In this section
Further to the newsletter in January 2002, we have decided to dedicate this newsletter to the changes that will take place from 8 April as a result of the recommendations made in the report from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Most of the recommendations will be implemented by this date, but there are a few that need further clarification before policies can be put into place. These will be summarised in this newsletter.
We would also like to take this opportunity to welcome any contact officers that have been newly appointed.
For those of you who might be unaware of the Quinquennial Review, this has been undertaken by the DWP during 2001, and the subsequent report can be obtained on our website at www.irfs.org.uk
If you have any questions about the report please contact the Customer Services team at the ILF by phone or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Disregard of earnings
From 8 April 2002 the ILF will disregard all earnings of a client and/or their partner in our financial assessment (including earnings from self-employment).
Having looked at our records we have identified 3 groups of clients that this may affect:
· Those where we have calculated available income using earnings and the change in policy will mean a substantial increase in the amount we can offer.
· Those where the amount we pay is already close to our maximum payment, and the change in policy will mean some increase in the amount we can offer, but this will not be the full amount of earnings because of the cap on our payments (ie we will only pay the maximum payment).
· Those where our current financial assessment does not result in the client having to use any of their income other than half their DLA care component towards their care costs – in these cases the change in policy will not result in an increase in the offer.
The first 2 groups we will be revisiting (unless this has already been done very recently), and we will carry out a new assessment using up to date information and the new rules. Arrangements for the revisits have already been sent to the relevant clients.
Those who will not receive any increase will receive a paper review and will be reassessed to confirm that no increased offer can be made. These should be issued within the next couple of weeks.
New applications, where there are earnings or a tariff income, who have received an offer but have not yet taken this up, will be reassessed and a revised offer will be issued.
Changes to capital limit
From 8 April 2002 the limit on the amount of capital that a client and their partner can own (in aggregate) and still be eligible for help from the ILF will rise from £8,000 to £18,500.
Capital between £11,500 and £18,500 will attract a tariff income of £1.00 per week for every £250 (or part) above this base figure as part of our financial assessment. Previously capital between £3,000 and £8000 had attracted a tariff income.
We will be reassessing those clients where our records show they have a tariff income in the same way as those with earnings.
The requirement to tell us if a client enters hospital or residential care temporarily still remains, and payments will be suspended for these periods, consistent with current policy.
However, an application can be made to meet the cost of a retainer for privately employed assistants for a period of up to 4 weeks. Clients will be advised of this when they notify us of a temporary break in their care arrangements, but the onus will be on them to approach us for the retainer payment.
Notice of change of award
When there is a change which reduces the amount that we will pay a client, we will generally give them at least 4 weeks notice before we actually alter the payment.
From 8 April 2002, the maximum amount payable to Extension Fund clients will increase from £625 per week to £665 per week.
From the same date, the maximum sum that we are able to pay 93 Fund clients will increase from £375 per week to £395 per week. There are, however, some additional points to note about the increase for 93 Fund clients:
· For new applications, the joint contribution of ILF and SSD is currently restricted by a ceiling of £625 per week for the first 6 months. From 8 April 2002 this ceiling will increase to £665 per week.
· If the initial cost of a new package is £625 per week or less, the maximum payment from the Fund will remain at £375 per week as it is now. (This means that SSD will have to put in £250 per week towards a package that reaches the ceiling cost of £625 per week as now).
· If the initial cost falls between the old ceiling of £625 and the new ceiling of £665, the amount above £625 must be divided equally between SSD and ILF (ie SSD must provide at least one pound’s worth of services for every pound needed from ILF) see Example 1.
· Similarly, for existing clients, for increases above the old maximum payment of £375 per week that is required, any increase required over and above this must be equal between SSD and ILF (ie SSD must provide at least one pound’s worth of services for every pound needed from ILF) see Example 2.
· If we need to offer the client more money because we have changed our policy (eg financial assessment and disregarding savings) we are able to increase our payments up to the new maximum payment of £395 per week without having to ask the local authority for an increase to their contribution.
Example 1: new application
Net cost of package = £645
LA input = £250 + £10 = £260
ILF input = £375 + £10 = £385
Total = £645
Example 2: existing client
Net cost of package = £615
LA input £200 + £20 = £220
ILF input £375 + £20 = £395
Total = £615
Payment after death or residential care
The report following the Quinquennial Review recommends that payments should be able to be made to care assistants for up to 8 weeks following the death of the client. This policy will be drawn up when we have received more advice on the legal implications of this, and we will let you know as soon as we are in a position to implement the policy.
Annualised Maximum payment (averaging ILF award)
The report following the Quinquennial Review also recommends that payments from the ILF in any week can exceed the maximum sum if the annualised average weekly payment does not exceed this maximum payment.
This should enable the ILF to better meet such unexpected costs as replacement care where a regular personal assistant is on sick leave.
We are currently awaiting further details before we are able to draft a policy on this issue, but we intend to implement this as soon as clarification is received. We will, of course, inform you all as soon as this is the case.
ILF Client User Group
The Trustees, Chief Executive and Directors of the Fund have for some time now wanted to involve ILF clients in the Funds’ activities. During 2001, the Funds did a lot of work around researching and establishing a Client User Group. The purpose of the Client User Group is to improve the service the Funds give by getting feedback and advice from the people who use them.
A pilot group consisting of 93 Fund clients from the Nottingham City, Derby City, Leicester City and Sheffield City areas had its first meeting in September 2001. The group meets every two months and has had 3 meetings so far.
The Group is chaired by a 93 Fund client from Nottingham. The Group has discussed various topics at the meetings, for example how the ILFs communicate with their clients and how the Funds’ information literature could be improved.
The feedback and advice from the Group has been invaluable and some changes have already been made on the strength of it, for example the Funds have now adopted larger print and other, more accessible features, as standard for all written communications.
The Group has been so successful that its membership has been extended to include Extension Fund Clients, again from the Nottingham, Derby, Leicester and Sheffield areas. The first meeting of the extended Group is being held on 27 March, when the Group will be discussing issues around employing personal assistants.
After the Group has had six meetings, it will be reviewed to see how and in what format the group should continue. It may be that the Group is eventually extended to cover the whole of the UK, so watch this space for further news.