What’s the purpose of Benefit contact centres? are they a total waste of money

I was given a telephone number of what is called a contact centre, where I was advised that advice to benefits available to me would be given. I telephoned the contact centre numerously, which in turn lead to to write to the chief executive of jobcentre plus.  In fact many letters to this day which still have not answered my query. 

Years ago we used to have decision makers based in local jobcentreplus offices, yet this is no more. Now we have telephone contact centres. Yet, people working in these centres are not benefit advisers, as they have told me numerously they are simply  ' information gatherers'.  They are unable to advise you on what benefits you can claim.  

Unless a person knows the benefits system inside out as many or rather most people don't, this leaves people who should be claiming certain benefits not being told of their entitlement to claim. Yet, very unfairly it is a persons responsibility to find out for themselves what benefits they are entitled to claim.  I ask how this is possible  to do, especially people who have no access to the internet to look at the gov uk website.  The only information they would be able to get is from a contact centre, who like I say are not benefit advisers.

The only people who can tell you what benefits you are entitled to claim are decision makers, yet claims have to be submitted for a decision maker to decide if a claim is possible.

Therefore without knowing what benefit to apply for, how is it possible to put in a claim?

This leaves Jobcentreplus's work left to the CAB, slightly unfair since the CAB have more knowledge than people working in contact centres. CAB is also not always accessible to some disabled people.

Also, it is clear when making a call to a contact centre that all information given is recorded. Also, it seems pretty clear to me that they have a yes or no button to use with their  'script' as I call it. If for example you have a person moving out shortly from your property, or make some small mistake , or they press the wrong button, you could then be accused of trying to commit benefit fraud.

 

 

Why is this idea important?

I was given a telephone number of what is called a contact centre, where I was advised that advice to benefits available to me would be given. I telephoned the contact centre numerously, which in turn lead to to write to the chief executive of jobcentre plus.  In fact many letters to this day which still have not answered my query. 

Years ago we used to have decision makers based in local jobcentreplus offices, yet this is no more. Now we have telephone contact centres. Yet, people working in these centres are not benefit advisers, as they have told me numerously they are simply  ' information gatherers'.  They are unable to advise you on what benefits you can claim.  

Unless a person knows the benefits system inside out as many or rather most people don't, this leaves people who should be claiming certain benefits not being told of their entitlement to claim. Yet, very unfairly it is a persons responsibility to find out for themselves what benefits they are entitled to claim.  I ask how this is possible  to do, especially people who have no access to the internet to look at the gov uk website.  The only information they would be able to get is from a contact centre, who like I say are not benefit advisers.

The only people who can tell you what benefits you are entitled to claim are decision makers, yet claims have to be submitted for a decision maker to decide if a claim is possible.

Therefore without knowing what benefit to apply for, how is it possible to put in a claim?

This leaves Jobcentreplus's work left to the CAB, slightly unfair since the CAB have more knowledge than people working in contact centres. CAB is also not always accessible to some disabled people.

Also, it is clear when making a call to a contact centre that all information given is recorded. Also, it seems pretty clear to me that they have a yes or no button to use with their  'script' as I call it. If for example you have a person moving out shortly from your property, or make some small mistake , or they press the wrong button, you could then be accused of trying to commit benefit fraud.

 

 

Reform Pension Credit and Council Tax Benefit savings rules


Reform of the unfair savings rules for Pension Credit and Council Tax Benefit claims is seriously overdue.

The Tax Credits system is based on actual income from savings. However, Pension Credit and Council Tax Benefit have different rules for the treatment of capital, so that the measure of income from capital is notional rather than real. These rules are based on social security law and are not made by local authorities.

Most capital is counted, even that held in tax-free accounts, and the rule can put those who have saved in cash, rather than through a pension fund, at a distinct disadvantage in their pension credit claim.

Although there is a £10,000 capital disregard, income from remaining capital is deemed to be at £1 per week for every £500 of capital, (referred to as ‘assumed income’), and this applies regardless of whether you are single or in a couple (that is, the capital disregard for a couple is £10,000 not £20,000).

This notional interest rate of over 10% on savings gives pensioners an assumed income figure which is very much higher than their real income from the cash deposits, whether-tax free or not, especially during the current period of very low interest rates.

Legislation is badly needed to abolish the "assumed income" rules and align Pension Credit and Council Tax Benefit savings rules with the fairer "actual income" rules used by the Tax Credits system.

 

Why is this idea important?


