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Re: "Ask the expert" - Tuesday 9 June

Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 11:24 am
by Scally
I'll add an explanation to 3.

I'm suggesting that carers and carees might consider the potential advantages of just having a shared bank account and leasing a shared family car from it, rather than assigning the mobility benefit specifically to the car lease or use motability, as the DWP has no means of intruding into shared accounts or shared car use, but is this strictly the case?

Re: "Ask the expert" - Tuesday 9 June

Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 12:39 pm
by Simon_1501
Hello Jen
I have some questions for you.

1. Help and support; for from the government
2. Benefits; carers ect
3. Healthy eating; meals
4. Places to go for free; carers and the person cared for
5. Eating; meals
6. housing: advice
7. For the person cared for; Ld

This a list of things

Re: "Ask the expert" - Tuesday 9 June

Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 12:58 pm
by Carers UK Adviceline
Eun wrote:How exactly are the 24/7 carers supposed to get a break wheb the childrens hospices have introduced a cut off age and the adult hospices don't offer respite care? This is our situation.

Eun
Hi Eun,

Thanks for your question.

Arranging services

It sounds as though your son has been assessed as needing respite care, but that this is potentially not happening due to the availability of services in your area. Although apologies if I am incorrect about this.

I am unsure whether you arrange services for your son yourself, or if everything is arranged through the council. I have therefore outlined the different options with regards to arranging services in case this is an option which you have not explored.

The Scottish Government has passed legislation called the Social Care (Self Directed Support) Act 2013 which means that all councils must offer self-directed support. There are four different options for self-directed support:
• Option 1: a direct payment to purchase support.
• Option 2: to choose support while the council holds the money and arranges the chosen support on your behalf.
• Option 3: to choose to have the council select the appropriate support and arrange it.
• Option 4: a mix of options 1,2 and 3 for specific aspects of your support.

Therefore, if you feel there is an appropriate service available for your son, but it is not one that the council will arrange themselves, you could explore the option of arranging services yourselves (although the council would have to agree that these would meet your son’s needs). If this is not a route you want to go down, or if you have already been down this route unsuccessfully, then you could make a complaint to the council if they are not meeting your son’s (or your own) needs.

Making a complaint

To make a complaint you could firstly try to resolve the issue informally by speaking to the relevant person (ie a social worker) or the relevant department of the council.

If you are unable to resolve the issue informally then you can make a formal complaint through the council complaints procedure. The council should give you a copy of their complaints procedure if you ask for it. To find your council contact details you can enter your postcode into the following link: https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council. The council should acknowledge the complaint within five working days of the date on which it receives the complaint, and you should receive a reply within 28 days which outlines the council’s findings. This reply should also explain that if your complaint is still not resolved you have the right to request a review by a complaints review committee (CRC).

If you want a CRC you must ask the council for this within 28 days of receiving their reply to your formal complaint. A CRC is a committee of three people (one of who must be independent from the local authority) who can look at your complaint. A CRC should then report their findings within 56 days of your request. A CRC can make recommendations to the council to try to resolve the complaint, although the council is not obliged to accept the recommendations. The council should notify you of any actions that they will be taking following the recommendations within 42 days from the date the CRC made their recommendations.

If you are unhappy with the outcome of your formal complaint, you can see whether the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman will investigate the complaint. The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman will only normally consider investigating the complaint if the council have had a change to resolve the situation themselves, which is why you need to go through the formal complaints procedure first. However, if the council has delayed unreasonably in processing the complaint, the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman may agree to investigate the complaint anyway. You can find out more about the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman on their website: http://www.spso.org.uk/.

I hope this helps. If you have any further questions then then do get back in touch with the Carers UK Adviceline.

Kind regards,
Jen

Re: "Ask the expert" - Tuesday 9 June

Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:17 pm
by Carers UK Adviceline
Scally wrote:I have several questions about car expenses: given that many households do not keep separate personal accounts, as all the money goes into a single pot and is then spent for the benefit of all, including the shared use of a single family car.

