What you need to know:
- The current Social Security system is failing too many people, but there is little agreement about how the system could be improved. The Commission on Social Security led by Experts by Experience is a Trust for London initiative which has produced a White Paper style document to create a plan for a decent social security system.
- The plan has five parts which include: a Guaranteed Decent Income, increases to Child Benefit, a new disability benefit, and changing how the social security system works.
The current Social Security system is failing too many people, but there is little agreement about how the system could be improved. The Commission on Social Security led by Experts by Experience is a Trust for London initiative which aims to find out how the government could make the welfare benefits system better.
The Commission wants the Government to set up a new social security system that:
- means people have enough money to live on.
- helps people with the extra money they need because they are disabled and/or have children.
- treats everyone properly.
- lets people choose how they want to live their lives.
The Commission wants the law to say that people must be given the social security they need.
The Commission wants all the information about social security to be:
- easy to read.
- accessible to everyone.
The Commission wants people who receive social security to be involved in setting up and running the social security system.
The Commission wants people to be able to have:
- free advice about social security.
- free support to help them speak up at meetings with social security staff.
- free support to make a complaint about social security.
Certain groups of people often find the social security system unfair to them.
The Commission's plan
The Commission's plan has five parts.
A Guaranteed Income
Guaranteed means you will definitely get money from the Government if your income ever goes below a certain amount. You would still get child benefit if you have children and/or disability benefit if you are disabled.
With a Guaranteed Decent Income, there would be no sanctions, no two child limit, no benefit cap, no reduced rate for under 25s. You would get half the minimum wage. Currently with Guaranteed Decent Income, you would get £163.50 a week.
If you live on your own you would get an extra amount which would be a fifth of the minimum wage. Currently with Guaranteed Decent Income you would get an extra £63.50 a week if you live on your own.
You would get extra money if you are disabled. Disabled people would be involved in working out how much this is. There would be a way to work out if you should get the extra money without asking you lots of difficult questions.
You won’t have to say that you are looking for work to get the Guaranteed Decent Income. If you do work, you will be able to earn up to £512 a month before your Guaranteed Decent Income is reduced. If you work and earn more than £512 a month, you would lose 45p from your social security for every extra £1 that you earn in wages.
If you have savings of more than £85,000, you would not be able to get the Guaranteed Decent Income.
Many people need support with their housing costs. This is because there is not enough affordable housing for everyone that needs it. Until more affordable homes are built, you would be able to get Housing Benefit to help pay for your home.
Child Benefit is an amount of money you get every week to help you look after your child or children.
You get a certain amount of money for your first child and a smaller amount for any other children. 1 of the parents of every child gets Child Benefit. You don’t have to have an assessment.
The only problem with Child Benefit is that it is low. The Commission want Child Benefit to be £50 a week. It should be the same rate for every child.
A new disability benefit
The Commission wants to replace Personal Independence Payment (PIP) with a new benefit.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is money to help with extra living costs if you are disabled or have a long-term health condition, and you have difficulty doing certain everyday tasks or getting around because of your condition.
The new benefit will be set up with disabled people and increase every year if prices go up.
People will have an assessment to look at what support they need with staying healthy, personal care, making decisions and staying safe, running your home, going out and having fun and seeing the people you care about, working and learning, moving around and going on journeys, and communication.
The person doing the assessment will work with you to see what you need. You can ask for support if you are not happy with your assessment. All information will be accessible or in Easy Read. When the Government decides how much you will get, you will get it for the rest of your life if necessary. You won’t have to keep going back for another assessment.
The Commission wants three rates:
- Lower rate for people who don’t need much support: £83.70 a week.
- Middle rate for people who need more support: £152.15 a week.
- Higher rate for people who need a lot of support: £230.77 a week.
How the social security system works
The Commission wants the social security system to work in a different way. They want a system based on:
- treating people properly.
- giving people respect - this means treating you as an important person.
- trusting people - this means believing that what you say is the truth.
Other things would help with social security. With the plan, the Commission want:
- people to have good jobs with proper pay.
- free nursery and help with very young children.
- better support to live independently.
- free medicines.
- free dentists.
- free school meals for all children.
- a change in local council taxes so that people who earn the most money pay their fair share.
- refugees, asylum seekers and migrants to have access to public funds like everyone else.
The full project report available to download to the left supports the release of the Plan and discusses the Commission’s background, outputs, learning and challenges.
Visit the Commission on Social Security's dedicated website for more information, including a Q&A session on the Commission's work, a technical note to support the proposals, an audio description of the Plan, and much more.
26 January 2022