Reform of the unfair savings rules for Pension Credit and Council Tax Benefit claims is seriously overdue.

The Tax Credits system is based on actual income from savings. However, Pension Credit and Council Tax Benefit have different rules for the treatment of capital, so that the measure of income from capital is notional rather than real. These rules are based on social security law and are not made by local authorities.

Most capital is counted, even that held in tax-free accounts, and the rule can put those who have saved in cash, rather than through a pension fund, at a distinct disadvantage in their pension credit claim.

Although there is a £10,000 capital disregard, income from remaining capital is deemed to be at £1 per week for every £500 of capital, (referred to as ‘assumed income’), and this applies regardless of whether you are single or in a couple (that is, the capital disregard for a couple is £10,000 not £20,000).

This notional interest rate of over 10% on savings gives pensioners an assumed income figure which is very much higher than their real income from the cash deposits, whether-tax free or not, especially during the current period of very low interest rates.

Legislation is badly needed to abolish the "assumed income" rules and align Pension Credit and Council Tax Benefit savings rules with the fairer "actual income" rules used by the Tax Credits system.

 

People on benefits earning their money (menial work for the govt)

I think people who are recieving benefits should at least be used by the government/local town. Get them to sweep the streets, clean government offices, paint the roads.

These are work that anyone can do but the government currently has to pay for someone to do it. If we get people who recieve benefits to do these menial jobs in exchange of them recieving benefits, government saves money and at the same time benefit scroungers will be put off by being forced to do menial jobs.

Why is this idea important?

I think people who are recieving benefits should at least be used by the government/local town. Get them to sweep the streets, clean government offices, paint the roads.

These are work that anyone can do but the government currently has to pay for someone to do it. If we get people who recieve benefits to do these menial jobs in exchange of them recieving benefits, government saves money and at the same time benefit scroungers will be put off by being forced to do menial jobs.

Reform of welfare benefits

I will apologise in advance if this is a little incoherent, it's 4 am (but the site is now working properly – yay).

There is much duplication within the benefits system, if the government is serious about drastically reducing the welfare bill they could do worse than abolish the current convulted system of interlocking benefits, each of which affect oneanother and replace with a simple '2-tier' system – one for the employed and another for the unemployed.

Under the current system, a family can be in receipt of several different benefits as a result of their income and exact familiar situation.  If one benefit changes, up or down, it has a knock on effect to most, if not all, of the other benefits received.  For each £1 extra, for example, received in tax credits, housing benefit and council tax benefit will be recalculated and reduced by a similar amount.

Example: A working father, housewife, one child, renting privately under the current system

Earnings – £18000 p.a. gross – tax and NI deducted at source circa £3,600 (above average earnings for this area)

Tax Credits & other benefits received circa £8000 p.a. (*calculated from entitledto.co.uk website).  Requiring separate application and processing for each benefit.

Raise the tax threshold and introduce a 'one stop shop'  to avoid the unnecessary duplication saving money on both staffing and administration, simplifies the overall process, reduces the chances of an error and reduces the total benefits bill.

Taking my theoretical family from above;

1. Increase in Personal Allowance to £10,000 p.a. decreases tax & ni liability to £2,900 (using current NI thresholds) giving a net income of £15,100.

2. Under current regulation, the above calculation indicates this family 'requires' a gross income of £22,000.

Upon providing evidence of eligible rent, child's d.o.b. to the one stop shop ONE calculation could be performed with an annual payment of £6,900 due – a direct saving of £1,100 on their current benefits bill with further savings as mentioned above. 

If administered by HMRC, or an offshoot thereof, centrally, they'll already know your income and knowing which benefit elements you would be entitled to, should result in a fast and efficient service.

 

A similar approach would apply for the 'unemployed' benefit side – provide evidence of eligible rent, children, any income, etc to the one stop shop for a single benefit payment made up of the required elements (i.e. JSA, HB, CTB) with similar cost saving benefits from reduced administration.  Eligibility to benefits as an unemployed person or couple is a matter already addressed in several other suggestions.

Why is this idea important?

I will apologise in advance if this is a little incoherent, it's 4 am (but the site is now working properly – yay).

There is much duplication within the benefits system, if the government is serious about drastically reducing the welfare bill they could do worse than abolish the current convulted system of interlocking benefits, each of which affect oneanother and replace with a simple '2-tier' system – one for the employed and another for the unemployed.

