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Benefits - Guernsey

This factsheet explains some of the main benefits that people with dementia and their carers may be entitled to. The benefits described are available in Guernsey and Alderney. Such benefits are yours by right if you qualify. They could make a great difference to your life, and should be claimed.

Some of the benefits described in this factsheet apply to people with dementia, and some to carers. If you are unsure about what you can claim, or how to fill in a form, ask for information and advice (see ‘Useful organisations’, at the end of this sheet, for details).

How to claim benefits

Claiming benefits can be a complex process. Here, it is broken down into the following stages: qualifying for benefits, where to claim, who to ask for information, making a claim, keeping records of a claim, challenging a decision and help for people not fluent in English.

Qualifying for benefits

To qualify for any benefit, the person with dementia or their carer will have to meet certain conditions. These vary according to the type of benefit. Some benefits depend on a person having paid insurance contributions over a period of time, some on the amount of their weekly income and savings, and some on the practical effects of a disability.

This factsheet does not cover all the benefits that exist: you may be entitled to others, depending on your situation, so always ask. Sometimes, getting one benefit may increase your entitlement to another and sometimes it may prevent you claiming another benefit, or reduce the amount you can claim. Again, if in doubt, always seek information and advice.

Where to claim

You should make your claim at the Social Security Department, Guernsey or States Office, Alderney.

Who to ask for information and advice

There are a number of different ways of getting information and advice on benefits, as well as help filling in forms, which can be complicated. Choose whichever approach is most convenient for you. You may need to be quite persistent in order to get what you need. You may find it useful to contact some of the following:

  • A professional, such as a social worker, may be able to advise or point you in the right direction.
  • The Social Security Department stocks explanatory leaflets and claim forms and may be able to help, but it may be best to phone to see if you can arrange an appointment or give information over the phone. They may also be able to arrange for a representative to visit you at home if you can’t get out.
  • The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) can advise you on what benefits you may be entitled to, and how to claim.
  • Health Information Guernsey may be able to provide assistance with filling in forms.

For full details, see the ‘Useful organisations’ section.

Making a claim

Benefits are claimed by filling in forms and sending them to the Social Security Department, Guernsey or States Office, Alderney. Do not delay in making a claim just because you don’t have all the information you need or the right form. Certain benefits can start on the Monday after you first contact the relevant office in person, by letter or by phone, saying you want to claim the benefit. However, you will usually need to send in your claim form as soon as possible. If evidence is required, such as a letter from your doctor that you do not yet have, explain on the form that you will send it later.

Keeping records of your claim

When you are making a claim, it is easy to forget what information has been given, and by whom. It helps if you can:

  • keep brief notes of the main points that have arisen in any relevant conversation, who the conversation was with, and the date it took place
  • keep copies of any letters or forms you have sent and any you have received. You may need these if there are delays in sorting out your claim, or if your claim is refused and you want to challenge the decision
  • have all the relevant details to hand if you want to discuss your claim over the phone or in person.

Challenging a decision

Most people receive the benefits they are entitled to without a problem. However, if you believe your claim has been incorrectly turned down, or that you have not been awarded the right amount of benefit, you have the right to challenge the decision. Write to the office that made the decision and ask them to review it. If they do not alter their decision, you may be able to apply to an independent appeals tribunal.

Challenging a decision can be complex, so get advice as soon as possible. Ask the Citizens Advice Bureau (details at the end of this factsheet).

Help for people not fluent in English

It is often difficult for people who are not fluent in English to discover what benefits they can claim. It is vital that they get appropriate assistance − for example:

  • Someone within the person’s own community or a local group may be able to help the person get information and advice (ask Alzheimer’s Society or the Citizens Advice Bureau).
  • The Social Security Department does not have access to a telephone interpreting service but they may have staff who can act as interpreters for some languages. Leaflets are only available in English and there are no audio versions.

Severe Disability Benefit

Severe Disability Benefit is a weekly benefit intended for adults and children who have a physical or mental impairment and need a lot of attention or supervision by day or night.

To qualify

Whether you qualify for Severe Disability Benefit will depend on the level of care you need.

You must have needed the required level of care for at least 3 months. This rule does not apply if you are terminally ill.

During the last 12 months you must have lived in the island for at least 26 weeks. If you were not born locally you must have been living in the island for at least five continuous years at any time in your life. However, if you have come from Jersey or the UK this rule may not apply.

