place them in the "Support Group". This means they will: not have to take part in any work related activity, although they can do so voluntarily if they want to get extra money on top of their basic benefit called a "support component”. If they cannot get ESA We will phone the customer to tell them our decision and what to do if they think it is wrong. We will also discuss their options which may include the following (dependant upon eligibility): Claim Jobseeker's AllowanceThey will need to make a new claim for Jobseeker's Allowance. We can transfer them at the end of the call or give them a number to call later. Continue to claim Income SupportThey will not need to make a new claim, but the amount they get may change. Claim Pension CreditWe will give them the phone number to claim Pension Credit and tell them what they will need to do.
Work Choice fromOctober 2010 Work Programme The Work Programme will be far more personalised than existing programmes, with the support supplied being determined by front line providers based on the needs of individuals. DWP will also offer stronger incentives for providers to work with the harder to help and for the first time, pay providers out of the additional benefits they realise as a result of placing people into work. The Government will be implementing the new Work Programme by the summer of 2011. The Work Programme will be an integrated package of support providing personalised help for people receiving out of work benefits. In order to ensure that as many people benefit from the Work Programme as quickly as possible the Government will be phasing out many of our existing programmes and folding them into the Work Programme. Until the Work Programme is implemented, the Government will ensure support is in place. We will give providers the freedom to support customers based on their individual needs, and will base our payments system on results to ensure that providers are paid for additional sustainable job outcomes. From 25 October 2010 a new DWP supported employment programme – Work Choice - will replace the existing Workstep and Work Preparation programmes and the Job Introduction Scheme. Work Choice in the South East: In the South East approximately 2138 customers will transfer to Work Choice from our existing Workstep Providers and Remploy. South East Work Choice Providers Thames Valley – Shaw Trust Hants & IOW – CDG-WISE Ability Ltd Surrey & Sussex – Working Links Kent – Working Links Customers who do not want to transfer or disclose information will be supported by their Jobcentre Plus Disability Employment Adviser. Work Choice aims to: Move away from individual programmes to a single programme with a modular approach based on effective needs assessment and creation of tailored packages of appropriate support; Create a programme that will reflect the differing needs between those needing short/medium-term supported employment before progressing into open employment and those needing long term support and who may never progress into unsupported employment; Develop specialist provision and ensure that clear guidance supports Jobcentre Plus Advisers, particularly Disability Employment Advisers, to refer the right customers at the right time
Support for housing costs: Emergency Budget Measures Useful Links The Budget http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/junebudget_documents.htm 21st Century Welfare http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/21st-century-welfare.pdf More Information on housing benefit can be found at: Housing Benefit : Directgov - Money, tax and benefits Subscription and Feedback If you have any comments or suggestions about In Touch – SE please send an email to the editor (not forgetting to include your name, contact details and those of the organisation you work for). If you have a colleague who would also like to subscribe to In Touch – SE please send an email to the editor including their name, contact details and details of the organisation they work for. Jobcentre Plus will not pass on any details to a third party. Your information will only be used to provide you with information about Jobcentre Plus and DWP business. From October 2011the LHA will be set at the 30th percentile of rents in each Broad Market Area, rather than the median What happens next DWP intend to regulate for these changes in November 2010. A period of consultation by the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) is currently underway on the draft regulations. Support for Mortgage Interest costs The Government has announced changes to the way that the standard interest rate will be calculated. It has decided to apply the Bank of England published average mortgage rate, which is currently 3.65% (June 2010), as the standard interest rate from 1st October 2010. The standard rate will change when the Bank of England published average mortgage rate differs from the standard rate by at least 0.5%. The Regulations to introduce this change were laid before Parliament on 20 July, and come into force from 1st October 2010. The Chancellor announced a substantial package of welfare reform measures in The Budget on 22 June 2010. The recent command paper 21st Century Welfare set out further proposals for welfare reform. The Government believes that the measures announced for Housing Benefit reform will make the scheme fairer and more sustainable by ensuring that people on benefit are not living in accommodation that would be out of the reach of people in work. From April 2011Local Housing Allowance (LHA) maximum levels will be restricted to the 4 bedroom rate. A new absolute cap will be introduced for each property size so that weekly LHA rates cannot exceed: £250 for a 1 bedroom property £290 for a 2 bedroom property £340 for a 3 bedroom property £400 for a 4 bedroom property or larger. In addition, the £15 weekly excess provision will be removed . The size criteria will be adjusted to provide for an extra bedroom for a non-resident carer where a customer has an established need for overnight care. There will be staged increases in the rates of non-dependant deductions in the income-related benefits from April 2011. Funding for Discretionary Housing Payments will be tripled to £60m a year from 2012/13. .
Useful Information The web link for Health4Work is http://www.health4work.nhs.uk Health4Work The NHS have launched a new service to support small to medium business with issues around occupational health. The website provides a range of information including pages on how to help with staff suffering with mental health, depression and stress in the workplace. The site gives online advice but also has a free helpline for businesses to contact. New Service Replacing Textphone from 20th September A new service for people with hearing difficulties is replacing the current Textphone service in Job Centres and Benefit Delivery Centres (BDCs). This is called TexBox and will mean that, instead of Job Centres and BDCs having textphones and thus textphone numbers of their own, there will be one national number for Job Centres, one for BDCs and one for Social Fund-specific queries. The calls will be dealt with in two Contact Centres Nationally. TexBox went live on 20 September and the new numbers are as follows: 1. 0845 6088553 for Social Fund/Maternity Allowance Calls 2. 0800 0327958 for Crisis Loan Calls 3. 0845 6088551 for call regarding all other benefits, and for Jobcentres New Location for Surrey & Sussex District Office Jobcentre Plus District Office for Surrey and Sussex has moved to Lewes. Our new address is: - Jobcentre Plus Surrey & Sussex District Office Medwyn House Mountfield Road Lewes, BN7 2XR To contact us, call the District Manager’s Support Team on 01273 368022, or drop us an email at: - firstname.lastname@example.org Tell us What You Think This is the first of a new format of Partnership Newsletter, which we plan to send to you on a bi-monthly basis. If you have any comments on it, or suggestions you would like to make, please email us at the email address on the right. We value your input and opinion.