1. Can car lease costs be deducted either:
a) in full or
b) in part from the carers earnings as a work-related expense where a vehicle is required to do the job?

2. Can a carer use a caree's motability car to commute to work, or indeed for work-related travel?

3. Can a car lease that is actually paid for in full or in part by Motability or simply using the caree's Mobility benefits to pay for a lease also be deducted from earnings?
Thanks for your question.

Carer's Allowance earnings deductions

I am assuming that you are talking about earnings for Carer’s Allowance purposes, and whether expenses can be deducted from earnings for this purpose, although apologies if I am incorrect about this.

For Carer’s Allowance purposes, from your gross weekly earnings, the things you can deduct include:
• Income tax, national insurance contributions (Class 1, 2 or 4) and half of any contribution you make to an occupational or personal pension.
• Expenses ‘wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred in the performance of the duties of employment’, which could include equipment, special clothing, travel between workplaces (but not travel between home and work).

If there is some element of personal use then the part of the expenses for business use can still be deducted. So for example, if you have a car and use it for your personal life as well as business, the business elements should still be able to be deducted.

For Carer’s Allowance purposes, there are also certain business expenses you can deduct for loans/hiring costs (this is in relation to those who are self-employed). There is a Decision Makers Guide which gives some examples, including:
• certain capital repayments on a loan used to
- replace an item of equipment or machinery that has worn out in the course of the business or
- become outdated or
- repair an existing asset (for these purposes an asset includes buildings, plan machinery, vehicles or equipment),
• hire or rental costs, but not any capital or purchase elements
• interest payable on a mortgage, loan, credit sale, consumer credit agreement or a hire purchase agreement - this does not include any capital element
• transport, for example business use of the car including petrol costs, road fund license, insurance and servicing, but excluding any home to work costs

Therefore, if your situation does fall within one of these points, it is certainly worth speaking to the Carers Allowance Unit to see if this is an allowable expense.

Use of the Motability Scheme

On the Motability Scheme website it says that one of the conditions of the scheme is that:

‘The car is used by, or for the benefit of, the disabled person. This does not mean that the disabled person needs to be in the car for every journey. In practice, this means other named drivers in the household can use the car for shopping and other routine activities, as long as the disabled customer will benefit.’.

It therefore does not say that a carer can use the car for employment purposes, although it is worth running it past the Motability Scheme if you feel that this is of benefit to the person you care for, just to see whether this would ever be considered in this manner (0300 456 4566).

Can Motability payments be used as expenses for Carer's Allowance

I would have thought that only expenses actually paid out can be deducted from earnings for Carer’s Allowance purposes, meaning that if the expenses have not been paid by the carer, they would not be able to be deducted.

I hope this helps. If you have any further questions then do get back in touch with the Carers UK Adviceline.

Kind regards,
Jen

Re: "Ask the expert" - Tuesday 9 June

Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:47 pm
by Scally
Thanks,
If there is some element of personal use then the part of the expenses for business use can still be deducted. So for example, if you have a car and use it for your personal life as well as business, the business elements should still be able to be deducted.
It is a funny area: sure the business travel costs can be deducted, whether that is a proportion of a lease or presumably petrol and running costs, albeit there is no guidance on what is a reasonable amount to claim - I guess Treasury rate would be fair, 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles. Actually I think the guidance is very weak in this area, unless you know better - what would you advise to avoid falling foul of the DWP?

The more astute carer might notice that most people do receive expenses from their employer for mileage necessarily incurred in the course of their employment, and that only earnings, not refunded expenses, need to be declared, so this might be one of those handy little oversights or loopholes in the regulations that make life a little easier for carers in work.

Re: "Ask the expert" - Tuesday 9 June

Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:56 pm
by Carers UK Adviceline
Simon_1501 wrote:Hello Jen
I have some questions for you.

