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  • FIRST POST
    • Incywincy21
    • By Incywincy21 15th May 17, 8:00 PM
    • 48Posts
    • 167Thanks
    Incywincy21
    DRO via StepChange
    • #1
    • 15th May 17, 8:00 PM
    DRO via StepChange 15th May 17 at 8:00 PM
    Hi,

    I am just wondering if Step Change 'disregard' P.I.P (as an income& then expenditure) or if you have to justify each thing you spend it on in your budget?

    I heard Citizens Advice and National Debt Line put it down as Adult Care Costs/Disibility Costs... but what about Step Change?

    Many Thanks
Page 1
    • wba31
    • By wba31 16th May 17, 8:50 AM
    • 2,151 Posts
    • 1,141 Thanks
    wba31
    • #2
    • 16th May 17, 8:50 AM
    • #2
    • 16th May 17, 8:50 AM
    No-one can dictate to you what it is spent on. If you receive £100 of PIP for example and you spend £100 on care costs but don't care to divulge what that may cover it will simply go into adult care costs.


    In my understanding the big charities ask if you want to deal with it as above or include it across household budget as some people don't have specific costs for it.


    only potential issue is if it is budgeted aside, but goes into savings for when something comes up. I once had a case declined due to the client having £1500 saved from PIP. Argued that it was from PIP so surely disregarded, but the response I got back was that it was an asset due to being a lump sum of cash...
    • Incywincy21
    • By Incywincy21 16th May 17, 6:59 PM
    • 48 Posts
    • 167 Thanks
    Incywincy21
    • #3
    • 16th May 17, 6:59 PM
    • #3
    • 16th May 17, 6:59 PM
    Hi,

    Many thanks for your reply!

    Sadly no savings - things are pretty tight right now... it was just because some of step change's budget sheet didn't alocate categories if I was to have to specify what my PIP goes on (whereas NDL's had a category for Adult Care Costs- Stepchange doesn't seem to have this option either) and they ask you to complete the budiet sheet before ringing!

    Again, many thanks.
    • fatbelly
    • By fatbelly 17th May 17, 12:04 AM
    • 11,508 Posts
    • 8,644 Thanks
    fatbelly
    • #4
    • 17th May 17, 12:04 AM
    • #4
    • 17th May 17, 12:04 AM
    All competent authorities have the same guidance to follow:

    All benefits should be scheduled, including benefits paid to disabled people for their care, supervision and / or their mobility needs. These benefits include Attendance Allowance, Constant Attendance Allowance under the Industrial Injuries or War Pensions Schemes, Disability Living Allowance, War Pensioners Mobility Supplement or grants for the use of a vehicle, Personal Independence Payments and Armed Forces Independence Payments. In the case of these benefits payable to disabled people for their care, supervision or mobility needs, it is acceptable to record the same amount as expenditure.
    • wba31
    • By wba31 17th May 17, 8:53 AM
    • 2,151 Posts
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    wba31
    • #5
    • 17th May 17, 8:53 AM
    • #5
    • 17th May 17, 8:53 AM
    Hi,

    Many thanks for your reply!

    Sadly no savings - things are pretty tight right now... it was just because some of step change's budget sheet didn't alocate categories if I was to have to specify what my PIP goes on (whereas NDL's had a category for Adult Care Costs- Stepchange doesn't seem to have this option either) and they ask you to complete the budiet sheet before ringing!

    Again, many thanks.
    Originally posted by Incywincy21


    If using their online tool then ring them and they can sort it over the phone for you. As much as I can see what they're trying with it, my personal opinion is that this job needs a human touch for common sense decisions...
    • Incywincy21
    • By Incywincy21 17th May 17, 10:42 AM
    • 48 Posts
    • 167 Thanks
    Incywincy21
    • #6
    • 17th May 17, 10:42 AM
    • #6
    • 17th May 17, 10:42 AM
    Many thanks... It seems ringing them will be the best option.
    It seems a minefield right now. I understand getting myself in such a mess in the first place doesn't help...I'm sure I'll feel better when it starts to get sorted.
    • Incywincy21
    • By Incywincy21 18th May 17, 12:43 AM
    • 48 Posts
    • 167 Thanks
    Incywincy21
    • #7
    • 18th May 17, 12:43 AM
    • #7
    • 18th May 17, 12:43 AM
    Just an update for anyone in a similar position...
    They did want everything I spent care costs on. They didn't differenciate PIP from any other income (in the sense that they didn't allow the same expenditure as one category)... I had to specify what I spend it on for care (she said "for example do you spend more than average on Heating? Haircuts? Fuel? Clothes? because of your disability and therefore they will go down as 'care related costs') Which made it very difficult as for me it varies from month to month with what I need and what and how much!
    • fatbelly
    • By fatbelly 18th May 17, 6:45 AM
    • 11,508 Posts
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    fatbelly
    • #8
    • 18th May 17, 6:45 AM
    • #8
    • 18th May 17, 6:45 AM
    When you say 'they' you mean stepchange?

