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Discretionary support scheme

The purpose of the discretionary support is to provide additional, time-limited financial and non-financial support to beneficiaries and their families in order to address immediate needs.

The needs that are considered are those that have direct effect on an individual’s independence, have been brought about as a direct result of their infection or its treatment and are otherwise unable to be met.

Anyone registered with EIBSS can apply and applications are assessed against set criteria. No one automatically qualifies for this support, including beneficiaries who receive financial support from EIBSS.

Applications for all types of discretionary support can be submitted at any time should a beneficiary’s circumstances change. Normally discretionary support payments will only be backdated to the date we receive the application.

We'll aim to provide a decision on all applications within 30 working days.  It may take longer if we need to ask you or your doctor for further information.

Discretionary support available

Income top-up payments

What income top-up payments are

This payment is a discretionary monthly payment to increase your household income to help with general living costs. An assessment is made of your household income and if the income is below set thresholds an application can be made to receive payments.

 

Who can apply

To be eligible to apply for an income top-up payment, the applicant must be registered with EIBSS as a bereaved spouse, civil or long-term partner who lived with an infected beneficiary.  
 

How to apply

To make a claim you need to download and complete an application form (PDF: 259KB).

Alternatively, we can post an application form to you. To request this, contact us.
 

How it is assessed

Income top-up payments are means-tested assessments and based on household income. The household income is calculated using all income received by the household, including earnings and benefits.

 

As part of this assessment we will check that you are receiving all of the help you are entitled to through benefits, tax credits or other sources of means-tested support.

 

We can help you to claim these benefits. If you are entitled to benefits, or other financial support, but do not claim this will be taken into account when calculating your household’s income.

 

Applicants will receive monthly top-up payments and the amount received will depend on the applicant’s status and the outcome of the assessment. 

 

Details of income used for this assessment, and the amount that applicants may be eligible for, can be found in the Income top-up and Child Payment Support leaflet (PDF: 109KB).

 

These payments are reviewed on a yearly basis, but let us know if your circumstances change at any time.
 

Assessment and verification of household income

Each applicant will be asked to submit a signed declaration of their household’s income.

 

This should be supported by either 3 months’ worth of bank statements or a combination of:

  •  a statement from the person or company that pays the money
  • a court order
  • payslips
  • a full bank statement showing the amount and how often it is paid
  • your annual council tax statement for 2018 to 2019

Discretionary one off payments

What they are

Discretionary one-off payments are a form of financial support that beneficiaries and bereaved spouses and partners may apply for to cover the cost of certain essential, health-related items or services.

 

You can view what payments can be applied and what supporting evidence is required in the Discretionary Payments Guidance Document (PDF: 153KB).
 

Who can apply

To be eligible to apply for a payment for a discretionary one off payment, the applicant needs to be registered with EIBSS.

 

Everyone registered with EIBSS holds a unique reference number and will be:

 

  • someone historically infected with HIV and / or hepatitis C from NHS blood or blood products or,
  • a bereaved spouse, civil or long-term partner who lived with a beneficiary


How to apply

To make a claim for a one-off payment, you need to download and complete an application form (PDF: 145KB).

To make a claim for a one-off payment towards a funeral, you need to download and complete the discretionary funeral grant application form (PDF: 118KB)

Alternatively, we can post an application form to you. To request this, contact us.

In all cases, the applicant should check their eligibility with us before committing to any service or expenditure.

Payments for children

What they are and how to qualify

These means-tested payments are to help with the costs of bringing up children of an infected beneficiary.

Dependants are children of an infected beneficiary up to the age of 18 years, or up to 21 if in full-time education.

These payments are available to the primary care provider of the child or children. 

Infected beneficiaries may qualify for a child supplement by completing an income top-up and child supplement form and be assessed as having a household income under £37,900.

Bereaved beneficiaries would need to qualify for an income top-up under the threshold of £28,401.

If you are the primary care provider of a child or children of an infected beneficiary but not a beneficiary yourself, you may still be entitled to apply for support for the child or children for whom you are caring. This will be means-tested in the same way as for income top ups for bereaved spouses and partners.
 

Who can apply

To be eligible to apply for a payment for children, the applicant needs to be registered with EIBSS. Everyone registered with EIBSS holds a unique reference number and will be in one of the following groups:

 

  • someone historically infected with HIV and/or hepatitis C from NHS blood or blood products,
  • a bereaved spouse, civil or long-term partner who lived with an infected beneficiary,
  • primary care providers of an infected beneficiary’s biological child or children.


How to apply

To make a claim, you need to download and complete an application form (PDF: 263KB).

Alternatively, we can post an application form to you. To request this, contact us.

Details of income used for this assessment, and the amount that applicants may be eligible for, can be found in the Income top-up and Child Payment Support leaflet (PDF: 109KB).

Winter fuel payments

A one-off winter fuel payment for beneficiaries with HIV and / or hepatitis C will continue to be included in your annual payment schedule and will be paid in December.

 

A one-off winter fuel payment is available to all bereaved spouses or partners registered with us. The one-off payment of £531 will be made in December. 

If the bereaved spouse or partner is already registered for support, they would automatically receive a payment as we hold their bank details. 

If the bereaved spouse/partner does not receive any regular payments as part of the scheme, they need to contact us directly.

Appeals

If your application to the scheme was unsuccessful, you can appeal the decision.

 

An appeal may be considered for two reasons.

 

If you feel:

 

  • we were incorrect to decide that you were not eligible for a payment under the scheme criteria
  • our decision on a support and assistance payment was not justified on the guidance we provided

 We will not consider an appeal where you are not eligible under current criteria, but disagree with the criteria

 

If you wish to appeal, you should contact us, in writing, within 3 months of the date on the rejection letter.

 

We may consider appeals received after 3 months, but only if you can provide a good reason for not contacting us earlier.

 

You can view more information about appeals

Discretionary support review

Why the review was needed

The England Infected Blood Support Scheme (EIBSS) has been administered by us since 1 November 2017.

 

Before this, there were 5 different schemes which were set up to provide support to beneficiaries.

 

The format of the previous schemes meant some individuals would need to register with multiple schemes to be eligible for the discretionary support payments. This could result in people not being aware of the help available.

 

To make sure discretionary support is consistent, we've undertaken and now completed a review of this part of the scheme.

 

The 3 aims of the review were to:

 

  • review current discretionary payments and the criteria that was used to issue them
  • get input from beneficiaries of the previous discretionary schemes and establish which elements of the former schemes needed to be continued
  • create a discretionary support scheme that is consistent for all, with the circumstances for the bereaved to be reviewed separately

The review is now complete and we have created a discretionary support scheme based on your feedback and analysis of the best elements of the former schemes.