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Turn2us Benefits and Grants update July 2015

Read the latest news about benefits and grants.

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Benefits

Benefits cap cut

George Osborne, has announced that the benefits cap will be cut to £23,000 in London and £20,000 outside the capital.

The benefit cap limits the amount in some benefits that working-age people can receive in a benefits year.

For details on the present benefit cap, see the Turn2us Benefit Cap information

For further details on the budget changes, see Gov.UK website: Fully Summer Budget 2015 document

Independent Living Fund closes

The Independent Living Fund (ILF) - which provides money to help people with disabilities live an independent life in the community - closes today (30 June 2015) (it has been closed to new applicants since 2010).

Funding will be incorporated into local social care arrangements through local councils in England and the devolved governments in Wales and Scotland will make their own arrangements.

People who already have ILF care packages will have to transfer to new local arrangements.

Read the Turn2us news story on the Independent Living Fund closure for more information


Maternity Allowance and self-employed women

Payment of Class 2 National Insurance contributions (NICs) for 6 April 2015 onwards will be collected as part of the Self Assessment process from April 2016 by HMRC.

As a result, Maternity Allowance claims from self-employed women expecting a baby on or after 12 July 2015 may have insufficient NICs to be entitled to standard rate Maternity Allowance on the date of their claim.

However, claimants satisfying the work test will receive a lower rate and have the option of paying sufficient Class 2 NICs, to be entitled to the standard rate.

Read the Turn2us Maternity Allowance information

Mortgage support for benefit claimants to be reduced

Homeowners receiving Income Support, income- based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Pension credit can qualify for help towards their mortgage interest payments know as Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI)

The amount of help that such homeowners can receive will be reduced from the 6 July 2015

The government uses a standard interest rate to work out how much help can be provided through SMI . The current interest rate applied is 3.63% but from 6 July 2015, the rate will be reduced to 3.12%.

For further details see the Turn2us Support for Mortgage Interest guide

Personal Independence Payment final phase rollout brought forward from October to July 2015

The DWP on 25 June 2015 issued an updated timetable bringing forward the date when claimants with an ‘indefinite’ or ‘lifetime’ award of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) will have to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

Claimants in the areas stated below  will now start being assessed for PIP from 13 July 2015, instead of from October 2015.

Areas: Blackburn, Bolton, Derby, Leicester, Manchester, Oldham, Preston, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington; and  Wigan.

By late 2017 all existing DLA claimants (aged 16 to 64 on 8 April 2013) will have been invited to claim PIP.

For further details on DWP bringing forward PIP rollout, see full statement from Minister for Disabled People (PDF file size 29.84kb)

Read the Turn2us Personal Independence Payment information

Tax credit renewals

Don't forget to remind any of your clients who are claiming tax credits that they need to renew them before Friday 31 July or their payments may stop.

Read the Turn2us news item: Don't forget to renew your tax credits

Grants

Turn2us Charity of the Month

Contact a Family: UK charity providing information, advice and support for families with disabled children.

Genetic Disorders UK grants for charities

Do you work for a UK-registered charity or support group that helps support children and families with genetic disorders?

Genetic Disorders UK (GDUK) is the UK charity which aims to change the world for children with genetic disorders. Its grant programme means that thousands of families with some of the rarest conditions in the world can benefit from the money raised on the annual fundraising day, Jeans for Genes Day.

If you are a UK-registered charity or support group which helps children and families with genetic disorders, you may be eligible to receive a Jeans for Genes Day grant, ranging from £500 to £25,000.

The charity will be welcoming applications until 30 September 2015. For information on how to apply, please visit the Apply for a Grant section of the Genetic Disorders UK website

Debt resources

Money Advice Trust launches new debt workshops materials for local organisations/community groups

The Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs National Debtline, has today launched a new set of free workshop materials designed to help community activists direct people who are struggling financially in their area to free debt advice services.

The charity’s new ‘Guiding people to free debt advice’ materials enable local organisations and community groups to facilitate the video workshop to inform volunteers  about what to do if someone comes to them with debt issues, and how to point people in the direction of free and high quality debt advice.

The two-hour workshop covers areas such as the various causes of debt, how to respond when someone reveals they are in debt, referring someone to suitable support and the debt advice process.

Access the Money Advice Trust free debt workshops materials

Date of publication: July 2015