Falkland Islands Government introduces new and improved Income Support system
The Falkland Islands Government is pleased to announce a new and improved Income Support system for residents requiring financial assistance. From 4 October 2021, applicants will fill out one application and this will be processed in one location (with the exception of the Winter Fuel Allowance, where an additional application will need to be submitted). The new system brings together the means-tested benefits that were previously administered separately: Welfare Allowance, Rent and Service Charge Rebate, Working and Childcare Credit, and the Winter Fuel Allowance. These changes will make it easier to apply for, administer and receive financial support by consolidating existing benefits and introducing a single point of contact – an Income Support Worker, who will be based in Social Services.
Under the new system, applicants will complete an Income Support application alongside the Income Support Worker, who will provide a fair and thorough appraisal of their financial needs and offer one-to-one advice, in terms of both government support and assistance from community organisations. Provided the applicant has been resident in the Falkland Islands for at least three years and their personal circumstances meet the eligibility criteria, for example if their salary and savings are below the set thresholds, they will be assessed for Income Support.
Additionally, the new system introduces a discretionary aid payment for individuals who are experiencing serious financial hardship but do not meet all of the criteria for Income Support. In these cases, payment will be determined by taking into account the exceptional circumstances of an individual and will be assessed by the Head of Social Services. The discretionary aid payment is not intended to be a mechanism for medium or long term support.
If someone is already receiving financial support from any of the previous means-tested benefits they will receive a letter, email, or phone call from the Income Support Worker, before 1 October 2021, which will explain how the new system works and what to expect, so their benefits will not be disrupted. No current benefit recipients will be worse off under the new system if their personal circumstances remain the same, although these adjustments will still mean that people in employment will be financially better off than those receiving Income Support.
If anyone has questions about the new system, are wondering if they can make an application, or are experiencing financial hardship, please contact the Income Support Worker at Social Services by calling 56001, IncomeSupport.firstname.lastname@example.org, or visiting the office at 20 Scoresby Close. All enquiries will be dealt with in confidence. Where an individual does not have English as their first language, translation will be arranged.