Disability Living Allowance

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a tax-free benefit for people under 65, including children, who have normally care needs or encounter problems getting about.
Disability living allowance (DLA) is paid at different rates depending on how your disability affects you.
There are two types of disability living allowance:one is the care component and the other is the mobility component. You may be able to get one claim or even be entitled to both.
For the care component there are three types of rates. Lower, middle, and higher. To be eligible for the lower rate, you must need help or supervision for most of the day or be unable to cook a main meal for yourself. For this lower rate you would be entitled to £17.75 per week. If you were receiving the middle rate you would get £44.85 per week, this would be because you would need personal care continually through the day or night. To be entitled to the higher rate you would need help throughout the whole day and during the night as well, the higher rate pays £67.00 per week. Even if you live alone and no-one is actually giving you the care you need, you still can get the care component for Disability Living Allowance.
There are only two types of rates for the mobility component, lower and higher. To get this part of the disability living allowance, you must have difficulty in getting out and about. For the lower rate, you would get £17.75 per week if you need guidance or supervision out of doors or in unfamiliar places. For higher rate of this component, you would be entitled to £46.75. This would be because you are unable or virtually unable to walk, or if you have no legs or feet, also if you get very short of breath after only walking a short distance.
To claim DLA you must have needed help for at least 3 months and be likely to need it for another 6 months. However there are special rules that apply to people that have a terminal illness, this allowing them to get the allowance more quickly and easily. This must be claimed before you reach 65.
If you were to start getting the DLA there is chance it could increase your other benefits such as Council Tax Benefits, Working Tax Credits, Pension Credits, Income support, Housing Benefit and Child Tax Credit. This is because Disability Living Allowance is normally ignored as income for working out these income-related benefits and credits.
To claim for DLA, you can call the benefit line enquiry on 0800 88 22 00,download a form from the governments website or contact your local Jobcentre office or local social security office.
We hope you found this useful, and if you do have any more questions regarding anything to do with Disability Living Allowance, please feel free to pop into our office in South London, Tulse Hill, talk to our accountants and tax advisors in our Exeter office, or send us an email.

2008 Pre-Budget Report

In his 2008 Pre-Budget Report speech on 24 November, the Chancellor has set out his actions for supporting people through the difficult times of the current global financial crisis. Among the most important changes to do with tax, VAT and benefits, we can mention the following:
•Personal tax allowance increases to £6475, and the basic rate tax limit to £37,400 from April 2009. This means that basic rate taxpayers will pay £145 less tax a year in 2009-10;
•Basic Personal allowance for individuals with income over £100,000 to be reduced to half its value from April 2010;
•Personal allowances will be scrapped for those earning in excess of £140,000 a year from April 2010.
•A new, higher rate of Income Tax of 45% will be introduced for incomes above £150,000;
•Employee, employer and self-employed rates of National Insurance Contributions will increase by 0.5 per cent from April 2011 but those earning less than £20,000 will be exempted.
•The child benefit increases was brought forward to 5th January 2009 instead of April. This is worth an additional £22 on average to families. The commitment to increase the child element of the Child Tax Credit by £25 above indexation in April 2010 will also be brought forward to April 2009.Children will receive a one-off £70 payment for Christmas.
•All pensioners will be paid £60 in the New Year, the equivalent of bringing forward the April increase in the Basic State Pension for a single pensioner to January.In April 2009 the level of a full State Pension will rise in line with prices from £90.70 to £95.25 a week.
•Pensioners on modest incomes will get an increase in pension credit from £124 to £130 and for couples from £189 to £198 from January 2009;
•The standard rate of VAT will be reduced by 2.5% from 17.5% to 15% on 1 December 2008. This new rate will apply until 31 December 2009, when it will revert to 17.5%.This reduction will be offset by increased duties on alcohol, tobacco and petrol.
•The planned increase in the Small Company Rate from 21% to 22% from 1 April 2009 will take effect from 1st April 2010.
•SMEs will be allowed to spread business tax payments over a period to help to ease cashflow and credit constraints.
•Business losses of up to £50,000 could now be offset against profits made in the past three years rather than just one;
Taxfile‘s tax agents recommend the following link for more details regarding the Pre-budget Report.

Pension Credits

Pension Credit is a tax-free payment for people aged 60 or over living in Great Britain, giving them extra money each week.
In order to get Pension Credit you do not need to have paid National Insurance Contributions(NIC’s).
Pension Credit is made up two elements:

Guarantee Credit element which might be paid to people over 60 and adds up to their weekly income guaranteeing a certain minimum level.

Savings Credit element, which is an extra amount for people aged 65 or over who have some savings for their retirement. The savings Credit will add up to their Guarantee Credit.

If you live your husband,wife or civil partner than you will need to add up your income in order to have Pension Credit calculated.
You are likely to be entitled to Pension Credit if your weekly income is less than £124.05 if you are single and £189.35 if you have a partner.

You may still be able to get Pension Credit if your weekly income is more than these amounts if, for example, you or your partner:
• have a severe disability
• look after a person who is severely disabled
• have certain housing costs – for example, mortgage interest payments

Also, if you or your partner are 65 or over you may be rewarded for saving for your retirement, up to:
£19.71 if you are single
£26.13 a week if you have a partner

You can get Pension Credit even if you live with your grown-up family, you own your own home or you get financial support from friends, family or charity.
You can apply for Pension Credit by freephone by calling the Pension Credit application line 0800 99 1234 or follow the link for the application form .
You can only apply if you are 60 or over or if you are turning 60 in four months time.

If you need further help, Taxfile’s tax accountants in South London and Exeter would be more than happy to guide you through your application.