North East Suffolk

Our Services

Attendance Allowance (AA)

Attendance Allowance (AA)

This is a benefit for those with a disability or long-term health condition for people of State Pension age who are not already receiving PIP or DLA. This is a non-means-tested benefit.

There are two components: Lower rate and Higher rate, but unlike PIP and DLA there is no mobility component. This means that the Attendance Allowance does not facilitate eligibility for the Blue Badge or the Motability Scheme.

The above is general information only. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss entitlement.

We can help you with the application.

For more information on rates and eligibility please go to:

www.gov.uk/attendance-allowance

Carers Allowance (CA)

Carers' Allowance (CA)

This can be claimed by an informal (unpaid) carer – so usually a partner or family member – who is providing care for a person in receipt of the Attendance Allowance or Daily Living (or Care) component of PIP or DLA. To qualify, the carer must be providing at least 35 hours of care per week and have a weekly income at or below £132. People who are in full-time education or studying more than 21 hours per week will not be entitled to claim Carers Allowance.

Each of the above benefits can carry entitlement to Premiums or Elements. These are added amounts to other benefits that are means-tested. Individual circumstances will apply, so entitlement is not automatic. A person cannot claim Carers Allowance if the person they are caring for is in receipt of the Severe Disability Premium. A Carer may still qualify for additional amounts on means-tested benefits if weekly income is too high for entitlement to Carer’s Allowance.

The above is general information only. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss entitlement. For more information on rates and eligibility please go to:

www.gov.uk/carers-allowance

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

Disability Living Allowance provides help towards the extra costs of looking after a child who is under 16, has difficulties walking or needs much more looking after than a child of the same age who does not have a disability you can make a new claim for DLA for a child up until their 16th birthday. (If they are not already entitled to DLA, after 16 they need to consider a claim for Personal Independent Payment – PIP)
DLA for children has two parts or ‘components’.

CARE COMPONENT
For the extra personal care and supervision needed because of the child’s disability
The Care Component can be awarded at a Lower, Middle or Higher rate.

MOBILITY COMPONENT
For children with walking difficulties. The Mobility Component can be awarded at a Lower or Higher rate.
A child can be awarded Care only, Mobility only, or a combination of Care and Mobility.

  • DLA for children is a non-means-tested benefit. This means it does not depend on your household income.
  • DLA is a tax-free benefit. This means you will not have to pay tax on any monies awarded for DLA.
  • DLA is ignored in the calculations for other means-tested benefits but can be included in calculations for care and support services.

To claim DLA for a child you need to be their parent or look after them as if you’re their parent. This includes step-parents, guardians, grandparents, foster parents, or older brothers or sisters.

The above is general information only. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss entitlement. We can assist with applications.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

Employment and Support Allowance can no longer be claimed, DWP have replaced this with “New Style Employment and Support Allowance

If you are ill or have a health condition or disability that limits your ability to work, you may be able to get New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

New Style ESA is a fortnightly payment that can be claimed on its own or at the same time as Universal Credit (UC). If you get both benefits, your Universal Credit payment is reduced by the amount you get for New Style ESA.

New Style ESA is a contributory benefit. This means you may be able to get it if you’ve paid or been credited with enough National Insurance contributions in the 2 full tax years before the year you’re claiming in. 

Your (or your partner’s) savings will not affect how much New Style ESA you’re paid. If your partner works, it does not affect your claim.

Most income is not taken into account (but a personal pension can affect the amount you may receive).

While you receive New Style ESA you’ll earn Class 1 National Insurance credits, which can help towards your State Pension and other contributory benefits in the future.

It is a regular fortnightly payment.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

This is a benefit for people who are aged between 16 and State Retirement Pension age and have a disability or long-term illness that makes it difficult to perform daily tasks and/or get out and about. This is a non-means tested benefit. There are two components: Daily living and Mobility. A person may qualify for either one or both, and each has two rates – standard and enhanced. The severity of difficulty on performing activities within those components, will determine which rate applies.

PIP can lead to other entitlements, depending on individual circumstances. Being awarded the Mobility component at enhanced rate may give entitlement to: A Blue Badge parking permit, road tax exemption and the Motability Scheme. Being awarded the standard rate of the Mobility component can bring 50% road tax reduction.

For more information on rates and eligibility please go to:

www.gov.uk/pip/how-to-claim

The above is general information only. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss entitlement.

Universal Credit (UC)

Universal Credit (UC)

This is a means-tested benefit for people aged between 18 and State Pension age. In some cases, it can be payable to young people aged 16 to 17.

To qualify for Universal Credit, a person will have no or low income and £16,000 or below in savings.

This amount applies to individuals and couples.

However, any savings that a person or couple have between £16,000 and £6,000 will reduce the amount of Universal Credit payable. Savings at or below £6000 are disregarded.

Property ownership is not taken into consideration as long as it is the claimant’s main dwelling.

Also, disability benefit payments are not counted as income when calculating Universal Credit entitlement.

The amount of Universal Credit a person or a couple can receive will vary in accordance with their circumstances. Additional amounts are payable where there are children, adult care responsibilities and housing costs (usually meaning rent). Universal Credit also carries entitlement to help in several areas, such as health and childcare costs.

Universal Credit is intended as a short-term provision during interruption in opportunity for sufficient earned income. Claimants are encouraged to seek manageable employment that provides an income at a level that does not require long-term supplementation. However, within Universal Credit there is additional and continuing support for people who are not required to seek work due to a disability or long-term health condition and/or have significant caring responsibilities.

Being in receipt of a disability benefit, such as Personal Independence Payment, does not determine ability to work. Under Universal Credit rules, ability to work is assessed separately.

