Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Living expenses omitted from LA financial assessments if adult continues to live in family home

gillycuddygillycuddy Member Posts: 4 Listener
Hi All
I am new to the adult world as my daughter with cerebal palsy just turned 18.
She receives care and support through social services which she has had all her life - but now that she is 18 and has an income (via benefits) in her own right she can be charged. That is fair enough. What isn't fair in my view is that all her living expenses (including board/rent/social etc) are supposedly all wrapped up in the Minimum income guarantee, and therefore all her income outside of this can be legitimately sought by the local authority (aside from the Disability related expenses). There is no allowance for any rent or board she may be paying at home.
My point is - my husband and I have had to reduce our work commitments to cope with her continuing care and we were relying on the rent/board she was providing us while she is still at home - however I was told point blank by the LA that there was no allowance for this if the person lived at home - it was only if they were living separately and claiming housing benefit. This feels very much like discrimination to me - and further pushing the burden back on the parents. I would have thought it reasonable for any adult to expect to contribute for rent and board where ever they lived.
I would welcome any comments, views or experiences from others who have had a similar experience
Many thanks

Replies

  • Antonia_ScopeAntonia_Scope Member Posts: 1,783 Pioneering
    Welcome to the community @gillycuddy thank you for sharing this with us, I am sorry to hear about this. Some of our members may relate to your situation and share some suggestions. Please keep us updated.
  • sheZZasheZZa Member Posts: 232 Pioneering
    I dont know if this still applies as it was approx 15/16 years ago. I was carer for my son who was about 10 years old. I also worked as a special needs assistant in a primary school. I went on a course re: financial support, power of attorney etc. for dependants with a disability.  At the course it was said that if you were caring for anyone they had to have their own front door and key to be able to claim housing benefit ie if you built an extension on your home for them, if it had its own front door, they were eligible for h/b but if they lived with you in your house they were not. (I hope that makes sense).
  • BenistmonkBenistmonk Member Posts: 343 Pioneering
    You're a resident landlord if you let out part of a property which is your only or main home. ... you may be able to earn £7,500 per year tax-free under the Rent a Room Scheme. you can give less notice to end a letting than if you rented out the property as a whole.

    That's from the gov.UK website.
  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Member Posts: 7,732 Disability Gamechanger
    @BenefitsTrainingCo can you help?
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    edited March 2019
    I'm really sorry - this is a question about charging for social care provided at home. It's not a benefits question and we are not experts in this area. 
    As you know the minimum income guarantee is a set amount. It doesn't include an amount for housing costs. This is because if your daughter lived separately, and had a liability to pay rent, she could claim help with this via Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. Disability-related expenses don't include anything for housing although some disability-related expenditure may be attached to the expenses you have because your daughter lives with you (for example, extra heating costs or extra costs of laundry if this is because of her disability).

    Another point is that if you were to have to claim benefits yourself, because your daughter is on disability benefits, you wouldn't see any deduction from the housing costs you could claim for - in other words it would not be assumed that she makes a contribution. She is not expected to contribute to rent/board in the benefits system unless she lives independently and is actually liable to pay rent. But I realise that is of little help where you are not claiming benefits yourself. 

    I can't comment on whether the system would be seen as discriminatory but you could contact various bodies who might have a view on this, for example, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (via EASS). As you say, you've had to reduce your working hours to manage with your daughter's care. However, I'm not sure that you'd be able to make out a discrimination ground and it's not something we can advise on.

    The only other things I can suggest is that you check you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to yourselves. And to look at the disabilitly-related expenditure assessed by the local authority and make sure it is accurate. In general payments to relatives are not disability-related expenses, but it may be that you can think more closely about whether any of your household expenses (heating, washing etc) are higher because of your daughter's disability - if so and your daughter contributes to these bills, that would seem to me to be disability-related expenditure.

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • gillycuddygillycuddy Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Hi Will, thanks for your comprehensive reply. You are right it is not a question re benefits. I’m sorry if it was mistakenly taken up in that way. My point was always around an adult (with an income - albeit a benefits income) living at home should be expected to contribute towards rent/bills and specifically the Council should allow for those rent and bills in their Financial asssement for Non residential charging. The Law (2014 care Act) says as much.. and the form they ask you to complete asks you specifically for these costs. However once they noted that she lives at home they said they wouldn’t allow any costs for her. It all hinges on the definition of “rent”. I suppose it’s not so much discrimination as the Councils application of the intent of the Care Act (charging sections)... I have worked hard to prove her disability related expenses so there is nothing further to go at there, but I will keep exploring other avenues to pursue... thanks again for your reply

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