By day – you must require frequent attention throughout the day in connection with your bodily functions; or constant supervision throughout the day in order to avoid substantial danger to yourself or others; or

By night – you must require prolonged or repeated attention during the night in connection with your bodily functions; or constant supervision throughout the night in order to avoid substantial danger to yourself or others.

‘Bodily functions’ refers to the things that people normally do without any help such as breathing, hearing, seeing, eating, drinking, walking, sitting, dressing, undressing, getting in and out of bed and going to the toilet. It does not include things like cooking, shopping or other household chores.

Effect of other income

If you or your partner’s joint annual income exceeds £90,000 (2014 rate) then Severe Disability Benefit will not be payable. Savings/assets are ignored but the interest earned is taken into account.

How to claim

In Guernsey, call the Social Security Department Pensions & Allowances Section helpline on 01481 732506 or, if you are in Alderney, the States Office, Alderney on 01481 822811. Your circumstances will be discussed briefly and then you will be issued a claim pack which contains everything you will need to make your claim.

Carer’s Allowance

Carer’s Allowance is a weekly benefit for anyone who cares for a severely disabled person who needs a lot of attention or supervision by day or night.

To qualify

  • The person you are looking after must be in receipt of Severe Disability Benefit.
  • You must spend at least 35 hours per week looking after the disabled person.
  • You must be over 18.
  • You must not be receiving Unemployment Benefit, Maternity Allowance or an incapacity benefit.

Effect of other income

If you or your partner’s joint annual income exceeds £90,000 (2014 rate), Carer’s Allowance will not be payable.

Savings/assests are ignored but the interest earned is taken into account.

Further details about Severe Disability Benefit and Carer’s Allowance can be found in Leaflets 18 and 50 (Social Security Dept.).

How to claim

In Guernsey, call the Social Security Department Pensions & Allowances Section helpline on 01481 732506 or, if you are in Alderney, the States Office, Alderney on 01481 822811. Your circumstances will be discussed briefly and then you will be issued a claim pack which contains everything you will need to make your claim.

Retirement

Old Age Pension

This is a pension that is payable to both men and women when they reach age 65. But, in order to qualify you must satisfy certain contribution conditions.

Benefits if unable to work

Sickness Benefit (Age Criteria - under 65)

Sickness Benefit is a weekly benefit paid if you are incapable of work due to illness (including mental illness) or disablement. To get Sickness Benefit your claim must last at least four days and you must satisfy certain contribution conditions.

Invalidity Benefit

Invalidity Benefit is a weekly benefit paid at a higher rate than Sickness Benefit. It is paid after you have received Sickness Benefit for six months. Like Sickness Benefit, there are certain contribution conditions that you must satisfy before Invalidity Benefit can be paid.

Some other benefits

Some other benefits which you might be entitled to, depending on your circumstances, are listed below

Bereavement Benefits

If you have been widowed, you may be entitled to a Bereavement Payment and either Widowed Parent’s Allowance or Bereavement Allowance.

Death Grant

A Death Grant is a one-off payment which is paid as a lump sum to help with funeral expenses. Certain contribution conditions must be satisfied.

Health Benefit

Health Benefit is the name given to grants paid towards the cost of medical consultations. The grants apply to consultations with an approved doctor in the surgery, at home, in the Primary Care Centre and A & E at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital. Grants are also available for consultations with an approved nurse in the surgery.

Supplementary Benefit (means tested)

Supplementary Benefit is a weekly benefit intended to bring your household income up to a level which the States believes is enough to live on. The amount of benefit you receive is calculated on a weekly basis with reference to your household income.

Your contribution record does not affect your entitlement to Supplementary Benefit.

The Department may be able to help people with special needs even if they do not qualify for cash benefit. Assistance with the payment of medical expenses or equipment can be provided. The Department can also, in exceptional circumstances, award grants or loans towards the alteration of property in relation to medical need.

Travelling Allowance Grant

The Travelling Allowance Grant (TAG) provides funding and reimbursement of travel expenses for patients visiting Jersey or the UK when medical treatment is not available in Guernsey or Alderney and also for Alderney patients requiring treatment in Guernsey. There is also a Travelling Expenses Assistance Scheme (TEAS) which may cover various other expenses not covered by the TAG.

