Click here to skip to content

Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2001): Social Security - UK

BOOST FOR CARERS

E. Bergin

Disability Rights Bulletin, Winter 2000, p.16-17

Presents an overview of government proposals for improvements to carer's benefits. These include a £10.00 a week increase in the carer's premium in income support, housing benefit and council tax benefits, extension of invalid care allowance claims to carers over 65, and linking the earnings threshold for invalid care allowance to the national insurance lower earnings limit.

"HELP SQUAD" TO SORT OUT HOUSING BENEFIT CHAOS

J. Carvel

Guardian, Dec 11th 2000, p.10

The Department of Social Security is to appoint a "help squad" to sort out the worst bottlenecks in processing Housing Benefit claims and will simplify the benefit rules to help claimants.

(See also Independent, Dec 12th 2000, p.15).

NEST EGG SCHEME COULD BE A WINNER AT POLLS

N. Timmins

Financial Times, Dec 18th 2000, p.21

The idea of giving every child a cash gift for use in paying for education, setting up a business or buying a first home is gaining popularity with both the Conservative and Labour parties.

PARENTS COULD BE PAID TO STAY AT HOME

S. Hall

Guardian, Dec 29th 2000, p.8

Harriet Harman has called for mothers to be offered a "toddlers tax credit" of up to £150 a week to enable them to stay at home for the first three years of their children's lives. Mothers would receive income from the government which they could use to fund a variety of options such as part time working, paying a grandparent to care for the child, or purchasing childcare. This would replace the present childcare credit.

(See also Daily Telegraph, Dec 29th 2000, p.8).

PAYMENTS FOR MOVING IN TORY BENEFIT PLAN

S. Hall

Guardian, Jan 4th 2000, p.8

The Conservatives are proposing the introduction of cash incentives to persuade people on housing benefit to move to smaller homes. Those living in inappropriately large houses who move to smaller accommodation would be given the difference in benefit for two years with the option of receiving this as a lump sum.

SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD BILL

London: TSO, 2000 (House of Lords Bills, 2000/01; 17)

Measure will give Dept of Social Security investigators authority to inspect the bank and building society accounts of suspected benefit cheats and obtain information from credit card companies. They will also be able to request information from educational establishments and gas, water, electricity and telephone companies to facilitate investigation of housing benefit fraud under which people use empty homes as false addresses. The Bill allows the DSS to launch a fraud enquiry if a claimant is considered "likely" to break the benefit rules.

TAX AND BENEFITS: DESIGNING EQUALITY INTO THE SYSTEM

A. McKnight

New Review of the Low Pay Unit, no.66, 2000, p.16-18

Low paid work is linked with social exclusion and poverty over a lifetime and across generations. Women are particularly badly affected because, if their pay when working is below the national insurance threshold, they do not qualify for contribution-based benefits when out of work and are therefore not recognised as officially unemployed. Working families with dependent children on low wages qualify for in-work benefits to supplement wages. However these can drive down wages and in the case of couples, leave little incentive for a second person to find work.

TAX CUT "FAILING TO GET PARENTS BACK TO WORK"

E. Judge

Times, Jan 8th 2001, p.11

A survey by the National Association of Day Nurseries shows that the Working Families Tax Credit is not an incentive for many jobless parents to enter work because it is not enough to meet childcare costs. Some also exploit a loophole which allows them to use money meant for childcare for other purposes.

TOO MUCH PRESSURE

J. Blake

Roof, Jan/Feb 2001, p.24-27

The Housing Benefits system is in crisis with many claimants suffering long delays. This is due to: disastrous local privatisations, verification framework implementation, over-regulation by central government and local authority inefficiency.

WELFARE BENEFITS SCREENING AND REFERRAL: A NEW DIRECTION FOR COMMUNITY NURSES?

R. Hoskins and D.E. Carter

Health and Social Care in the Community, vol.8, 2000, p.390-397

Paper suggests that community nurses can address adverse life circumstances by finding ways of improving the economic status of their most vulnerable clients, and that one way of doing this would be to ensure that clients claim their full quota of welfare benefits.

WELFARE REFORM STARTS TO BITE

A. Hawksworth

Disability Rights Bulletin, Winter 2000, p.2-4

Overview of the changes in a raft of social security benefits for the disabled which are due to come into force in April 2001. Covers changes in Severe Disablement Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, benefits for people who are widowed and means tested benefits.