We can help you with the work capability assessment, so contact us.

For more information on Universal Credit, follow the link:

www.gov.uk/universal-credit

Council Tax

You could be eligible for a council tax reduction, if you’re on a low income or claim benefits. Your bill could be reduced by up to 100%.

You can apply if you own your home, rent, are unemployed or working.

What you get depends on:

  1. Where you live – each council runs its own scheme.
  2. Your circumstances (for example income, number of children, benefits, residency status).
  3. Your household income – this includes savings, pensions and your partner’s income.
  4. If your children live with you.
  5. If other adults live with you.

Please give us a call if you would like some help with this.

Grants

There are many grants available for disabled people, which you may be entitled to.  We can help you to apply, below are just some of the grants you may be entitled to.

  • Disabled facilities grant.
  • Essential household items.
  • Mobility and other equipment.

All grants may be means tested. Grants you may be able to access: Please follow the link to Disability Grants News for the latest in grants available for Disabled People and their families.

https://www.disability-grants.org/

Housing

We can help you to apply for housing, through Gateway to Homehoice, which is an online application.

Gateway to Homechoice – This is the housing application operated by East Suffolk Council (ESC) to be able to gain access to Social Housing. You have to make an application to this service to be able to bid on properties that are advertised by Local Councils and also Housing Associations. Once your application has been processed then you are able to bid on properties that you are eligible for, and you can make two bids per week. The bidding week starts on 12.00am Thursday Early hours and ends on Wednesday 12.00 Midnight. We are able to help with this application.

As part of this process if you have a physical health condition or mobility problem, you can fill out a Medical Questionnaire. We can help you to complete this form.

If you are on legacy benefits, then you may need to claim Housing Benefit and make an application to the Local Council. If you are claiming Universal Credit, or have been told you need to claim it, then you need to tell them that you have housing costs. This will include how much rent you pay a week or month and if you pay your rent over 50 weeks or 52 weeks. They may also need to know if you have “under occupancy” Also known as “Bedroom tax” this will mean any bedroom that is not being used. There are exceptions to this if you have a carer that stays over, need to have medical equipment or there is a medical reason why you are unable to share a room with your partner.

If you are struggling to move, there is a website called “House Exchange” you can register with this service. It can be reached through East Suffolk Council’s Website. You will need to have a clear rent account and also have the agreement of your landlord. If you exchange properties, even if in another area, you will exchange as seen. Please be aware of any issues with the property before agreeing to the exchange.

If you have a Disability or Health Condition and have a housing problem and need advice around this issue, please contact us and we help you to try to resolve the problem.

Challenging Your Award

Mandatory Reconsiderations

If you don’t agree with a benefit decision, you can challenge it.

We are happy to help you decide whether to ask for mandatory reconsideration or not, explain the process and support you if you wish. Please feel free to contact us to discuss this further.

Mandatory Reconsideration is when you ask the DWP to look at their decision again. This needs to be done within one month of receiving your original decision – so it is important to ask for this as soon as possible.

It can be requested over the phone or ideally in writing, you will need to explain why you think the decision they have made is wrong and send any additional evidence or documents to support your reasons. Then we can help you do this

It is important to remember that a revised decision will replace the original one, and it will not necessarily mean that you are better off. Your benefit could be:

  • Continued at the same rate.
  • Increased.
  • Reduced.
  • Stopped altogether.

More information can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/mandatory-reconsideration

Appeals

Once you have requested a Mandatory Reconsideration and received the decision, if you disagree and remain unhappy then you can register an Appeal and request a tribunal hearing. This should be done within one month of receiving the decision.

Please feel free to contact us to discuss any queries you may have concerning an Appeal and whether this is the right option for you, if it is, then we can help with the Appeal process if you wish.

Please note, if you’re appealing a decision about Universal Credit, the DWP will send the notice to your online account and you’ll need to print it out.

Upon receipt of your appeal request, HMCTS will check things and ask the DWP to respond to your appeal within 28 days. Once the DWP respond, HMCTS will send you:

  • A copy of the response.
  • Details of what happens next, including when and where the hearing will be.
  • All the evidence HMCTS have received from the DWP – this is called the ‘appeal bundle’.

As with a Mandatory Reconsideration, the new decision will replace any current one and you could have any of the following outcomes.

  • Continued at the same rate.
  • Increased.
  • Reduced.
  • Stopped altogether.

NOTE

If you are thinking about claiming a higher rate of benefit to that which you are currently receiving because your circumstances have changed, then it is important to check matters in more depth and/or seek advice before proceeding. This is because when the Department for Work and Pensions are asked to review a person’s benefit entitlement, one of four things will happen:

  1. It will stay the same.
  2. It will go up.
  3. It will go down.
  4. It will be withdrawn.
Suffolk Disability Advice - Sunflower Photo

Notices

See below for latest news, announcements, events, vacancies & more...

Workability in Waveney...

We believe many workplaces are missing out on a great source of talented and committed employees. Workability in Waveney offers 1:1 sessions focusing on wellbeing for volunteers, trainees or employees.

Carers Natter...

Come along to our Carers Support Group. Starting Wednesday 10th January 2024 ~ 10am to 12 midday.
Download the PDF below for full details and further dates throughout the year.

Soup & Roll ~ come and join us...

Every Tuesday & Thursday, 10am - 2.00pm. Download full info/invite below...

Outreach Times & Places...

Contact us for information and appointments for our outreach times...

  • Lowestoft Job Centre
  • Beccles Job Centre
  • Bungay surgery
  • Marram Green in Kessingland