Finance and Benefits

Your Local Authority's Social Services departments are responsible for assessing people’s needs for community care services; and, where there is a need should provide an appropriate service.

'Assessing needs' simply means finding out what help or support you may need. This may be providing services to support people in their own homes or to provide a place in a care home.

Anyone who believes that they need assistance, either to continue to live at home or because they can no longer manage at home, is entitled to ask for an assessment of need.

The assessment should focus on key aspects:

  • Your wishes and feelings about the way you would prefer to live.
  • Your state of health – both physical and mental.
  • Risks from your illness or disability.
  • Your home environment in relation to your condition.
  • Whether anybody looks after you.

Some authorities will only undertake assessments to assess your needs if you meet their criteria. You may, for example, be asked about your financial circumstances. If it seems likely that you would have to pay for the service you may be referred directly to the service provider, rather than being formally assessed.

Of course, any gaps between what Social Services can provide and the needs of the person can be met by the private sector paid for by the insurance company.

If Social Services agree to provide or arrange services, they should produce a care plan which will set out the services to be provided. The services may be provided by Social Services directly or they may outsource the care needs to an agency or even make direct payments to you to fund your own care package.

Very few Local Authorities now provide assistance purely with domestic tasks, if that is all you need. Local Authorities’ resources have to be concentrated on the most deserving individuals and assistance tends to focus on actual care such as assisting people with getting dressed, having a bath or shower, getting to the toilet, or making a meal. This emphasises the need, in appropriate cases, to ensure that other requirements not covered by Social Services are met by the private sector and funded by the insurer.

Applying for benefits

If you are the main earner in your family, there will be an ever increasing need for an income. We can of course look to recover interim payments from the insurance company to ease the financial burden. It may also be necessary to apply for benefits. Claiming benefits can be very confusing and you may need to be guided by us.

Some benefits are dependent on what your income or savings are. These are called means tested benefits and include:

  • Pension Credit
  • Council Tax benefit
  • Housing benefit

Benefits which are not means tested include:

  • Incapacity benefit - paid to people who became incapable of work before 27 October 2008 and who had paid or been credited with sufficient National Insurance contributions
  • Employment Support Allowance (Contributory) – paid to people who became incapable of work on or after 27 October 2008 and who had paid or been credited with sufficient National Insurance contributions

To be entitled to these benefits your overall National Insurance contributions will be considered.

Some benefits are paid if your disability meets certain requirements. They are not assessed with reference to income, savings or National Insurance contributions and include:

Disability living allowance

This is paid to those under 65 years of age and is divided into care and mobility components. It is primarily assessed by what function a person has:

  • Carers component - compensate for care provided and is split into the lower, middle and higher rates
  • Mobility component - to assist with mobility and is paid at the higher or lower rate
  • Attendance Allowance - This can be paid to those over 65

However since 10 June 2013 Personal Indpendent Payments (PIPs) have replaced all new claims for Disability living allowance (DLA) for anyone aged 16 to 64 and it is planned that PIPs will replace all DLA claims entirely by 2018,

Industrial injuries disablement benefit

This is paid to those who have suffered a personal injury in an industrial accident and there has been a loss of faculty arising from the injury. Self employed people are excluded. Constant Attendance Allowance can be paid if the person needs constant attendance.

Benefits Changes

Universal Credit is a new benefit which has started replacing:

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance (Contributory)
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit

with a simpler, single monthly payment if you are out of work or on a low income. Universal Credit was introduced on 29 April 2013 in selected areas and will be gradually rolled out to all of the UK from October 2013, to be completed by 2017.  So at this time, your eligibility to claim Universal Credit depends on where you live as well as your personal circumstances.  If you already claim one of the benefits being phased out, you will continue to do so as normal and you will be told when Universal Credit will affect you.

Head Injury UK: Help ease your financial worries

Your Head Injury UK solicitor will guide you through the benefits process, ensuring that you receive any state benefits to which you are entitled, as well as securing early interim payments from the insurance company where possible.  We are also able to make sure that interim payments do not affect any benefits claim.

Head Injury UK: Free Initial Consultation

If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury it is vital you receive specialist legal advice.

Contact us for your free initial consultation.

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