Changes in Income Related Benefits from 1 October 2021

Executive Council has approved the Social Security (Amendment) Regulations 2021 to come into effect from 1 October, which makes the following changes to Income Related Benefits (IRB):

Change from ‘Household’ to ‘Family’

  • There will be a shift from the ‘household’ to the ‘family’ as the recipient unit. This means that where there are two families in a house, the IRB rate of one family will not be affected by the income of the other family. The term ‘family’ is used to include two adults with or without children and single adults with or without children.

IRB Eligibility and Applications for IRB

  • Adults in full-time work may be eligible for IRB if the family income is below the IRB rate for the family
  • A family with assets twice the annual Minimum Wage based on a 37.5-hour week is not eligible for IRB. There is a full disregard of assets for a family with less than £3,000. Between £3,000 and twice the annual Minimum Wage some disregard will be applied
  • All bank statements and statements of stocks and shares from St Helena and overseas, for three months before a person’s application for IRB, must be submitted with the Application Form as evidence of income and assets.

Introduction of ‘Shared Household Deduction’

  • Shared Household Deduction (for shared household goods and services) as a percentage of the Minimum Income Standard will be introduced and applied to each adult IRB rate in shared accommodation. It will be apportioned pro-rata between all adults. The calculation is applied to non-IRB persons in the shared accommodation, as it is assumed that these persons are sharing costs, and the IRB rate for IRB claimants is set as a share of all adults.

Job Readiness

  • The following categories of job readiness will be introduced:
    • A claimant is job ready and must actively seek work and attend the Benefits Office every two weeks
    • A claimant is not job ready (e.g. for health reasons) and must undertake appropriate activity in order to become job ready
    • A claimant is permanently unable to be employed or is the carer of one or more children under five or his or her disabled child
    • A claimant is employed but family income is below the IRB family rate.

The Benefits Office will be contacting current recipients of IRB to carry out reassessments.  Anyone wishing to apply for IRB under the new system can contact the Benefits Office to book an appointment via tel: 22605.

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24 September 2021

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470