Care Questions : Article 7

Your Care Questions Answered by Angela Gifford - ARTICLE No.7

"My Father is moving in with us and whilst clearing out his own home I came across a Statement showing that he has participated in a company pension scheme during his working life. This was not the company for whom he worked for the last twenty years of his working life but an earlier one. Is there anyway in which I can find out anything about this company and whether he has any entitlement?"

Answer : There is a Government backed organisation the Pension Schemes Registry and they have knowledge of many thousands of pension schemes and may be able to trace the one you are interested in. You can telephone them on 0191 225 6316 or visit: http://www.opra.gov.uk/registry/intro.shtml and you will find a form to complete.



"Please can I have some information on Inheritance Tax? How does it affect people?"

Answer : A charge to Inheritance Tax arises when someone dies or when assets are transferred to a discretionary trust or to a company, e.g. when a parent dies and assets are left to children. Tax is then paid if the estate on death or the value of the assets transferred is more than the tax threshold. The tax threshold for 2003/04 is £255,000. Therefore if the value of the estate or assets was £305,000 then tax would be payable on £50,000. The current rate of tax is 40%. Therefore on the amount of £50,000 the tax payable would be £20,000 For more detailed information there is a telephone number that you can call, charged at local rate: 0845 3020900



"What has replaced Legal Aid?"

Answer : Legal Aid has been replaced by two schemes. Firstly the Community Legal Service which provides advice and legal representation for people involved in civil cases. Secondly the Criminal Defence Service provides advice and legal representation for people facing criminal charges.

The Criminal Defence Service is available to any person free of charge. It is an automatic right. Access to The Community Legal Service (for civil cases) is means tested.

There is a help line that gives further information charged at a local rate: 0845 608 1122



"I am a pensioner and live in an old house that is poorly insulated and by next winter I would like to have some work done to make my home a warmer place to live in! Are there any grants that could possibly help me? Do I or my family have to pay any money towards the grant at any time?"

Answer : There was a scheme called Home Energy Efficiency Scheme which has now been replaced by a scheme called the Warm Front Team. This scheme can provide packages of insulation and heating measures depending upon the needs of the householder and the construction of the property. A grant of up to £2500 can be paid out to householders who are over the age of 60 and receive an income related benefit.

This not only provides insulation measures but can provide some central heating system for main home areas which do not have a system installed. The freephone number to call for details: 0800 952 0600.

The installation figures given out with reference to this scheme are encouraging. During the period 1st April 2001 to 31st March 2002 there were 314,000 homes receiving insulation measures, 36,500 homes receiving new gas central heating systems, 4,700 receiving electric central heating systems, 5,000 homes receiving wall heaters, 4,700 homes getting replacement boilers and 16,700 homes receiving gas central heating repairs.

Normally you do not have to pay for the work, but if you require any additional work to be carried out then you may be able to have this done at the same time. E.g. having an extra radiator put in a room. You do need ensure how much this will cost before the work is started.

If you move home within seven years of having the work completed you will be asked to pay a contribution to the cost of the work. If however, a person dies within seven years of having their work completed in their home there is no charge to the householder's estate, surviving spouse or other family members who may take over the occupancy.



"What are Direct Payments for care?"

Answer : A Direct Payment is funding given directly to a person or their advocate allowing a person to have care from their choice of provider/carer which they pay for themselves after receiving the funding. It allows the client to have more choice and control in how they access their care, it can also reduces the financial burden on Social Services budgets. It is, however, not mandatory for Social Services to make Direct Payments but they do have the power to do so.