United Kingdom - Article 28

I - The resources and income of disabled people.

  1. Are there specific legislative procedures for disabled people to enable them to have a minimum of resources ?
  2. Do laws exist in your country to enable a minimum of resources for people who become disabled during their working lives ?

II - Disability compensation.

I –THE RESOURCES AND INCOME OF DISABLED PEOPLE.

A) An average of 70% of blind and seriously partially-sighted people of working age are unemployed. Are there specific legislative procedures for disabled people in your country to enable them to have a minimum of resources?

Yes

  • If yes: what are these allowances?

There are multiple interacting allowances that are relevant. These include:

  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • Universal Credit

There are also extra costs benefits including:

  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit

Some of the above are specifically disability-related; some are not, but are disproportionately received by disabled people (because of greater vulnerability to low income); and some, while general, have disability-related components.

Give specific details of the following aspects:

 

  • 1 Criteria of eligibility
  1. Age
    • Minimum: - varies between benefits, but usually 16.
    • Maximum: - usually pension age.
  2. Level of disability: - varies – there are detailed criteria for different benefits and different amounts of benefit payable.
  3. Nationality: - there is a complex interaction between nationality/ immigration status and benefit entitlement, which varies with both type of benefit and nationality/ immigration status.
  4. Conditions of residence in the country: as c).

 

  • 2 Financial conditions.
  1. Ceiling.
    - Is the allowance means-tested?

    Some are means-tested (eg Universal Credit); some are not (eg PIP); and some have both contributory and means-tested variants (ESA and JSA).

  2. Calculation of financial conditions.

    - If the allowance is means-tested, state under what conditions.

    This varies greatly between benefits.
    If YES, does the ceiling take into account the family situation of the person?
    Means-tested benefits aggregate the resources and deemed requirements of couples. Children are mostly covered via CTC (which is means-tested) plus Child Benefit and (for disabled children) DLA (which are not).

  • 3 Amount of the allowance.
  1. Normal rate.
    What is the amount of the allowance given to people with no other income, state briefly how the allowance varies according to other income or resources.

    Benefit rates and thresholds vary greatly and structures are complex – see https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/480317/proposed_benefit_and_pension_rates_2016_to_2017.pdf
    These usually change annually in April via an inflation uprating, but some benefits are currently frozen and some have been designated for future reduction. The current position at any time can be found by using a search engine to locate “UK benefit rates”. (Please note that Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit are not included – for these, it is necessary to search for “UK tax and tax credit rates and thresholds”).

  2. Reduction of the allowance.

State briefly under what circumstances the allowance may be reduced.

There are three main circumstances:

  1. A change of household circumstances such as a partner moving out, a child becoming a “non-dependant” or a move to cheaper accommodation.
  2. Movement from a more to a less generous benefit – such as a disabled person being deemed fit for work and falling from ESA to JSA.
  3. Sanctions being imposed for an infringement of rules, such as an ESA or JSA claimant being late for an interview or failing to draft a CV.
  • 4 Minimum wage and “poverty line”.

- In order to compare the situation in different EBU member states, please indicate the minimum wage (if this exists in your country) for a full-time worker, and what is considered to be “the poverty line”.

The statutory National Minimum Wage (NMW) is currently £6.70 per hour for a worker aged 21 or over. (There are lower rates for younger workers). The NMW is periodically uprated. The current position at any time can be found at 

https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates

The poverty threshold was for some years measured as 60% of median incomes after housing costs, equivalised for household structure. The Government has recently moved to the “before housing costs” formulation and is currently legislating to remove a percentage-based statutory measure altogether.

Unofficial “minimum income standards” are regularly produced by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University, which provides an online calculator for different household circumstances at http://www.minimumincome.org.uk/

  • 5 Payment of the allowance.

 - What are the organisations which calculate and attribute the allowance?

Most benefits are administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) (a central Government department) – some centrally and some through a network of local offices. Tax Credits and Child Benefit are administered by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (although when Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit are absorbed into Universal Credit over the next few years, they will thereby revert to the DWP). Local authorities have a role, administering Housing Benefit (mainly according to centrally-determined rules) and some localised cash-limited funds, for example in relation to local taxation relief.