1. Help and support; for from the government
2. Benefits; carers ect
3. Healthy eating; meals
4. Places to go for free; carers and the person cared for
5. Eating; meals
6. housing: advice
7. For the person cared for; Ld

This a list of things
Hi Simon,

Thanks for your questions. I have provided some sources of additional information on the topics you raised.

Information on help and support from your local council can be found here: http://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice ... nd-support.

Information on benefits can be found here: http://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice ... h-benefits.

Information on health and nutrition can be found here: http://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/health.

Information on places that carers can attend for free might be something that a local carer’s centre could advise on. You can search for your local carer’s centre here: http://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice ... al-support.

We aren’t housing specialists here at Carers UK so you might find Shelter’s website useful: http://england.shelter.org.uk/.

If you have any specific questions then please do get back in touch with the Carers UK Adviceline.

Kind regards,
Jen

Re: JUNE ROLL CALL

Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 2:52 pm
by bowlingbun
I've just been reading the "ask the expert" questions and answers. Why can't we have this more often, not reserved for Carers Week? It's all very well forum members answering questions to the best of their ability, but we don't have easy access to the level of information Jen does. What do others think?

Re: "Ask the expert" - Tuesday 9 June

Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 3:03 pm
by Carers UK Adviceline
Scally wrote:Thanks,
If there is some element of personal use then the part of the expenses for business use can still be deducted. So for example, if you have a car and use it for your personal life as well as business, the business elements should still be able to be deducted.
It is a funny area: sure the business travel costs can be deducted, whether that is a proportion of a lease or presumably petrol and running costs, albeit there is no guidance on what is a reasonable amount to claim - I guess Treasury rate would be fair, 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles. Actually I think the guidance is very weak in this area, unless you know better - what would you advise to avoid falling foul of the DWP?

The more astute carer might notice that most people do receive expenses from their employer for mileage necessarily incurred in the course of their employment, and that only earnings, not refunded expenses, need to be declared, so this might be one of those handy little oversights or loopholes in the regulations that make life a little easier for carers in work.
Thanks for your response.

To avoid falling foul of the DWP we would advise, as you suggest, not to stray too far from the HMRC guidance on allowable mileage. For those who are new to this issue, these rules are explained in a reasonably accessible way at: https://www.gov.uk/expenses-and-benefit ... el-mileage.

This is a complicated area so if you have any questions do contact the Carers UK Adviceline.

Kind regards,
Jen

Re: JUNE ROLL CALL

Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 3:21 pm
by Henrietta
bowlingbun wrote:I've just been reading the "ask the expert" questions and answers. Why can't we have this more often, not reserved for Carers Week? It's all very well forum members answering questions to the best of their ability, but we don't have easy access to the level of information Jen does. What do others think?
Just what I was thinking BB- adn I don't mean facebook but on here like this. Some of us don't like FB!

Re: "Ask the expert" - Tuesday 9 June

Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 4:23 pm
by Carers UK Admin
I'd like to say a huge thank you to Jen for joining us today to answer all your questions. Remember that you can contact the Carers UK Adviceline on 0808 808 7777 (Mon-Fri, 10am-4pm) or email them at any time at advice@carersuk.org

Thank you also to everyone who asked questions. I'm really glad people found it useful. As far as I know we haven't had an advice session on the forum before, so Carers Week was the perfect opportunity to give it a go.

Hopefully we will be able to run more in the future. As I'm sure you appreciate, our Advice and Information team are really busy and unfortunately the demand for the service is greater than what we're able to provide, meaning that some people do call and are unable to get straight through to an adviser. Because of this we're not always able to take advisers off the Adviceline to do a forum or Facebook Q&A. However, we're always aiming to deliver information in lots of different formats (over the phone, email, the forum, social media, the website) and hopefully we will be able to have sessions like this in the future.

I'm going to lock the thread now as Jen won't be able to respond directly to messages posted here.

Thanks again for taking part!