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New Lump Sum Payments 4 March 2004

The Department of Health and Social Security is pleased to announce that Tynwald has given the go- ahead to the introduction from next month of a new system of lump sum payments to help people on income support or income-based jobseeker’s allowance to meet certain exceptional needs.

Exceptional needs cover such things as furniture and household equipment and housing deposits on moving into new accommodation. The new system provides non-refundable grants for particularly vulnerable groups, such as people moving out of accommodation provided by the Department where they are receiving special care and attention, and a system of repayable loans for a wider range of customers. In every case, it is a requirement that the person claiming the grant or loan must be receiving income support or income-based jobseeker’s allowance.

An overhaul of the complex and rigid provisions under which non-refundable payments are currently made was initiated following a survey which showed that the majority of beneficiaries did not understand the complicated rules of entitlement and supported the introduction of an affordable loan system, with less stringent qualifying conditions. Consequently, a working party was established to progress new provisions. The working party comprised officers from the Department’s Social Security and Social Services Divisions as well as income support recipients and representatives from Age Concern, the Isle of Man College and Manx Community Housing Trust.

“The Department sees this new system as a definite improvement in its services to people not in work and on low incomes”, said member of the Department with special responsibility for Social Security, Phil Gawne, M.H.K. “The system of grants being replaced is very complex and restrictive. We have consulted our customers on income support and found a majority are supportive of widening eligibility for assistance by way of introducing loans as well as non-refundable grants”, said Mr Gawne.

The new system is to take effect from 12th April 2004, and the Department intends to advise every person getting income support and income-based jobseeker’s allowance of the new system before that date.

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