Under the current system, a family can be in receipt of several different benefits as a result of their income and exact familiar situation.  If one benefit changes, up or down, it has a knock on effect to most, if not all, of the other benefits received.  For each £1 extra, for example, received in tax credits, housing benefit and council tax benefit will be recalculated and reduced by a similar amount.

Example: A working father, housewife, one child, renting privately under the current system

Earnings – £18000 p.a. gross – tax and NI deducted at source circa £3,600 (above average earnings for this area)

Tax Credits & other benefits received circa £8000 p.a. (*calculated from entitledto.co.uk website).  Requiring separate application and processing for each benefit.

Raise the tax threshold and introduce a 'one stop shop'  to avoid the unnecessary duplication saving money on both staffing and administration, simplifies the overall process, reduces the chances of an error and reduces the total benefits bill.

Taking my theoretical family from above;

1. Increase in Personal Allowance to £10,000 p.a. decreases tax & ni liability to £2,900 (using current NI thresholds) giving a net income of £15,100.

2. Under current regulation, the above calculation indicates this family 'requires' a gross income of £22,000.

Upon providing evidence of eligible rent, child's d.o.b. to the one stop shop ONE calculation could be performed with an annual payment of £6,900 due – a direct saving of £1,100 on their current benefits bill with further savings as mentioned above. 

If administered by HMRC, or an offshoot thereof, centrally, they'll already know your income and knowing which benefit elements you would be entitled to, should result in a fast and efficient service.

 

A similar approach would apply for the 'unemployed' benefit side – provide evidence of eligible rent, children, any income, etc to the one stop shop for a single benefit payment made up of the required elements (i.e. JSA, HB, CTB) with similar cost saving benefits from reduced administration.  Eligibility to benefits as an unemployed person or couple is a matter already addressed in several other suggestions.

People should work for benefits

Anybody claiming benefits should have to work a minimum number of hours per week to earn the money they receive.  They should be able to do this work either for the local authority doing useful jobs around the local area such as picking up litter, grass cutting, delivering meals to the elderly etc. or as a volunteer for any local charity.  The work could be tailored to fit ability so that even people who are excluded from work due to illness or disability are able to contribute and be an asset for the local community.  Those who refuse to work should not receive a penny unless they can prove that they have a genuine disability which entirely prevents them from doing anything useful.

Why is this idea important?

Anybody claiming benefits should have to work a minimum number of hours per week to earn the money they receive.  They should be able to do this work either for the local authority doing useful jobs around the local area such as picking up litter, grass cutting, delivering meals to the elderly etc. or as a volunteer for any local charity.  The work could be tailored to fit ability so that even people who are excluded from work due to illness or disability are able to contribute and be an asset for the local community.  Those who refuse to work should not receive a penny unless they can prove that they have a genuine disability which entirely prevents them from doing anything useful.

Give benefits only to Volunteer workers to encourage Charity work and Community Service.

Only people who are working in registered Charity organisations or as Volunteer workers in national projects such as woodland trusts would be able to claim longterm unemployment benefits. Anyone who currently sits at home must choose to do something for the good of the community if they are to receive benefits from the state.

Why is this idea important?

Only people who are working in registered Charity organisations or as Volunteer workers in national projects such as woodland trusts would be able to claim longterm unemployment benefits. Anyone who currently sits at home must choose to do something for the good of the community if they are to receive benefits from the state.

Simplify Benefits System

First establish how much a person needs to live on. Allow anybody to claim this amount, no extras for lots of different things, one amount only. If you claim you agree to repay this amount as part of the tax system at an additional 50% of earnings until repaid. If you do not wish to claim it then you pay normal tax rates.

Example :-

Amount needed to live on £5000 per year

Tax at an additional 50% on first £10000 of earning, reducing to normal taxation rates when repaid.

So a person claims there allowance @ £5000

They earn £8000 per year

They repay £4000 (50% of £8000 earning)

They have a take home income of £9000 (£8000 + £5000 – £4000)

The figures above are only an example.

Why is this idea important?

First establish how much a person needs to live on. Allow anybody to claim this amount, no extras for lots of different things, one amount only. If you claim you agree to repay this amount as part of the tax system at an additional 50% of earnings until repaid. If you do not wish to claim it then you pay normal tax rates.

Example :-

Amount needed to live on £5000 per year

Tax at an additional 50% on first £10000 of earning, reducing to normal taxation rates when repaid.

So a person claims there allowance @ £5000

They earn £8000 per year

They repay £4000 (50% of £8000 earning)

They have a take home income of £9000 (£8000 + £5000 – £4000)

The figures above are only an example.