What is Social Fund Reform and when does it happen?

Social Fund Reform addresses the need to simplify processes and ensure that the right support is targeted at those in genuine need, as part of the wider Welfare Reform agenda.

The main change is that the discretionary Social Fund (Crisis Loans and Community Care Grants) will be abolished from April 2013. However, the Regulated Social Fund (Sure Start Maternity Grants, Funeral Payments, Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments) will continue.

The annual budget allocation for the discretionary Social Fund will now be administered by local authorities in England, as well as by the Scottish and Welsh governments. They will use it to provide locally based welfare provision to those in their communities facing greatest difficulty in managing their income as well as offering a more flexible response to unavoidable need.

The benefit cap started on 15 April in four London boroughs.
Benefit customers in Haringey, Enfield, Croydon and Bromley will see their benefit claims limited to ?500 a week for couples and those with children, and at ?350 a week for single people.
The benefit cap will be implemented nationally from 15 July with all appropriate households capped by the end of September.
The introduction of the benefit cap could not have been done without considerable input from colleagues across departments.

New claims for Personal Independence Payment start from 8 April for people living in parts of northern England.

Monday 8 April sees the first claims for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which replaces Disability Living Allowance for people aged 16 to 64. It will be based on how a person?s condition affects them, not the condition they have, and includes an assessment by a health professional.
The introduction of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is one of the key elements of the Government?s welfare reform agenda and is the result of two years? preparation and hard work across the Department of Work and Pensions

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