Social Care Minimum Income Guarantee rates and claiming as a couple.

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Wiltshire Council should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Wiltshire Council,

Hello, could you please provide a list of the rates including premiums that you use for the minimum income guarantee for both assessment as a single person and as a member of a couple?

Please also state how these are adjusted from year to year.

Secondly, please say how assessment as a couple is done - in particular:
1) Whether a member of a couple in receipt of PIP/DLA in their own right but not receiving care from social services will have their PIP/DLA assessed as applicable income or not included as income in the calculations the way that earned income and WTC are not included?
2) How assessment as a couple is handled when both members are on benefits and which premiums and base rate are eligible for inclusion in a couple's MIG under point 69 of the fairer charging regulations namely that:
" Where an assessed charge for the individual user would reduce a couple or a household below basic levels of Income Support or guaranteed credit element of pension credit, plus a 25% buffer, taking account of the resources and expenditure of the couple or the household, as appropriate, then an assessment should be applied on the basis of the household."
3) What you are doing to follow the last part of regulation 47 namely:
"Councils should also try to ensure that an existing service user moving from receiving DLA to receiving a PIP is not made worse off as a result of the charging process where the level of DWP support has not changed. "

Yours faithfully,

R Thomas

FOI, Wiltshire Council

Good Afternoon,

Please accept this in acknowledgment of your request for information. Your reference is in subject line. We will respond within 20 days.

Kind Regards,

Josie

FOI
Information Governance

Email: [email address]
Web: www.wiltshire.gov.uk
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FOI, Wiltshire Council

Dear R Thomas,

Freedom of Information Request – Social Care Minimum Income

Thank you for your request for information dated 06 May 2020, in which you asked for the following information:

Hello, could you please provide a list of the rates including premiums that you use for the minimum income guarantee for both assessment as a single person and as a member of a couple?

Please also state how these are adjusted from year to year.

Secondly, please say how assessment as a couple is done - in particular:
1) Whether a member of a couple in receipt of PIP/DLA in their own right but not receiving care from social services will have their PIP/DLA assessed as applicable income or not included as income in the calculations the way that earned income and WTC are not included?
2) How assessment as a couple is handled when both members are on benefits and which premiums and base rate are eligible for inclusion in a couple's MIG under point 69 of the fairer charging regulations namely that:
" Where an assessed charge for the individual user would reduce a couple or a household below basic levels of Income Support or guaranteed credit element of pension credit, plus a 25% buffer, taking account of the resources and expenditure of the couple or the household, as appropriate, then an assessment should be applied on the basis of the household."
3) What you are doing to follow the last part of regulation 47 namely:
"Councils should also try to ensure that an existing service user moving from receiving DLA to receiving a PIP is not made worse off as a result of the charging process where the level of DWP support has not changed. "

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 ('the Act') The Council is obliged to:

• Let you know whether we hold the information you have requested
• Provide you with the requested information, if held, (subject to any exemptions under the Act which may apply).

I can confirm that Wiltshire Council holds the information you have requested. The information you requested is as follows:

Please provide a list of the rates including premiums that you use for the minimum income guarantee for both assessment as a single person and as a member of a couple?

The Department of Health issue guidance on the amounts of Minimum Income Guarantee each year in the form of a Local Authority Circular. The rates and premiums as guided by the 2020/21 circular are –

Single person

Aged 18-24£72.40
Aged 25 – Pension Credit Age£91.40
Pension Credit Age£189.00

In receipt of, or the local authority considers would, if in receipt of income support, be in receipt of –

Disability Premium£40.35
Enhanced Disability Premium£19.70

One of a couple

One or both aged 18 or over£71.80
One or both attained PC Age£144.30

One member of the couple is in receipt of, or the local authority considers would, if in receipt of income support, be in receipt of –

Disability Premium£28.75
Enhanced Disability Premium£14.15

For both single persons, and those who are one of a couple, where the adult concerned is in receipt of, or the local authority considers would, if in receipt of income support be in receipt of carer premium, the amount of the applicable premium is £43.25.

