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ESA and Permitted Work as a Personal Assistant

Philip J
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Assessor. Independent Living Fund Scotland

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Joined: 11 January 2018

My experience is that many disabled persons who employ Personal Assistants (using LA Direct Payments or funding from the Independent Living Fund in Scotland ILFS   )  are having difficulty recruiting, advertising and interviewing potential PA’s during this sustained period of Covid. This is confirmed by local local Centres for Inclusive living. They are also facing difficulties retaining existing PA’s. To compound things some existing PA’s in employment may be self- isolating, shielding or absent on sick leave.
Remaining PA’s may be working long hours to compensate. It is common that many disabled adults still remain in the family home where their primary carer may often be a single parent- and some PA support may be absent. Many parents in this kind of situation are already providing a significant level of unpaid care and it may also be necessary for them to provide additional (unpaid)  support in the absence of PA’s.  Most   of these disabled persons have been unable to access day service or respite provision over the past year of Covid.  Apart from additional carer stress there are financial implications with an adult remaining at home.
In such circumstances does anyone have any knowledge of a parent ( who themselves claim ESA)  undertaking Permitted Work as a potential PA to support their disabled son or daughter living at home with them - working less than 16 hours and earning less than £140 (Net). I understand a PW1 form would require to be completed. 
PWI requires details of the employer. A PA employment contract is usually between the disabled person or their representative. In many cases this same parent (potential PA)  would manage the Direct Payment or ILF funds - so they would be effectively employing themselves ?  - which I presume may be problematic from a DWP perspective.
Any advice would be welcome

Peter Donohue
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Salford Welfare Rights

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Joined: 11 November 2020

no experience of this scenario although the first hurdle would be the default that a close relative residing in the same household is NOT able to be employed under a direct payment (at least in England) unless (and this is where there is a potential in the cases to which you allude) such care provision by the close relative is the only “satisfactory” means of delivering such care.

Not sure this could be shown if - for example - the cared-for person is able to have agency care for example.

The close relative exemption usually only applies where the inability to have anything but a close relative provide care is down to a needs-based reason (eg mental health, cognition issues /similar etc) .

However, where there is NO other care available at all (for reasons such as those cited ...though these might only be temporary ) ...that might be different as the close relative option may be the ONLY means of providing necessary care never mind the only satisfactory means…..