Proposed Changes to the Short Break Grant and SNIPS Clubs – Latest October 2018

Short Breaks Update 5 October 2018

Thank you to all who took part in the recent consultation on our proposals for Short Breaks for children and young people with disabilities.

A number of changes are going to be made this year to the Short Breaks Grant and SNIPs. This follows the formal decision made by Cllr Jackie Drayton, the Lead Council Member for Children and Family Services, and the discussion of that decision at the Council’s Scrutiny Committee on the 3rd September 2018.

What will change:

The Short Breaks Grant

At the moment a Short Breaks Grant of £400 per year is available to all eligible families. Following the consultations and decision-making process we are keeping the Short Breaks Grant and will keep it at £400, but are introducing additional eligibility criteria as follows:

Changes to the eligibility criteria:-

1. The Short Breaks Grant will be available for children and young people from birth to their 18th birthday. At age 18, eligibility for the grant stops.

2. Families can receive a Short Breaks Grant or another short break or respite service but not both. Where their child already receives a short break service like daytime activities (SNIPs) and overnight respite, they will not be eligible to apply for a Short Breaks Grant as well. The exception to this will be where a family has more than one disabled child and one of the children receives a Short Break service. If the other child would be eligible in their own right for a Short Breaks Grant then the family could apply for a grant for that child.

3. Eligibility for the Short Breaks Grant would take into account family income. Families in receipt of relevant benefits or with a household income of less than £21,000, who are eligible, will still be entitled to apply. Families not on benefits and with a household income higher than £21,000 would no longer be eligible for the Short Breaks Grant.

The Short Breaks Grant application process for 2018-19 will include an income assessment. Further details of this will be available when the grant process opens later this month.

Special Needs Inclusion Playcare Services (SNIPS)

Introduction of a parent/carer contribution towards the cost of the service.

1. Mainstream clubs for disabled and non-disabled children

Families will have to pay the basic club/activity costs as decided by the organisation that runs the club, in the same way as families of non-disabled children who attend that club. The Council will continue to fund any additional support costs that enable the children and young people with disabilities to attend the club.

2. Specialist clubs for disabled children only

Families will be asked to pay a contribution of £7 for each short break session allocated as part of their package. Families who have more than one disabled child accessing a SNIPs club would contribute a family payment capped at £10 per session. Families in receipt of benefits or with a household income less that £21,000 would be exempt from the payment. The Council will continue to commission the clubs, and will seek to ensure the clubs are distributed across the City.

When will the Changes Start?

The Short Breaks Grant application process for 2018-19 will open in October, and information about how to apply will be available on the council website.

Changes to SNIPs will not be implemented immediately but will be brought in in 2019 when the new contracts with clubs start. If you use SNIPS services we will contact you with details of how the income assessment will work.

If you think you might be able to claim benefits, check online at https://www.entitledto.co.uk/

Yours sincerely

Sam Martin

Head of Commissioning – Vulnerable Children and Adults 

Read about the consultation

The consultation is now closed.

This was a Sheffield City Council consultation which ran between 4 December 2017 and 9 March 2018. 

We consulted on proposals for the delivery of short breaks in Sheffield. The questionnaire was available online, for all parent/carers and children/young people who currently use, have used, or plan to use short break and/or respite services in Sheffield. 

Paper copies of the questionnaire were sent to families using services where we had a full address, and were available on request.

The consultation focused on:

  • Short Breaks Grants
  • special needs inclusion playcare services (SNIPS):
  • Saturday, holiday or after school short break activities in mainstream Clubs
  • Saturday, holiday or after school short break activities in targeted clubs for disabled children only

The feedback was analysed for each proposal to assess the impact across these services and we also considered the types of family who completed the questionnaire.

The analysis was put into a report for decision-makers which also included analysis of service use data between 2015 and 2018. Each proposal was addressed with both sets of information to consider the potential impact on families.

The final decision was signed off by both the Executive Director and the Cabinet Member.

All families who currently use short break services were sent a letter explaining the changes to services.

Changes to the Short Breaks Grant

  • eligibility for a Short Breaks Grant will stop on a young person’s 18th birthday
  • families would not be eligible for the Short Breaks Grant if they already access other short break or respite services
  • families not on benefits and with a household income of over £21,000 will not be eligible for the grant

You may apply for a child or children under 18 but not for young people aged 18 or over who can progress into adult short break services. Young people aged 18 or over can progress into Adult short break services. Support may also be available through other organisations, for example the Time for Me grant from ‘Carers in Sheffield’.

Families would not be eligible for the Short Breaks Grant if they already access other short break or respite services. If you would like to apply for short breaks you will have to decide between the Short Breaks Grant and the other service you receive as you cannot receive both. This includes all other short break and respite services provided by, or accessed through the Council. 

Don’t cancel anything yet. If you decide you want to apply for the grant instead, go through the income assessment and the application process and see if you are eligible before you cancel anything.

This is the total income into your household, including everybody who lives there. You may know this as ‘means-testing’ - a means test is a determination of whether an individual or family is eligible for assistance, based upon whether the individual or family possesses the means to do without that help. 

If services are means-tested, this means that your eligibility will depend on your income and may look at how much capital you have.

The threshold is set at £21,000 per household, therefore if you aren’t in receipt of benefits and your household income is above this level you will not be eligible for the Short Breaks Grant.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) does not count as part of your household income in these proposals.

Carers allowance is taxable and counts as income for tax credits and as unearned income for universal credit. The allowance is therefore included as part of your total income. If you get Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit, you must contact the Tax Credits office to tell them about Carer’s Allowance claim.

You don’t need to know which service you want, whether it’s a short breaks grant or SNIPs club, before you do the income assessment but you won’t be able to apply for both.

