Other benefits (COVID 19)
Updates on other benefits during the coronavirus pandemic including carers, children and the recovery of over-payments.
The Carers Support Fund
The Welsh Government Carers Support Grant is now open for applications. Carers in Swansea can apply directly to the fund by contacting the Carers Centre (https://www.swanseacarerscentre.org.uk/carers-support-fund-wales/) who will advise and help people to make the application.
The grant is designed to alleviate hardship and isolation for unpaid carers this winter. Whilst the grant is not means-tested, it is for carers experiencing hardship and is based on whether the item or help applied for will make a difference to their life. This is not a cash grant and will not be available to partially fund an item. The maximum grant available is £300 and only one grant per household will be allowed.
Examples of items that could be funded include (not an exhaustive list):
- white goods
- food shopping vouchers
- TV license
- bedding, pots, pans
- access to the internet
The fund is open to all carer's young and old and is not dependent on receiving Carer's Allowance. Young carers are often overlooked and could really benefit from a grant to help them purchase equipment in order to assist them to access or remain in education.
The grant is available until 31 March 2021.
Carer's Allowance is a benefit that can be claimed by carers who are providing care for 35 hours a week, have earnings of less than £128.00 per week, are not in full-time education and the person they are caring for receives a disability benefit (Attendance Allowance; Disability Living Allowance with the middle or higher rate care component; Personal Independence Payment with either rate of the Daily Living Component).
Universal Credit, Carer Element
If you are caring for 35 hours a week and the person you are caring for receives a disability benefit you might be able to receive an additional element within your Universal Credit award;
The word 'care' has not been defined and can include emotional support.
Carers can continue to be entitled to Carer's Allowance / Carers Element of UC if they have to have temporary breaks in caring due to either you or the person you are caring for either being infected with; or require to isolate due to coronavirus.
BEWARE: If you receive a payment of Carer's Allowance or the Carer Element within your award of Universal Credit, it could have a significant financial impact on the person you are providing care to. Please seek advice before making a claim.
Discretionary Assistance Fund
Welsh Government's Discretionary Assistance Fund provides two types of grants to Welsh residents over the age of 16. These payments are to help families where they have exhausted all other avenues of financial support.
- Individual Assistance Payments - which help vulnerable people who are in receipt of either Universal Credit; Income Support; Income-Based Jobseeker's Allowance; Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance; or Pension Credit guarantee, to enable them to live independently in the community. Applications for an Individual Assistance Payment can only be made with the support of an approved partner organisation.
- Emergency Assistance payments - are available to help those who are in financial need because they have experienced an emergency or disaster.
During this crisis, Welsh Government have made the following temporary changes to the criteria for Emergency Assistance Payment (EAP).
Current rules to support coronavirus impact
To provide more help for those households facing exceptional hardship because of the coronavirus crisis, until the end of September 2021 you can be awarded a maximum of 5 Emergency Assistance Payments.
Where greater discretion can be applied
Clients genuinely impacted by coronavirus will be considered under the following:
- Lost income and new claim for benefit eg. interim period setting up a new client to DWP benefits or amending DWP benefit for an existing client.
- Drop in income and not eligible for Universal Credit eg. one partner loses their income.
- Incurred additional essential living expense eg. spending more on gas, electric and food as a result of self-isolating and impact of children being home. This can now include a contribution towards the cost of off-grid oil or LP gas until 31 March 2021.
Clients must fill in the coronavirus questions/evidence section in the online application. The application will ask for bank details. Awards will be made by BACS (paid into a bank account). Other payment method will be available for exceptional circumstances eg. no mainstream bank account.
How to apply
Online: Apply online via the website: gov.wales/discretionary-assistance-fund-daf/how-apply
Applications can also be made by post: Download the form - https://gov.wales/discretionary-assistance-fund-daf-application-form
The telephone lines are often busy and telephone applications take up to 20 minutes to complete and we are open between 9.30am and 4.00pm Monday to Friday on 0800 8595 924 (free from a landline) or 033 0101 5000 (local rate).
Registering a birth in Swansea is currently by appointment only and there is a backlog due to coronavirus. You should complete the online form here: Information to be given by the parents/ informant(s) to assist with the birth registration and an appointment should be arranged.
Child Benefit can be applied for if you have not been able to register the birth yet due to coronavirus as confirmed here: https://www.gov.uk/child-benefit/how-to-claim.
Verification will need to be provided once the birth of a child has been registered. You should also inform other means tested benefits, such as Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit to include your new child. This should still be done even if the new born is a third or subsequent child and affected by the two child limit, especially as it affects your conditionality for Universal Credit.