Information and Advice

Here at Community ConneX, we are dedicated to providing all citizens with important and reliable information that can help them to access the support that they need. This service includes answering frequently asked questions around health and social care, signposting and specialist advice.

Frequently asked questions on health and social care

1What is Carer’s Allowance?

The main benefit for carers is called the Carer's Allowance and it's worth £62.10 per week if you're eligible.

You don't have to be related to or live with the person you care for to claim Carer's Allowance.

You'll also get National Insurance credits each week towards your pension if you're under pension age. Don't assume you're not a carer.

You may not think of yourself as a carer. Perhaps you've looked after someone for a long time without ever calling yourself one, or maybe you think the help you give your spouse or parent is simply what you should be doing. If so, you may have been missing out on the help that is available to you.

2What is Employment Support Allowance (ESA)?

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is for people who have an illness, health condition or disability that makes it difficult or impossible to work.

If the Department of Work and Pensions have decided you're not fit for work (i.e. you have limited capability for work), you will be put into either the "Support group" or the "work-related activity group".

Support Group

You'll get up to £109.30 a week. You'll be in this group if the DWP decide that you're not well enough to work and not well enough to be helped to improve your chance of getting work in the future.

Work Related Activity Group (WRAG)

You'll get up to £102.15 a week. You'll be in this group if the DWP decide that you're not well enough to work but are well enough to be helped to improve your chances of getting work in the future.

Once you're assessed, the extra money you get should be backdated to the 14th week of your claim.

If you were getting a premium during the assessment phase as a carer or someone with a severe disability, this will continue.

3What is PIP?

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit for people aged between 16 and 64 who because of a long-term illness or disability may need help with daily activities or getting around.

4What is a personal budget and direct payment?

Personal Budget is an agreed amount of money that is allocated to you personally by your local council (and other funding streams e.g. healthcare) following an assessment of your care and support needs. This is for support to meet your needs that you decide and control. In other words, you control the money for you care and support.

5What can I use a personal budget for?

A personal budget can give you more choice, flexibility and control about the way support is provided A personal budget can only be spent on meeting social care needs as agreed in your support plan. It is not an additional welfare benefit. You can spend your personal budget in a way which meets your support needs and agreed outcomes. This will be decided through the development of your support plan in partnership with your care manager.

6What is the Care Act?

The Care Act 2014, which came into effect from 1st April 2015, represents the most significant reform of care and support in more than 60 years, putting people and their carers in control of their care and support.

Importantly the Care Act changes many aspects of how support is arranged and aims to give greater control and influence to those in need of support. You can find out more information and a helpful film about the Care Act here: http://www.scie.org.uk/care-act-2014/video.asp

7How to get a carer's assessment?

A carer's assessment is for adult carers of adults (over 18years) who are disabled, ill or elderly. It is an opportunity to discuss with the local council what support or services you need. The assessment will look at how caring affects your life, including for example physical, mental and emotional needs and whether you are able or willing to carry on caring.

If you and the person you care for agree, a combined assessment of both your needs can be carried out at the same time.

As a carer you should be offered an assessment by the local council, social services department. If you have not been offered one, you should contact them by phone, in writing or online and ask for a carer’s assessment or for a review of your support plan (if it has been a year since your last one, or less than a year but your circumstances have changed. If you want to, you can ask for an assessment before you take up your caring role.

8How to get an assessment of my social care needs?

Under the Care Act 2014 local councils have a duty to carry out a social care assessment for anyone with needs. If you live in Harrow, you can get ask for an assessment by phoning Access Harrow on 020 8901 2680 or emailing AHadults@harrow.gov.uk

If you live in Brent, you can get an assessment by contacting Brent Social Services, you can reach them on 020 8937 4300 emailing customer.services@brent.gov.uk

If you live in Hillingdon, you can ask for an assessment by phoning 01895 556633 or emailing socialcaredirect@hillingdon.gov.uk

You can also complete a self-assessment on the council’s website on: https://www.hillingdon.gov.uk/article/4555/Apply-for-care-and-support

9What should I do if the council won't give me an assessment?
The council has a legal duty to offer you an assessment if you request one. If you have difficulty you can give us a call on 020 8423 7382.

Support and Wellbeing Information Service Harrow (SWISH)

As a parent company, Community ConneX is part of SWISH through our Harrow Mencap subsidiary.

1Who is the service for?

SWISH is for anyone in Harrow aged 18 years and over who wants information or advice about local support services and ways to keep safe and well. The service is also open to staff in local organisations.

2What do we offer?

We can offer information and advice about a wide range of services, including; how to keep fit and well, manage finances, join social groups, look for work, start a course, access help with housing or welfare benefits, apply for a personal budget, meals on wheels or care at home.

3How can you contact the service?

Open 9am-5pm Monday to Friday

020 8423 7382 Harrow Mencap

020 8515 7867 Single point of access

Email: iag@harrowmencap.org.uk

Email: support@SWISHHarrow.org.ukk

Website: https://www.swishharrow.org.uk/

We can help you find services which offer:

About the Care Act 2014

The Care Act 2014 introduced huge changes to social care services and many new rights for local residents, including a right to information about types of care and how to access them. Please visit www.harrowca.org.uk to find out more about this service and download the service referral form.

How the service is funded

This service has been commissioned by Harrow Council to provide a local Care Act 2014 Information & Advice Service.

Who makes up SWISH?

SWISH is run through Harrow Community Action (HCA), a consortium of local voluntary organisations, with five local charities delivering the service. You can contact these SWISH specialist information & advice services directly, if you prefer:
Age UK HHB Logo

Age UK Hillingdon, Harrow & Brent

Tel: 020 861 7980
Email: enquiries@ageukharrow.org.uk

Harrow Association of Disabled People (HAD) Logo

Harrow Association of Disabled People (HAD)

Tel: 020 8861 9920
Textphone: 07985 244 177

Harrow Carers Logo

Harrow Carers

Tel: 020 868 5224
Email: admin@harrowcarers.org

Harrow Mencap Logo

Harrow Mencap

Tel: 020 8423 7382
Email: iag@harrowmencap.org.uk

Mind in Harrow Logo

Mind in Harrow

Tel: 020 8426 0929
Email: info@mindinharrow.org.uk

Brent Gateway Partnership

As a part of the Brent Gateway Partnership, Community ConneX also delivers a variety of information, advice and signposting to Brent residents, including around services for carers and social isolation prevention.

You can find out more about the Brent Gateway Partnership’s services by contacting our team on 020 3948 0600, emailing on info@brentgateway.org or visiting http://brentgateway.org/

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