The application will be a 2 stage process:

  1. Complete your Income Assessment - This will provide you with confirmation of whether you're eligible to apply under the new rules. If you are on the listed benefits or your household income is below £21,000 you can take step 2 to apply for a grant.
  2. Apply for a Short Break Grant - To be eligible for a Short Breaks Grant you will need to meet the rest of the grant eligibility, and have completed the income assessment.

If you do not complete the household Income Assessment first, this will delay your application for a Short Breaks Grant.

Changes to SNIPS 

Parents will pay the cost of day time short breaks in mainstream clubs

Parents will pay the cost of the club activity for daytime short breaks in mainstream club, eg archery, football club, horse-riding, sports club.

Mainstream clubs usually have a number of children attending, not all with disabilities, and are open to the general public. Targeted clubs are delivered for disabled children only and are not open to the general public. If you're unsure please ask the club or contact your SNIPS mentor.

The club will tell you the cost of attending and collect the money from you directly. If your child attends a club that you find too expensive to pay on an ongoing basis, you may be able to find a lower cost alternative. If we receive feedback that this is often the case, we will do some work to try to increase the number of clubs available at different costs.

If you're in receipt of means-tested benefits or your household income is assessed to be below the threshold of £21,000 you will not have to pay activity costs. This is the total income of your household, including everybody who lives there.

DLA does not count as part of your household income in these proposals. 

Carers allowance is taxable and counts as income for tax credits and as unearned income for universal credit. The allowance is therefore included as part of your total income. If you get Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit, you must contact the Tax Credits office to tell them about Carer’s Allowance claim.

To be eligible for a service you will need to meet the full eligibility, and have completed the income assessment. If you do not complete the household Income Assessment first, this will delay your application.

Changes will be implemented for 1 April 2019 and families using the service will be contacted regarding income assessment, to have this complete by the end of January.

You don’t need to know which service you want, whether it’s a short breaks grant or SNIPs club, before you do the income assessment but you won’t be able to apply for both.

Parents will pay toward the cost of daytime short breaks in targeted clubs

Parents will contribute toward the cost of the activity for daytime short breaks in targeted clubs, which provide short beaks for disabled children only.

Mainstream clubs usually have a number of children attending, not all with disabilities, and are open to the general public.  Targeted clubs are delivered for disabled children only and are not open to the general public.  If you are unsure please ask the club or contact your SNIPS mentor.

The costs for disabled only children’s clubs are much higher. We are therefore asking parents for the same contribution, across all clubs, because it is the easiest and most straightforward approach, both for families and for the short breaks clubs. Having different amounts for each club could mean increased administration costs and would not be helpful for families.

How you pay will be decided by the clubs providing the service and the clubs will collect your contribution.

Where families have more than one child attending a targeted club, families will be asked to make one payment of £10 per session that covers all children attending.

If you have children that attend different services please ensure you make this known to all the services you use. Depending upon the outcome of the consultation decision, it may mean you pay for the mainstream club activity session, and make a contribution to the targeted club. Unless you are on benefits or below the income threshold, in which case the service may be free.

If your child is sick or on holiday and unable to attend their club, you’ll most likely still have to pay. The clubs employ staff to work at every session to ensure trained staff are available to meet the children’s needs. The staff must be paid whether children attend or not. If a session cost is not paid, this could leave the club without enough money to pay staff wages. A few clubs may waive this but we do not expect that to be the case in many instances.

If you're in receipt of means-tested benefits or your household income is assessed to be below the threshold of £21,000 you will not have to pay a contribution. This is the total income into your household, including everybody who lives there.

DLA does not count as part of your household income in these proposals.

Carers allowance is taxable and counts as income for tax credits and as unearned income for universal credit. The allowance is therefore included as part of your total income. If you get Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit, you must contact the Tax Credits office to tell them about Carer’s Allowance claim.

To be eligible for a service you will need to meet the full eligibility, and have completed the income assessment. If you do not complete the household Income Assessment first, this will delay your application.

Changes will be implemented for 1 April 2019 and families using the service will be contacted regarding income assessment, to have this complete by the end of January.

You don’t need to know which service you want, whether it’s a short breaks grant or SNIPs club, before you do the income assessment but you won’t be able to apply for both.

About the Income Assessment 

Families will need to complete an Income Assessment online or over the phone. You don’t need to know which service you want, whether it’s a short breaks grant or SNIPs club, before you do the income assessment, but you won’t be able to apply for both.

If you are on a benefit listed below, no further income will need to be assessed and you will be eligible to apply for a service. We will need to verify whether you are on benefits.

  • Free school meals
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Tax Credits (Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit)
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Support
  • Social Fund (Sure Start Maternity Grant, Funeral Payment, Cold Weather Payment)
  • Universal Credit

The easiest way for us to tell is if you are entitled to free school meals. This does not show us your income, but if a family is eligible for free school meals it means that they are in receipt of certain benefits.

If you are not eligible for free school meals, we will ask for evidence of other benefits or your household income.

If you are not receiving any of the listed benefits, we will ask for proof of the household income, the combined incomes of all people sharing a household.

The length of time the assessment takes will vary as it will depend on how many applications need assessing and the level of information required. There can be delays when not all the necessary information is provided when requested but we are working to reduce any delays we can by having a simple and short process.

Contact details

If you have a question about these change, which is not answered here, please email shortbreaksconsultation@sheffield.gov.uk or phone 0114 273 5611.

For enquiries about the Short Break Grant email CYPF_shortbreakgrants@sheffield.gov.uk or phone 0114 273 6032.

For enquiries about SNIPS email SNIPSBusinessSupport@sheffield.gov.uk or phone 0114 273 5368.