    The intermediary Guidance that I quoted above is from v14 of the notes (going to get technical here). Now I've checked and this paragraph does not make it into v16, which is a slimmed-down document released because of the new DRO2 application process. However v16 does say to refer back to v14 for the finer detail, and everything will be sorted in v17, which is not yet published.

    So as far as I can see it is still legitimate to:

    In the case of these benefits payable to disabled people for their care, supervision or mobility needs, it is acceptable to record the same amount as expenditure
    .
    • wba31
    • By wba31 18th May 17, 9:06 AM
    • 2,151 Posts
    • 1,141 Thanks
    wba31
    • #9
    • 18th May 17, 9:06 AM
    • #9
    • 18th May 17, 9:06 AM
    When you say 'they' you mean stepchange?

    The intermediary Guidance that I quoted above is from v14 of the notes (going to get technical here). Now I've checked and this paragraph does not make it into v16, which is a slimmed-down document released because of the new DRO2 application process. However v16 does say to refer back to v14 for the finer detail, and everything will be sorted in v17, which is not yet published.

    So as far as I can see it is still legitimate to:

    .
    Originally posted by fatbelly

    StepChange have their own DRO team who only deal with clients once a DRO has been recommend.
    This advisor probably wasn't on that team due to OP only just starting process so would not have been working by the guidance notes.
    • Incywincy21
    • By Incywincy21 18th May 17, 4:10 PM
    • 48 Posts
    • 167 Thanks
    Incywincy21
    When you say 'they' you mean stepchange?

    The intermediary Guidance that I quoted above is from v14 of the notes (going to get technical here). Now I've checked and this paragraph does not make it into v16, which is a slimmed-down document released because of the new DRO2 application process. However v16 does say to refer back to v14 for the finer detail, and everything will be sorted in v17, which is not yet published.

    So as far as I can see it is still legitimate to:

    .
    Originally posted by fatbelly
    Yes, sorry I meant Step Change. When I tried to question why I had to specify everything I spend it on (I am a bit pathetic) I just got told that if it's an income they have to put down what all your expenses are... and they're happy to put down what your care costs are but they have to be documented...
    I wasn't too pleased with the way I was spoke to, but I guess I did get myself into this mess!
    • Incywincy21
    • By Incywincy21 18th May 17, 4:15 PM
    • 48 Posts
    • 167 Thanks
    Incywincy21
    StepChange have their own DRO team who only deal with clients once a DRO has been recommend.
    This advisor probably wasn't on that team due to OP only just starting process so would not have been working by the guidance notes.
    Originally posted by wba31
    Hi, thanks for your reply...
    For me this wasn't helpful as I didn't feel they could understand that I couldn't fit their budget as my expenses vary month to month for my PIP and so they said to take it off this month's figures... I was then over the '£50 surplus income' and therefore have not been passed to a DRO adviser, just offered a DMP instead!
    To me it makes no sense if the people taking the information don't use the guidance - as it means some of these clients aren't then referred for further advice.
    • DorisTrousers
    • By DorisTrousers 18th May 17, 5:20 PM
    • 492 Posts
    • 286 Thanks
    DorisTrousers
    Hi, thanks for your reply...
    For me this wasn't helpful as I didn't feel they could understand that I couldn't fit their budget as my expenses vary month to month for my PIP and so they said to take it off this month's figures... I was then over the '£50 surplus income' and therefore have not been passed to a DRO adviser, just offered a DMP instead!
    To me it makes no sense if the people taking the information don't use the guidance - as it means some of these clients aren't then referred for further advice.
    Originally posted by Incywincy21
    I would say I am shocked, but I'm not. Seen it far too many times for it to be a one off or a coincidence. You only have to follow some very experienced free sector debt advisors on Twitter, who do not work for the above organisation, to find that I am not alone in this opinion. If you do not like the advice given you by any organisation then remember that you are free to take a second or third opinion.
    • wba31
    • By wba31 18th May 17, 8:38 PM
    • 2,151 Posts
    • 1,141 Thanks
    wba31
    Hi, thanks for your reply...
    For me this wasn't helpful as I didn't feel they could understand that I couldn't fit their budget as my expenses vary month to month for my PIP and so they said to take it off this month's figures... I was then over the '£50 surplus income' and therefore have not been passed to a DRO adviser, just offered a DMP instead!
    To me it makes no sense if the people taking the information don't use the guidance - as it means some of these clients aren't then referred for further advice.
    Originally posted by Incywincy21
    If your actual surplus is under £50 as you set aside the full amount of DLA/PIP each month for the sporadic and changing costs you face then i would firstly put in a complaint. I know their DRO team would treat it like that if you asked, so the rest of their advisors should.
    I would also take take DorisTrouser's advice and go elsewhere.
    • fatbelly
    • By fatbelly 18th May 17, 8:52 PM
    • 11,508 Posts
    • 8,644 Thanks
    fatbelly
    I agree with the above.