  • 6 Tax treatment of allowances and fringe benefits.
  1. Tax. Is the benefit subject to tax?

    Some benefits are subject to income tax and some are not – see https://www.gov.uk/income-tax/taxfree-and-taxable-state-benefits
     ESA is both taxable (contributory version) and non-taxable (means-tested version).

  2. Fringe benefits. Does this allowance accord any fringe benefits?

    Means-tested benefits confer entitlement to fringe benefits including health charge exemptions and free school meals. Locally, there may be benefits such as free access to, or concessionary charges for, sports and leisure facilities.

    PIP is covered separately under section II. 7. b) below.

B) Do laws exist in your country to enable a minimum of resources for people who become disabled during their working lives?

Yes

  • If yes : what is the name of the allowance ?

A person becoming disabled during their working life, if unemployed, will potentially be entitled to the range of benefits described in section A) above.

If they continue to work, they will potentially be entitled to in-work benefits. Most in-work benefits (Housing Benefit, Universal Credit, Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit, DLA, PIP) are available both in and out of work, the amount payable usually being determined by a means-test (except that Child Benefit is only means-tested for high earners and DLA and PIP are non-means-tested). Conversely, out-of-work benefits generally permit a (usually very) limited amount of earnings. The main exclusively in-work benefit is Working Tax Credit, although this is in the process of absorption into Universal Credit.

Specify by giving details of the following aspects:

 

  1. Criteria of eligibility
    As section A).
  2. Means test.
    As section A).
  3. Amount of the allowance.
    As section A).
  4. Attribution, payment of the allowance.
    As section A).
  5. Who attributes the allowance: State, local government, others, give details.
    As section A).
  6. Tax treatment of allowances and fringe benefits.
  1. Tax. Is the benefit subject to tax?
    As section A).
  2. Fringe benefits. Does this allowance accord fringe benefits?
    As section A).

II – DISABILITY COMPENSATION.

A visual disability (blindness or serious loss of sight) entails additional costs which must be met. Is there a specific allowance in your country to compensate for these costs?

Yes

If yes, give the name of this allowance and reply to the following questions.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) are designed to compensate for the additional costs of disability (including visual impairment). DLA is being phased out and replaced by PIP, so these answers relate to PIP.

  1. Eligibility conditions.

    1. Age.

      - Minimum: 16

      - Maximum: 65 (but with exceptions).

      - Duration of the allowance: - periodically reviewed (but renewable).

    2. Degree of disability.
      subject to detailed assessment (and there are both “daily living” and “mobility” components).
    3. Nationality.
      must not be a “person subject to immigration control” (but with exceptions) and there are detailed residence criteria.
    4. Conditions of residence in the country.
      as C)
    5. Other conditions, give details. none.
  2. Financial conditions.

    Non-means-tested.

  3. Amount of the allowance.

    - What is the amount of the allowance?

    Daily living component: £55.10 (standard rate) or £82.30 (enhanced rate).

    Mobility component: £21.80 (standard rate) or £57.45 (enhanced rate).

    These are the 2015-16 rates and are frozen at that level for 2016-17. Thereafter, check current position (see 3. a) above). Please note that the UK Government is currently considering creating a lower rate below the standard rate of daily living.

  4. Attribution and payment of the allowance.

    - Which organisations attribute and pay the allowance:
    State, local authorities, please give details.

  5. Payment of the allowance

    Usually every 4 weeks in arrears.

  6. Reduction of the allowance
    none
  7. Tax system of the allowance and fringe benefits
    a)Tax system
    Is the allowance subject to tax?
    NO
    b) Fringe benefits
    Does the allowance offer any fringe benefits?
    YES
    If YES, give details.
    These include “passporting” entitlement to certain other benefits or benefit components; exemption from the “benefit cap”; and (subject to certain conditions) parking, road tax and travel concessions.

    Compiled by Geoff Fimister, Campaigns Officer (Incomes)

    gfimister@rnib.org.uk