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PRISONS, HOSPITALS AND WELFARE BENEFITS. Philip Coleman – Salford City Council – Welfare Rights Service (Criminal Justice Integrated Team) Roger Thompson – Tameside Welfare Rights Service Hospital information provided by Ragini Hevingham – Tameside Welfare Rights Service. Aim of the workshop.

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prisons hospitals and welfare benefits
PRISONS, HOSPITALS AND WELFARE BENEFITS
  • Philip Coleman – Salford City Council – Welfare Rights Service (Criminal Justice Integrated Team)
  • Roger Thompson – Tameside Welfare Rights Service
  • Hospital information provided by Ragini Hevingham – Tameside Welfare Rights Service
aim of the workshop
Aim of the workshop
  • To give an overview of the affects of an individual being sentenced to prison on means tested and non means tested benefits
  • To help to understand when an individual might be entitled to certain benefits despite spending time in prison
  • To outline some real and up to date statistics to help understand the scale of problems facing the UK within the prisons system
prison statistics as @ june 2010
Prison Statistics as @ June 2010
  • Prison population in 1992-1993 was 44628
  • In June 2010 this has almost doubled to over 85000!
  • Re-offending costs over 13 BILLION pounds per year when taking into account all costs
  • For offenders who breach their licence conditions – this costs approximately £45,000 per prisoner
  • In 2005 there were 54455 prisoners on remand – less than ½ of these went on to receive a prison sentence - the vast majority received NO compensation
  • 1 in 5 of remand prisoners are women
common issues for prisoners prior to and on release from prison
Common issues for prisoners prior to and on release from prison
  • Closing down and re-opening benefit claims
  • Overpayments
  • Housing benefit problems and subsequent rent arrears
  • Council tax
  • Effects of going into prison on family members
  • Deductions from benefits stopping/restarting
  • Debts
remand prisoners
Remand Prisoners
  • Means tested benefits, inmates are disqualified from receiving most benefits
  • Sometimes benefits are only ‘suspended’ pending outcome of trial
  • Housing benefit is payable for up to 52 weeks but the person must intend to return
convicted and sentenced prisoners
Convicted and Sentenced Prisoners
  • For Housing Benefit and Council tax benefit – these are PAYABLE if the total period of absence from the normal address is likely to be 13 weeks or less.
  • This runs from the 1st date the person entered prison and including the time spent awaiting trial or sentence
  • The prisoner must inform housing and council tax benefit about their intention and likely release date. Change of circumstances forms are available in prison – date of sentencing is a CoC.
  • For council tax – an exemption can be applied for if property unoccupied
which benefits are affected for sentenced prisoners and not paid
Which benefits are affected for Sentenced prisoners and NOT paid
  • Disability living allowance (for care and/or mobility)
  • Contributory and income related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Retirement Pension
  • Statutory Sick Pay, SMP and SPP
  • Jobseekers Allowance
  • Carers Allowance and Bereavement benefits
who doesn t count as a prisoner
Who doesn’t count as a prisoner?
  • Benefits are PAYABLE to an individual who is on bail
  • Living in ‘approved premises’ such as a bail or probation hostel
  • If released on parole or temporary licence
drug treatment in the community
Drug Treatment in the Community
  • In Salford a prison link worker will try to work with the offender both prior to sentence and on release.
  • The prison link worker will help to organise appropriate prescription – such as methadone/subutex
reclaiming benefits on release from prison
Reclaiming benefits on release from prison
  • Reclaiming any benefits on release is via a phone call to a contact centre – Jobcentre Plus – 0800 055 6688
  • Once the claim is submitted, a claim for a Crisis loan can be made by contacting Crisis Loan Helpline on 0800 032 8341
  • Community care grants – short term sentence of less than 3 months is not usually considered a stay in ‘institutional care’ for the purpose of a community care grant.
changes to incapacity benefit
Changes to incapacity benefit
  • Employment and Support Allowance introduced in October 2008
  • This replaced Incapacity benefit and claims to income support on basis of incapacity
  • Over the next 4 years all claimants to incapacity – (almost 130,000 in the Northwest of England) will have their claims re-assessed under a new work capability assessment which is much stricter
  • Prisoners sentenced prior to October 2008 and released now will have to claim ESA. Many will fail this new test
useful information resources
Useful information/resources
  • Prison Reform Trust (see prisonreformtrust.org.uk)
  • HM Prison Service (hmprisonservice.gov.uk
  • Direct.gov.uk
  • Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) welfare benefits handbook (£39.00)
  • POPS Partners of Prisoners and family support group (partnersofprisoners.co.uk) Tel: 0161 702 1000
  • Nacro.org.uk: 0800 018 1259
  • Adviceguide.org.uk (Citizens Advice Bureau)
procedure on admission to the mental health unit at tameside hospital
Procedure on Admission to The Mental Health Unit at Tameside Hospital
  • After the initial Mental Health assessment has been carried out, benefit, debt and housing issues are identified shortly afterwards.
  • Referral made to WRO based at hospital
  • WRO visits client within 1-2 working days, benefit check carried out, areas of work identified.
  • Relevant benefit agencies informed of clients admission to avoid unnecessary overpayments.
  • WRO assists patient throughout stay to ensure package of benefits on discharge is appropriate to the client.
common issues for people admitted to the mental health unit at tameside hospital
Common Issues for people admitted to The Mental Health Unit at Tameside Hospital
  • Unaware of how benefits affected when admitted to hospital
  • Overpayments and appeals
  • On the wrong benefit on admission
  • On no income at all
  • Debt
  • Housing
which benefits are affected by a stay in hospital
Which benefits are affected by a stay in hospital
  • DLA/AA – after 28 days in hospital
  • I/S, ESA(IR) & (c) - after 28 days in hospital
  • CA – after 4 or 12 weeks
  • CP – after 8 weeks
  • HB/CTB – after 4 or 52 weeks
  • JSA – after 2 weeks sick (2 periods of sick allowed in a 52 wk period)
  • SSP – after 26 weeks.
  • No Social Fund can be applied for whilst an inpatient
who does not count as a hospital inpatient
Who does not count as a hospital inpatient
  • If you are a prisoner and are transferred to hospital under Section 47/49 of the Mental Health Act, which allows a sentenced prisoner to be transferred from prison to hospital because of their mental disorder and the need for medical treatment, then you are still classed as a prisoner and will not have the same rights as a hospital inpatient.
clients can be admitted discharged to hospital for various reasons sections
Clients can be admitted/discharged to hospital for various reasons/sections
  • Relapse in Mental Ill Health, i.e Bi-Polar, Schizophrenia, Psychotic episode
  • Family breakdown
  • Debt, Financial Problems
  • Attempt at suicide/ overdose
  • Drugs/Alcohol detox
  • Under Section of The Mental Health Act i.e S2 – (28 days detainment)
  • S3 – (6 months detainment)
  • S136 (police arrest)
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