Public appointments and welfare benefits
The Access to Public Appointments pilot gave six disabled people the opportunity to shadow six regulated public body Boards in Scotland over twelve months. This was a project was funded by the Scottish Government and delivered in partnership with Inclusion Scotland. The Access to Public Appointments Board shadowing scheme evaluation report made a number of recommendations.
One of the recommendations from the report focussed on removing financial barriers faced by disabled people and others taking public appointments. Although this recommendation focusses primarily on the payment of expenses, there are potential implications for those considering a public appointment or current public appointees who are in receipt of benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or Social Security Scotland which need to be taken into consideration when considering applying for or taking up a public appointment.
This guidance sets out the different benefits which you may be in receipt of, the qualifying criteria and the likely effect on benefits paid should you take up a public appointment. This information has been compiled with input from Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Social Security Scotland colleagues.
Universal Credit (UC)
This is a means tested benefit. There is no limit to the number of hours individuals may work, however, the earnings received will be taken into account when calculating entitlement to Universal Credit (UC). Although earnings may reduce UC award individuals will still benefit from their earnings. UC has a single taper rate of 63 per cent. This means that 37 pence in every pound earned would be kept. Furthermore, some claimants will also benefit from a work allowance. The work allowance is an amount someone can earn before the single taper rate is applied to their earnings. Before applying for a role, potential appointees should seek advice from their Work Coach at the DWP to check on their own circumstances and the effect on any benefits claimed.
Income Support (IS)
This is a means tested benefit for those on a low income and meet entitlement conditions. Claimants can only remain entitled if they work less than 16 hours a week (the partner can work 24 hours a week in couple claims) and the level of benefit may be affected by any earnings. Before applying for a role, potential appointees should seek advice from the DWP given there is a requirement to notify DWP of any change of circumstances including voluntary or paid work undertaken.
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
Any payment received for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) may be impacted by the number of hours worked and payment received (16 hours or more a week and currently earning no more than £140 a week). Supported permitted work may be permitted but this must be less than 16 hours a week and no more than £140 a week. Before applying for a role, potential appointees should seek advice from the DWP given there is a requirement to notify of any voluntary or paid work undertaken.
Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) is a benefit for people who are not in full time employment (working less than 16 hours per week), are capable of working and are looking for and available for work. There are two types of JSA, income-based and contribution-based. Income-based JSA is being replaced by Universal Credit.
These benefits could be affected by taking a paid public appointment and may result in loss of entitlement if working 16 hours or more per week. For those working less than 16 hours per week, earnings will be taken into account. The payment of expenses for roles where no daily fee is paid may also affect the level and entitlement to benefit. Before applying for a role, potential appointees should seek advice from their Work Coach at the DWP to check on their own circumstances and the effect on any benefits claimed.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
For both of these benefits, earnings are not taken into account. This means that the amount of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) payable is not affected by earnings.
Access to Work
Access to Work as a discretionary grant provides funding for disabled people who are in employment and face additional costs as a result of a disability or health condition. The types of adjustments funded go beyond standard equipment or those which an employer may provide as a reasonable adjustment.
Given public appointments have different requirements within the role in addition to different expectations on the outcomes and payment, individuals should speak with their Access to Work adviser to determine whether, for Access to Work purposes, there is eligibility. The following key information is required:
- the terms and conditions of the appointment and the period the appointment covers
- details of what the role entails and level of commitment required from those being appointed
- the level of payment and whether there is no payment for the role
- where there is payment, is the payment expenses only or if there is payment for your time such as a wage (not necessarily defined as a wage but remuneration);
- whether the terms and conditions provide for adjustments. If yes, what these are
From this information the Access to Work adviser will be able to determine whether there is eligibility for Access to Work and the type of funding which may be provided. The Access to Work adviser will also seek to ascertain whether there is an input from the public body individuals are being appointed to.
Telephone: 0300 244 1898 (Freephone)
Public Appointments Team
Area 3F North
Edinburgh EH6 6QQ
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