The Social Welfare Benefits Investigation Committee (SWBIC) is proposing to reduce the benefit payments made to a large group of disabled islanders by £26.99 a week.
This 20% reduction is a direct result of the Committee’s decision to recommend that an adult who lives in someone else’s home should have the same level of basic income as a child aged 11-18. Previously the rate for a ‘non-householder’ was set as a proportion of the rate for a single householder.
At the March 8th meeting, States members will be asked to agree new Income Support rates that will come into force when the rent rebate and supplementary benefit systems are merged. The long-term non-householder rate will reduce from £132.15 per week to £105.16.
The Guernsey Disability Alliance is in full support of Deputy Arrun Wilkie’s amendment to change the proposed rate to £128.63.
Deputy Wilkie is the States’ Champion for Disabled People. 75% of long-term non-householders are classed by Social Security as either disabled or incapacitated (long-term sick).
Examples of a non-householder are:
- An adult who has been disabled since birth and lives permanently with his or her parents.
- An adult who has a long-term illness and lives in a relative or friend’s house.
- An older person who moves in with adult children for support in later life.
Shelaine Green, Chair of the Guernsey Disability Alliance, said:
“When the GDA first saw the proposed new rates, we assumed there must be a mistake in the Billet. How could the States pass a Disability and Inclusion Strategy one minute and then put a group of disabled adults on the same benefit rate as children the next?
“Rather than admitting they had made a mistake, SWBIC have tried to justify the 20% cut by pointing to other changes to Income Support that may benefit some disabled people. We have investigated each of those and none of them stacks up.
“We have been left to face the stark reality that the SWBIC committee intends to pay for merging rent rebate and supplementary benefit by taking £250,000 a year straight out of the pockets of people that the benefit system was designed to protect.”
The members of SWBIC are:
Deputy Andrew Le Lievre, Chairman
Deputy Peter Gillson
Deputy Roger Perrot
Deputy Michelle Le Clerc
Deputy Mike Hadley
Deputy Paul Le Pelley
Deputy John Gollop