Unemployment Benefit (Age Criteria – under 65)

This is a cash benefit paid to unemployed people who are trying to find work with an employer. To receive Unemployment Benefit you must be unemployed and available for work for at least four days in any week and satisfy certain contribution conditions.

Special notes

Benefits in hospital and when off island

Benefits may be affected if either a carer or someone with dementia goes into hospital or a States run facility for more than 28 days or if they leave the island. In such cases, it is important to seek advice and inform the Social Security Department, Guernsey or States Office, Alderney as appropriate.

Long-Term Care Benefit

Long-term Care Benefit is a weekly benefit which is paid towards the cost of the fees if you are in a private residential or private nursing home. ‘Private’ means not run by the States.

Who can claim?

Any person who:

  • Has been assessed as being in need of care which could be provided in a private residential care or private nursing home.
  • Is in possession of a valid Needs Assessment Panel Certificate, issued by the Health and Social Services Department, and has a bed in a home.
  • Has at any time, lived in Guernsey or Alderney for a continuous period of 5 years and;
  • Has lived in Guernsey or Alderney for at least 12 months, immediately prior to claiming Long-term Care Benefit.

If you own your own home or have savings, this does not stop you from claiming Long-term Care Benefit. One of the principles of the scheme is that a person going into care should no longer be required to sell their home before they can receive help with care home fees.

Further details about the scheme and how to make a claim can be obtained from the Social Security Department, Guernsey or States Office, Alderney.

Respite Care

Respite care is a service that offers carers a break from the ongoing responsibility of caring for an ill, frail or disabled adult who is being looked after at home, by providing a short stay in a Residential Home, Nursing Home or Hospital for the cared-for person.

The cared-for person will qualify for assistance with funding if they have lived in Guernsey or Alderney for 5 years during their life, and for the preceding 12 months.

Respite Care may be a planned break for a carer, or emergency care in a home or hospital if required.

Further details about Respite Care can be obtained from the Social Work Department.

Important note

The information contained in this factsheet about the various benefits is for guidance only. To find out whether you are eligible for any of the benefits mentioned or to make a claim you will need to contact the Social Security Department, Guernsey or States Office, Alderney.

The Social Security Department produces leaflets about all the benefits mentioned in this factsheet as well as others and they are available online. Each of the leaflets gives a brief outline of who is eligible, answers frequently asked questions and gives information on how to go about claiming and ways to contact the Social Security Department. See also ‘Useful organisations’ at the end of this sheet for further details.

Useful organisations

Age Concern Alderney

Barbara Benfield
Orchard Cottage
La Marette
Alderney GY9 3UQ

T 07781 123637

Age Concern Guernsey

T 01481 267660 (Helpline and information)

Provides information and advice for older people.

Alzheimer’s Society Guernsey

C/O Specsavers
La Villiaze
St Andrew GY6 8YP

Office T 01481 213367
Helpline 01481 233700
E Michael.Nicholls@alzheimers.org.uk

Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)

Bridge Avenue
The Bridge
St Sampson GY2 4QS

T 01481 242266
F 01481 200444
W www.cabguernsey.org

Your local CAB can provide information and advice in confidence or point you in the right direction. Trained CAB advisers can offer information on benefits in a way that is easy to understand.

Health Information Guernsey

Beau Sejour
Amherst
St Peter Port GY1 2DH

T 01481 707470
F 01481 701310
E info@information-exchange.org
W www.information-exchange.org

Health Information Guernsey

Le Vauquiedor Entrance
Princess Elizabeth Hospital
St Andrew GY4 6UU

T 01481 725241 ext. 4054

Provides free and confidential advice and information on health and disability matters including benefits.

Social Work Department

Castel Hospital
La Neuve Rue
Castel GY5 7NJ

T 01481 725241

Your social worker can provide information and advice on benefit entitlements.

States of Guernsey Social Security Department

Edward T Wheadon House
Le Truchot
St Peter Port GY1 3WH

T 01481 732500
F 01481 732501
E enquiry@ssd.gov.gg
W www.gov.gg/socialsecurity

States Office, Alderney

Island Hall
Royal Connaught Square
Alderney GY9 3AA

T 01481 822811
F 01481 822436
E info@alderney.gov.gg
W www.alderney.gov.gg

Factsheet 413G

Last updated August 2014

Alzheimer's Society Guernsey

For information and support, contact the helpline on the details below.

Tel: 01481 233700

Email:
Michael.Nicholls@alzheimers.org.uk