    I think I have posted elsewhere that I am seeing people on a regular basis now who have been turned down for a DRO by stepchange (and Payplan) but who are clearly suited to a DRO and whose applications are accepted without problem.

    Frankly I could do without the extra work at the moment, guys.
    • Incywincy21
    • By Incywincy21 18th May 17, 9:48 PM
    • 48 Posts
    • 167 Thanks
    Incywincy21
    Thanks to all three of you
    - Doris Trousers, many thanks for your reply. It's sad (but also good in another sense!) to know that i'm not the only one with this frustrating opinion of Step Change. I hadn't realised that after I'd been given advice and it had been processes and they'd recommended a DMP (I told them i needed time to think -
    I didn't agree to anything) that I'm still free to get advice from elsewhere. I think I may if it's likely a DRO would still be an option via another charity... the debt is consuming every thought, every minute of every day and when they mentioned years and years of a DMP I just felt horrific!

    - wba31, many thanks for replying. Yes if my DLA is set aside then I most definitely have under £50 surplus (although my money varies, most months i'm more likely to be slightly in the minus than have much surplus). I'm definitely going to get further advice... and I guess a complaint may be a possibility - but I'm quite pathetic in these situations. Saying that, if it stops someone else experiencing this (wishfull thinking maybe?!) then it would be worth it

    -Fatbelly, many thanks for replying. As I said above its sad to know this is happening to people. When I tried to question it, I think it was their attitude that made me really feel so down trodden. I think they need to change their system so that people taking your information know the 'guidance' for referral...

    Thanks everyone.
    • wba31
    • By wba31 20th May 17, 8:45 PM
    • 2,151 Posts
    • 1,141 Thanks
    wba31

    - wba31, many thanks for replying. Yes if my DLA is set aside then I most definitely have under £50 surplus (although my money varies, most months i'm more likely to be slightly in the minus than have much surplus). I'm definitely going to get further advice... and I guess a complaint may be a possibility - but I'm quite pathetic in these situations. Saying that, if it stops someone else experiencing this (wishfull thinking maybe?!) then it would be worth it
    Originally posted by Incywincy21
    In terms of complaining, I think a simple email stating what's happened, how it contradicts advice all of us on here have given (why not even link to this thread) and an explanation how actually you shouldnt have to explain to the penny what your DLA is spent on, i imagine for MANY people that may be a little personal.

    Or if you're struggling, ask us on here, we might draft something for you! as you can tell, we advisors are simply wanting to see people get the right advice and support into the options they are eligible for, and it gets frustrating for us when we see people not getting that, through "certain individuals mis-interpreting the rules, or an endemic within the company" - to quote sourcrates' correct thinking from another post...
    • Incywincy21
    • By Incywincy21 21st May 17, 12:16 AM
    • 48 Posts
    • 167 Thanks
    Incywincy21
    Wba31, I have constructed a letter today and will re read before sending Monday... Yes it was quite personal and at one stage when they were asking about 'other spending' I even said "do I have to tell you what that's for as it's quite personal?" they said I did so that they could justify it as a legitimately high expense as their budget sheet was telling them it was too high

    I really appreciate the advice given from you all - it has stopped me from feeling so hopeless. I feel there may still be a way out of this dark tunnel for me yet!
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