Welfare Reform and How it AffectsYou! Blaby 4th September Sharon Stacey & Quin Quinney
HB – where are we now? Benefits Caseload has increased (12% over 4 years) Approximately 1 in 7 on HB or CTB (or both) Paying out in region of £16m plus Overpayments are increasing Claimants are not telling us about changes on time (70-80% do not tell us within 4 wks) Fraud is on the increase (numbers/values)
April 2011 to present date Removed the £15 pw ‘excess’ paid to tenants Removed the baby premium from HB and tax credits Introduced new rate of rent for LHA set at 30 percentile of ‘going rates locally’ New claimants receive no protection from start of claim Additional bedroom allowance for over night carers Introduced top limits (caps) for 1, 2, 3, 4 bed properties Removed the 5 bedroom rate (now 4 bed rate max) Those receiving 9 month protection from the LHA changes start to become affected from January 2012 – 1,062 affected households in Blaby
From January 2012 Firstgroup of claimants lose their LHA protection (claimants have to contribute more towards rent as HB reduces) Single room rate change implemented (age increases to 35 – previously 25) Claimants previously receiving circa £91pw HB 1 bed rate now get circa £58pw – shared room rate
From April 2013 Bedroom tax introduced (affects social sector under pension age if living in accommodation deemed too large for needs) Benefit cap introduced (max £350 pw single or £500 pw couple/lone parent if claimant doesn’t fall into exempt category)
Universal Credit From April 2013 the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) are trialling UC in a number of LA’s in the North West in readiness for the October 2013 go live date. The plan to introduce one single benefit to replace a patchwork of other benefits and credits in order to simplify the system. This includes Housing Benefit (HB), Income Support (IS), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), Working and Child tax credits (WTC, CTC) Early indications are that passported claims with a change in circumstances will be the first group to transfer across Doesn’t include Council Tax Support (presently CTB)
Localisation of Council Tax Support To deliver locally a council tax benefit scheme that ‘makes work pay’ whilst protecting pension age claimants & vulnerable claimants. Scheme will save 10% of the national bill Consultation is now taking place in your locality on the scheme proposed
Council Tax Support summary for easeof understanding To save 10% Councils are having to look at which benefit recipients/tax payers might have to pay more Council Tax (for example, those seeking work, those who have savings over a certain amount etc) Lots of people will have less money coming into their household – could be you!
Social Fund This is being allocated to the County Council/Unitary authorities Presently looking at ways for local delivery Amount for 2013 will be based on the 2005 funding
Changes in Housing Discharge of homeless duty into Private Rented Sector ‘Bedroom tax’ Affordable rents Social Housing not always now ‘life-time’ homes Allocation Policy e.g. flexibility and freedom Future service charges not covered by HB
GrahameGrahame is aged 30 and was in a relationship and has 3children. He has a solicitor’s letter which gives him residenceof the children for 3 nights per week, but he doesn’t get thechild benefit. Only eligible for shared accommodation with other people He has a 1 bedroomed flat Receives £71.00 per week JSA He has £30.70 per week to live on - to buy all his food, pay gas, electric, water, TV licence, travel costs for getting to interviews How does he manage? If he can’t manage what might we surmise he may do to make ends meet?
Ian and Teresa Living together with a child aged 4. Teresa is 8 months pregnant. Ian works full time but earns just above the minimum wage. Overtime has been cut and his pay has been frozen for the second year. They claim HB. The rent charged is £114 per wk. for a 2 bed house. Housing Benefit covers £109.62 per wk Child benefit, tax credit rates and LHA rates have been frozen from April 2012 which means that if the rent goes up, HB won’t match the rise. They have current rent arrears of £83.22 and the landlord is threatening legal action They have credit cards debts of over £1,500 and have not paid last quarter’s gas bill From 2013 they will have to find a further £36 per month in Council Tax
Raj and Alma Live together and Alma is disabled receiving Incapacity Benefit and DLA. Alma has a degenerative condition with a life expectancy of about ten years. The new DWP regime and re-assessment decide Alma is fit for some work and stop her Incapacity Benefit. At the same time her entitlement to DLA is reviewed and this is stopped. She appeals but there is a 20 month backlog in these cases being heard. On losing her DLA she loses the payments towards the car under the ‘motability scheme’. The company are sympathetic but cannot wait nearly two years for an outcome of an appeal.
DeteriorationIn mental health? Less HB?Homelessness? Reduction in childcare? Less Council Tax?IncreasedSubstance use? Poor diet? Pensioners on saving creditRelationship Smaller increases? Service User Less Benefit?Breakdown?Increased Minimum working rulesDomestic Abuse? affect Change in housing tenure? Tax Credit eligibility? Increased debt? Tax Credits Frozen? Increase in ‘Troubled Families’
What Can We do About it? Listen out for service users/colleagues in financial hardship Know what support is available Know where to signpost to
What’s available in your locality? Support Services (Substance Use, Domestic Abuse, Children’s Worker, Resident Support) Discretionary Housing Payments 4 ways to warmth Citizen Advice Bureau – locality based on different days Loans and grants – rent deposits Mortgage rescue Lend a Hand Scheme for First Time Buyers Food parcels and furniture available through Community Services Arrange for free places for children’s activities Discretional Fund for Council Tax