Where the adult concerned is responsible for, and a member of the same household as a child, the amount of £83.65 in respect of each child. This amount is halved if the adult concerned is one of a couple, and the partner shares parental responsibility.

1) Whether a member of a couple in receipt of PIP/DLA in their own right but not receiving care from social services will have their PIP/DLA assessed as applicable income or not included as income in the calculations the way that earned income and WTC are not included?

When assessing a person who is one of a couple, Wiltshire Council do not take into account any income, benefit or otherwise, received by the partner of the cared-for person when considering how much the cared for person can afford to pay. The only income applicable in the assessment is that which is received by the cared for person.

."
2) How assessment as a couple is handled when both members are on benefits and which premiums and base rate are eligible for inclusion in a couple's MIG under point 69 of the fairer charging regulations namely that: " Where an assessed charge for the individual user would reduce a couple or a household below basic levels of Income Support or guaranteed credit element of pension credit, plus a 25% buffer, taking account of the resources and expenditure of the couple or the household, as appropriate, then an assessment should be applied on the basis of the household

When assessing a person who is one of a couple, Wiltshire Council will ensure that the partner of the cared-for person is left with a minimum of the equivalent of the MIG. If the partner of the cared for person’s income does not meet that level, then a “shortfall” expense item is applied in the financial assessment against the cared-for person’s income effectively offsetting some of the cared-for person’s income against that of the partner and ensuring that as a household they retain the appropriate amount of income.

3) What you are doing to follow the last part of regulation 47 namely: "Councils should also try to ensure that an existing service user moving from receiving DLA to receiving a PIP is not made worse off as a result of the charging process where the level of DWP support has not changed. "

Wiltshire Council will complete all Financial assessments in line with the Care Act 2014. Whereby there has been a change to a customer’s income which has been led by the DWP, the Council will adjust the financial assessment to reflect this.

Information supplied under the Act may be subject to copyright protection under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. You may use the information provided in response to your request under the terms of the Open Government Licence.

If you are dissatisfied with the above response you have a right to request a review of your request for information. Details of the complaints and review procedure are below.

Yours sincerely

Kyle McCormack

Information Governance Officer
Email: [email address]

Freedom of Information Complaints & Review Procedure

Any person who has requested information from Wiltshire Council, which has been dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act is entitled to complain and request an internal review of their request for information if they are dissatisfied with the response they have received.

Requests for review of Freedom of Information requests must be made in writing (includes email) to:

Freedom of Information Lead
County Hall
Bythesea Road
Trowbridge
Wiltshire
BA14 8JN

Email [email address]

Please include the reference number, date of your request and details of why the review is being requested. Requests for review should be brought to the attention of the Freedom of Information Lead within 40 calendar days of the response to the original request.

Any request for review will be acknowledged in writing confirming the reasons for the review. The Freedom of Information Lead will allocate the review to someone who is independent of the original decision. The person conducting the review will set a target date for a response with the intention to complete the review within 20 working days. In more complex cases the review may take up to 40 working days.

The reviewer will conduct a full review of the handling of the request for information and of decisions taken, including decisions taken about where the public interest lies in respect of exempt information where applicable. The review enables a re-evaluation of the case, taking into account any matters raised by the requestor.

On completion of the review the reviewer will reply to the requestor with the result of the review. If the requestor is still dissatisfied following the review they should contact the Information Commissioner to appeal the decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted using the following details:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Tel: 0303 123 1113 (local rate)
01625 545 745 (national rate)
Email: [email address]

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Dear FOI,

So in one part you say the partner's income is not taken into account and in other part you talk about this shortfall expense item. For the purposes of meeting the income guarantee for the household, is the partner's PIP/DLA included in counting whether their income is below the MIG? If it is please state the basis for this since it runs counter to the basis of considering care PIP/DLA since this is only considered because you are meeting those care needs?

Yours sincerely,

R Thomas

FOI, Wiltshire Council

Thank you for your email.

I've directed your query to the service that provided the response and will await their clarification to your query.

Kind regards,

Kyle

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Dear FOI,

I have not received a response to this and it has been well over a month!

Yours sincerely,

R Thomas