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Fantastic news..... Smile
Family fund have listened and have changed the income criteria "Slightly"

Previously, the Fund had imposed an income limit on working families alone and families in receipt of benefits were automatically eligible no matter the size of their benefits. The new “fair to all” criterion aimed to put all families on a level playing field by taking account of all income coming into a household, irrespective of whether it was based on earnings or benefits.

The Fund has now completed a three-month review of the change. This shows it to be well understood and broadly popular. However, there have been concerns, particularly in England, that the income limit remained too low for the new system to achieve its objectives of helping all families fairly. As a result, the Fund is delighted to announce that it has increased the income limit. It will also be applying the same limit in all four UK countries.

This means that from 16th August 2010, any family caring for a severely disabled child in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland where household income is less than £28,000 will be eligible to apply for a grant.

Household income is defined as money coming into a household after tax and national insurance has been paid. This includes tax credits and the main benefits but the Fund will continue to disregard Disability Living Allowance and Child Benefit. Where a family contains a disabled adult carer, Disability Living Allowance for this carer will also be disregarded.

Derek Walpole. Chief Executive of the Family Fund, said:

“Our limited funding means we have to set criteria to ensure we are able to help families who need us the most. We listen closely to what families tell us and we are pleased that the new ‘fair to all’ system has been welcomed. We trust that raising the income limit to £28,000 and applying this equally across the UK will address any remaining concerns about fairness

“We know there are so many families that need our help and that families with disabled children are more likely to live in poverty than other families. We will continue to ensure that our limited funding is spent fairly and wisely. We negotiate hard with our suppliers to maximise every penny for the benefit of families and we remain proud that 91p in every pound of funding goes to families in grants.”
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My view on this is that its a positive step from Family fund and shows that they are listening to the many people they have cut off.
However im not sure if this goes far enough.
Do remember that Family fund do take into account housing benefit and also childcare payments from tax credits.
I feel that by assesing housing benefit and childcare payments they are penalising many families who live in more expensive area's.

For example a family in London will pay more rent than a family in Newcastle and although the two families could be on housing benefit they on paper are deemed to recieve more money from family fund but in reality have no more income than the family in lower cost housing as the extra money goes directly to the rent.
This creates a problem where two families with the same income in the house are being penalised.
I think a solution to this would be to cap housing benefit payments so only a certain amount of housing benefit is classed as income or do it via regional areas.

The other problem with the exsisting system is that childcare payments from tax credits are being counted as income.
So a working family may recieve childcare payments in order to allow them to work but then the family are paying out the childcare income to nursery providers so they dont see this money at all.
Yet a family with school age children have no real childcare costs and have school for free allowing them to work.
This means that the current family fund policy is punishing those who work and recieve childcare costs from tax credits.
I think they need to scrap childcare fees in the income calculations.
Its a vital step they have already taken allowing all the Uk countries to be on par rather than making residents of Scotland and Wales recieve more than England and im glad to see this come into a national standard rate.

But still more needs to be done to help those in need.
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Hello Daniel

That is a good response from the family fund team at least they have listened to what others have had to say about this. It is a good step forward for all of us.

Thanks Daniel.

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I applied to the family fund for the first time about 4-5 weeks ago. I have heard nowt from them (not even an acknowledgement of receiving my paperwork) On their website it refers to a ref number to check on my account status. Obviously I cant do that. Every time I try to ring them I get no answer. Can anyone tell me what the process is please. Kind regards Tina
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Hi tina, first time applications can take around 4months to process, im pretty sure the 'check your status' option on their website is for existing applicants. You should hear from them eventually, they usually phone to check all the things you have put down, sometimes they come out and do a visit aswell


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