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As the new ‘Social Fund' comes into operation, Julie Morrice looks at the effects it will have.

It may seem a lot to most of us. but surely its barely worth all the bother to the Government. And. sure enough. there is more to it than meets the eye.

£200 million ofthe extra Government spending is to pay for what has become known as ‘transitional protection': the guarantee that anyone who would lose under the new Income Support will he paid at the old rate. 'l‘hus. few people will lose out on April llth. but will he paid the same amount until inflation causes the new system to ‘catch up‘. Give it a year and the Government will be saving £200 million.

Administrative costs are also set to drop. "l‘hey have tailored the system to he computer-compatible.‘ said the

As long as the giro continued to drop | through the letter hos every fortnight. few people knew or cared what henefit they were on. But next month's remodelling of Social Security has caused unprecedented scrutiny of the system by which this country supports its poor.

As to the effect of the new system on Scotland's claimants. no clear message is coming through. While the Minister for Social Security assures us that 88’? of present claimants will see an improvement or no change in their circumstances this April. Strathclyde Social Work Department have calculated that 77"} of their clients will be worse off. The result is confusion and fear amongst claimants and a major lack of interest from those more


Team. ‘is that the Government has a monopoly on doing these calculations. Only the DI lSS have access to a representative sample of clients. Most of us in Welfare Rights are not convinced. but we can't

Housing Benefit. Somebody somewhere is losing ten million pounds.

from the introduction of the new system. While over the next year they are spending an extra £420



"l‘he prohlem. says Anne l lannah of Lothian Region’s Welfare Rights


disprove the Government figures.' What can he proved is that the Government are making a net saving


million on Income Support and an extra £220 million on Family Credit. they are saving £650 million on



spokesman for CPSA and NL‘CPS. the two main DHSS unions. (‘ontracts for the eight thousand


Supplementary Benelit (88) Income Support You must be 16 or overand It you are on SB. your claim Anyone on 88 will nothave llyou think you may quality either: will be automatically their benelit reduced on lor extra needs payments 0 unemployed transterred. Otherwise get a April 11th. claim by March 28th. 0 working less than 24 claim torm trom the DHSS. Claim 88 until April 8th. hours a week 0 single parent 0 disabled or caringlor disabled relative o retired Students can claim inthe summer holiday only. You cannot claim ilyou have £6000 ormore in savings. - - ~ one an“ “'0 Date"! It on are on FlS. our claim An one on FIS will nothave Claim FIS until April 8th. Fglgtilylncome Supplement Family Credit “mines. "aueas'one will“ beaummaticzlly t"‘3".mereduced on l l parent works 24 hoursa transferred. Orgetaclaim Apriltlth. week or more. form trom the DHSS. You cannot claim ilyou have £6000 ormore in savings. - . ' ' A"Y0"e W00 pays rent or It you are on H8. you should All changes come into ettect Housmg Benet" (H8) Housmg Benem rates. have been sent a new claim immediately on April 1st. You cannotclaim ilyou torm. New claimants must have £6000 or more in collect lorms lrom the DHSS savings. ilyou claim Income Support. orlrom yourlocal Housing Department. Single paymems SociaI Fund Budgeting Loans am to, Get a claim form lrom the Claim lor single payments people on Income Support DHSS. untilApril 8th who need expensive items. Crisis Loans are tor anyone Get a claim lorm lrom the Claim tor single payments who needs help with an puss. UM" AW" 3'0 emergency. Community Care Grants are Get a claim torm lrom the Claim tor single payments for people in Income DHSS. until April 8th Support who need extra money to avoid going into residential care. Savings over £500 will make a diherence.

The List 1- 14 April 1988 45