Some members have expressed anxiety and uncertainty about the impact of having to declare any Scottish scheme payments they have received on DWP application forms for benefits and income support they are applying for from the Government.
If you are applying for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), State Pension Credit, Housing Benefit and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Tax Credit (UTC) please do not be concerned, under new 2017 UK legislation sponsored by the Scottish Government, any SIBSS payments received can be disregarded when calculating your income or capital (e.g. savings) that you have when applying for these.
This means that any income or grants you have or are getting from the Scottish scheme are not taken into account when DWP assess your application with them.
And for these benefits listed above, except for Universal Tax Credit, at the moment you don’t need to mention any SIBSS payments in your DWP application form.
However, there are two specific issues to caveat around this.
Working Tax Credit/Universal Tax Credit:
Information we have received from NSS suggests that any historic issues with Working Tax Credits arising (e.g. repayment demands) should be treated in the same way as issues around the new Universal Tax Credit, i.e. lump sum payments are excempt.
Interest received on Scheme lump sums treated as ‘earnings’:
Also, please note, any interest received on lump sum payments received from the Scottish scheme may have to be declared as ‘earnings’ on any DWP forms requesting earnings details
Full details from the SIBSS Guidance can be found here:
For convenience, we’ve copied the guidance, in full, below:
Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme
Guidance on Tax and Benefits Exemptions
Any payments you receive from the Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme (SIBSS) do not need to be taken into account when calculating your income tax bill or any entitlement to means-tested benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions as long as you live in the United Kingdom. The guidance below provides more details on this and what to do if you have any problems relating to this.
The Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme (Application of Sections 731, 733 and 734 of the Income Tax (Trading and Other Income) Act 2005) Order 2017 provides that any regular payments from the scheme, such as annual payments or income top-up support, are not taxable. This means that SIBSS does not need to deduct income tax from your payments and you do not need to declare the payments in any income tax return you submit to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). This Order does not cover lump sum payments or one-off grants from the scheme because they are not subject to income tax.
Income support, JSA, pension credit, housing benefit and ESA
The Social Security (Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme) Regulations 2017 provide that any payments from SIBSS can be disregarded when calculating your income or any capital (such as savings) that you have when you apply for any of the following means-tested benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP):
Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
State Pension Credit
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
This means that your income and any grants from the scheme are not taken into account when DWP assesses your application. Currently you do not need to mention any SIBSS payments in your application form.
The Universal Credit Regulations 2013 also allow for payments from SIBSS to be disregarded when calculating your income or any capital (such as savings) that you have when you apply for Universal Credit from DWP. In this case, SIBSS is not specifically named in the Regulations, but DWP Ministers have approved the Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme as a scheme in relation to ‘contaminated blood products’ which means the exemption applies to anyone receiving a payment from SIBSS.
The Council Tax Reduction (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2017 also allows for any payments from SIBSS or any other UK infected blood scheme approved by English, Welsh or Northern Irish Ministers to be disregarded when calculating your income and any capital you have (such as savings) when you apply to your local council for a reduction in your council tax bill (formerly known as Council Tax benefit).
These provisions in relation to Council Tax apply to beneficiaries who are living in Scotland as the Regulations only apply to Scottish Councils. However, we expect similar regulations to come into force later in 2017 which will cover anyone living in an English, Welsh or Northern Irish local authority area.
What to do if DWP, HMRC or your Council queries your income from the scheme If there are any queries from DWP, HMRC or your local Council in relation to your income from the scheme you can point them to this guidance in the first instance. However, if you have any problems or you are invited to a formal interview then you may wish to call or email SIBSS staff – they can provide you with a letter to confirm the payments you have received from SIBSS and confirm that these payments should be disregarded.
If you have any queries about this information you can call SIBSS on 0131 275 6754 or email NSS.SIBSS@nhs.net. There is also further information about the scheme on the website at https://nhsnss.org/SIBSS
If this article prompts any further questions please also get in touch with the Forum and we will assist in anyway we can.