Benefit Cap - Croydon Council

Report
Welfare Reforms
Health, Social Care and Housing Scrutiny Sub Committee
18 June 2013
Impact & Overview
Benefit Cap & Under
Occupancy – 7 people
affected Avg. Loss £74 a
week
Benefits Cap
490 people affected
Avg. loss £78 per week
Benefit Cap & CTS – 231
people affected. Avg. £98 per
week loss
There are also 2
customers affected
by all 3 components
Under Occupancy
1,273 people affected
Avg. loss £16 per week
Council Tax Support
12,967 people affected
Avg. loss £4 per week
CTS & Under Occupancy –
1,143 people affected
Avg. £19 a week loss
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
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.
– 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
3rd sector to assist in preparing for and finding work, resolving housing situations,
relocation etc
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 reengaging with customer if our learning can improve their outcome.
Transition and support approach
Identify customer context
and vulnerability
Work with partners to engage with customer
Undertake intervention
activity
Use bridge funding
constructively
Deliver tangible results
Track and monitor
outcomes
JCP/Reed
Employment
·
·
·
·
·
Courses
Employment Options
Work readiness ass.
Long term
unemployed
Support to increase
hours
New job
Newly work
ready
Housing/Housing
assoc
Moving
·
·
·
·
·
Housing advice
Housing officer
Housing Association
Housing options
Private landlord
Short-term
crisis support
Identify customer context
and vulnerability
Coping
(with own
resources)
Data analysis and
assessment
- Tenure and
household
- Segmentation by
financial impact
Additional help and
support
·
·
·
·
·
·
Exempt
Adult Services
·
·
·
·
·
·
·
·
·
·
·
Sustainable
solution
Successful
support
package
Additional
support
identified for
support
package
Support Guidance
3rd Sector
3rd Sector partners
Affordable
existing
accommodation
Exempt
Adult Services
Disabled
adaptations
·
Mental Health
CFL
Fostering
Adoptions
Mental Health
Special needs
DHP
CDS (Social Fund)
Adult Social care
Children’s
Services
Short/medium
term bridge
funding
DWP/HMRC
Fast Track
applications
- DLA
- Carer
- WFTC
Welfare rights / CAB /
Mind /SLAM
Remaining
(with support)
Appropriate
accommodation
Help / Bridge
Funding
Coping
Understand how
Identify support
Budget / Debt advice
Advice
NDD contribution
·
Children’s Services
Increased
hours
Immediate
resolution
Fostering
Other support
·
·
·
Shortfall
managed
Debt guidance
Budgeting support
Financial support
from household
Shortfall not
managed
Unsuccessful –
targeted action
Change in
circumstances
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
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 )
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.
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.
Housing Process (1)
•
•
•
•
•
There is a team set up called the Housing Welfare Reform Team.
This team is led by Jayne Raper
Generic email – [email protected]
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.
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.
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
CV writing service – Job centre plus and Croydon library
Referral points for support – Financial help
• Benefit advice
– [email protected] | 0208 726 7000
• DHP
– [email protected]
• Budget advice
– Welfare rights - 0800 731 5920 | http://www.croydon.gov.uk/advice/benefits/welfarebenefits/project
– CAB - http://www.croydoncab.org.uk/ | 020 8684 2236
– Law centre - http://www.lawcentres.org.uk | 020 8667 9226
• Debt management advice
– Law centre – as above
– Welfare rights – as above
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
[email protected] or [email protected] or
telephone 0208 760 5645 (x65645 internally)
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.
Scenario
Customer commitment
Self-employed








Month 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
Offer
Month one
· Retrospectively pay DHP to meet
the full difference of housing
benefit difference due to welfare
impact
Evidence

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
Scenario
Customer commitment
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
Offer
Evidence
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
Scenario
Seeking
Employment
Customer commitment









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
Offer
Each month
· Retrospectively pay DHP to meet
the full difference of housing
benefit difference due to welfare
impact
Evidence

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.
Scenario
Customer commitment
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
Offer
Evidence
Each month
· Retrospectively pay DHP to meet
the full difference of housing
benefit difference due to welfare
impact

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
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

Scenario
If you move
within the
borough
Customer commitment
Must
It is agree alternative
accommodation will be available.
Offer
Each month
· Retrospectively pay DHP to meet
the full difference of housing
benefit difference due to welfare
impact
Month one
Essential
Engagement and iteration of
Once agreed property the following may also
action plan
be deployed
Letter to confirm the action plan
·Incentives and support
Triggers e.g.
o Rent in advance
o Home-swapper needs to
o Deposit
evidence on your behalf that
o Licence or bond schemes
you have been looking actively
o Transport costs
you will get 4 weeks in arrears.
· Floating support may still be used
We will also give you a further 4
but is by exception for in borough
weeks if necessary to give you
moves
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
Evidence
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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