The Upside to PPI Policy Scandal

Heading into the Christmas season, we may actually see the silver lining to the PPI policy scandal. Specifically, consumers are walking around with a little extra cash in their pockets, courtesy of the banks involved in the scandal.

It has been heard in recent weeks that, in an effort to boost a declining economy, the government has considered organizing “helicopter drops of money.” In other words, if this idea goes through, we will all be receiving a nice sum of money from Chancellor George Osborne in the near future for our Christmas shopping.

Just last week, Sir Mervyn King unleashed the full power he holds in office to put a stop to the plans. He argued that the handing out of huge wads of non-recoverable cash to consumers would be a dangerous and inflationary move that would put the Bank at risk for bankruptcy.

Of course, King can rest easy at the moment because there is actually no need for the Bank and Treasury to be dropping money anywhere. This payout is going to consumers via the high-street banks involved in the PPI policy scandal.

According to the FSA, £6.5 billion worth of compensation has been handed out since the beginning of 2011, with the Lloyds Banking Group paying £5.3 billion of that sum. Although total provisioning for PPI claims currently stands at over £12 billion, it is expected that that number will rise to at least £15 billion. If the banks pay out two-thirds of the money they have set aside to their customers, we should expect to see a £10 billion potential demand boost.

A £12.9 billion in PPI compensation may be seen as modest, especially considering a £1.5 trillion economy, but it is still substantial enough to see a noticeable increase in consumer spending. The average person is seeing a PPI payout of £2,000-£3,000. It’s a nice sum after years of watching living standards spiral downward.

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A Guide to Care Home Fee Eligibility

Understanding the eligibility requirements for care home fees can be frustrating to say the least. If you or a loved one is planning to reside in a care home, there are a few things that you may need to understand. You are entitled to assistance with regards to paying for your care and you should continue to receive many state benefits when you reside in a care home. Understanding what benefits you are entitled to is very important and here is break down of those benefits and what you need to understand about each of them.

 

Attendance Allowance

AA or Attendance Allowance is for those who are 65 years of age and over and who need someone to help take care of them on a daily basis due to metal or physical disabilities. AA is a tax-free benefit and if you receive other assistance, AA will still be paid out for the first four weeks of care home residence. It begins again on the 13th week or when you begin paying for your own care.

 

Disability Living Allowance

DLA or Disability Living Allowance is also a tax-free benefit and this assistance helps to cover the extra costs that are associated with being disabled. There are two different components of DLA and these include mobility and care fees. If you move into a care home then the mobility component should not be affected. If you are receiving assistance from your Local Authority, your care component under DLA will only be paid for the first four weeks of residency and will begin again on the 13th week or when your Local Authority assistance runs out. If you are receiving NHS funding, your mobility and care components may both be affected so you should check with the office that typically pays your DLA.

 

Housing and Council Tax Benefits

Housing benefits assist those who receive low income and help to cover the cost of rent. Council tax benefits assist people who have lower incomes to pay their council tax bills. If you are moving into a care home, either permanently or temporarily, you will still receive both of these benefits for up to one year. If you are only in a care home for a short period of time and are considered to be on a trial period then both of these benefits will halt after 13 weeks.

 

Income Support and Pension Credits

Just as the name implies, income support is designed to assist those with a low income. Pension credit is designed to guarantee that you have a minimum income amount and will provide additional benefits to those over a certain age. If you live in a care home, you are entitled to claim Income Support as well as Pension Credit. You should note however that these two benefits do count as income for your assessment through your Local Authority so they may show that your income is too high for other assistance. If your stay is only temporary, you can claim both of these benefits for up to one year.

 

Putting It All Together

It can be very difficult to fully understand how these benefits work for and against you when being assessed. Moving into a care home can be costly and knowing what you qualify for before you make that move is important in helping you to fund the rising costs of care home residence. Speak with your Local Authority or someone else with experience of these issues to ensure that you are getting all of the benefits to which you are entitled.

 

This article was provided by Cheselden Continuing Care, the leading review specialists of care home claims in the UK. Contact them for information about care fee refund and other care home funding issues.

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Insurance Essentials for the Self-Employed

If you are self-employed, you must adhere to health and safety laws. Most people go about their work unaware of the paperwork and policies needed such as first aid and fire precaution, simply because it is the employer’s responsibility to take care of this.

But as a freelancer the onus is on you to ensure your own safety as well as those around you. It is your responsibility to comply with regulations and to keep your clients safe.

So here are some expert health and safety tips for being self-employed and remember; it pays to follow them unless you want to end up standing in front of a judge for liability!

  • What does the law say?

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states that you have the duty to make sure you and others affected by your work activities are no exposed to harm. However the Act is currently going through a consultation to excuse those in ‘low risk’ occupations.

The Löfstedt review is campaigning to exempt contractors from the law whose work poses no potential risk of harm. If the report is acted upon, it could benefit up to one million freelancers.

Professor Löfstedt stated in the report: “The actual burden that the regulations currently place upon these self-employed may not be particularly significant due to existing exceptions in some regulations and the limited prospect of these being enforced but it will help reduce the perception that health and safety law is inappropriately applied.”

  • What are your responsibilities?

 

–       Take reasonable care to look after your own health and safety

–       Cooperate with your client’s health and safety procedures

–       Safeguard the health and safety of other people affected by your work

–       Use tools and other equipment properly in line with safety instructions and any training given

 

  • How can you look after your own health and safety?

One of the ways you can do this is by assessing the risks involved. Next time you do some work, consider the following dangers:

–       Is the work stressful?

–       Do you have to handle any dangerous equipment or substances?

–       Are you medically fit to work alone?

–       Take into account first aid needs; slips, trips and falls; electricity; fire; noise and manual handling

–       Are there contingency plans in case of an emergency or accident?

–       Is there a risk of violence?

Nevertheless, there is always the risk of injury or death as accidents can happen so you should cover yourself just in case with insurance. This just gives you some peace of mind that if you were to suddenly find yourself in the situation unable to work and provide for your family, that you are covered

Employer’s Liability 

This insurance covers you for any liability you may have to your employees.

Public Liability

This insurance will cover you for any liability or death to third parties, and damage to third party property as a result of negligence by you or your employees.

Conclusion…

Make sure you follow these health and safety tips to ensure that you and those around you are safe when you are working.

This article was written by Nixon Williams, the specialist accounting company for self-employed individuals. Visit the site today for advice on tax efficiency and to check out the Take Home Pay Calculator.

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