Europia presentation on the EU Settlement Scheme is now available for download.

Apparently some of you didn’t make the recent GMWRAG meeting in Salford. We can’t imagine how this sorry state of affairs came to be but we do need you to know that we’re not very forgiving. This won’t be forgotten.

In the meantime, the minutes of said meeting rather gnomically stated “Copy of presentation for GMWRAG site? Norman has provided the presentation but is in the process of getting clearance for us to publish.”.

We are pleased to confirm that, yes, we have been allowed to publish the presentation – CLEARANCE HAS BEEN GRANTED – and you can now download it from our most excellent Presentations and notes page. Alternatively, you could just click on the link below.

EU Settlement Scheme presentation from Bolton and Bury Citizens Advice/Europia

We’ve even managed (we think) to be clever enough to ensure it opens as an actual slideshow rather than just another PowerPoint presentation that you then have to start off as a slideshow. If it doesn’t work then, erm, it doesn’t work. We’re confident (ish) that it will.

GMWRAG swallows humble pie. Minutes of the GMWRAG GM UC Forum are now available.

Aye, that will no doubt teach us (nothing). No sooner had we pressed the “Magick into the binary ether” button on our last post telling you that you definitely can’t have the notes/minutes (whatevs we think they should be called this week) of the GMWRAG GM UC Forum yet than… you can!

Some peoples children have obviously become so annoying that reading our draft notes suddenly became a very attractive feeling. Well, indeed.

Anyway, you can now peruse said notes within our GMWRAG GM UC Forum pages (no, even we can’t be bothered typing that out in full!).

Please note that these notes are, as ever, password protected and if you don’t know the password then… you’re probably not meant to be reading them.

Those magic words you’ve not heard in so long. The minutes of the last GMWRAG meeting are now available for download. Something to do with Trainspotting. Blah Blah.

Blame Universal Credit. Blame Neil Couling. Blame Jo Chimes. Blame the Equality Act 2010. Blame Brexit. Yeah definitely blame Brexit.  Blame PLP. Blame the University of York. Blame Your Parents. No, er, hang on…

Anyway, it’s been over a year since we had such a plain old, vanilla, boring afternoon GMWRAG meeting with just the one speaker and with it the requirement to take actual notes like. All of the above are most definitely to blame for that but only in a good way. GMWRAG has had a great 12 months of unusual and interesting events with huge turnouts and even proper refreshments.

Finally then, here we are. Just a very straightforward GMWRAG meeting with some hopefully very straightforward notes. Yes, we are aware there are 5 sides of them. We’ll have none of that TL:DR nonsense thank you very much.  Kindly remember that this is because this is what accessible large print looks like; Norman waffled on quite a lot and the attendance list was quite big too.

Anyway, our delightful Our Meetings section has been updated with something that looks very much like actual minutes and if you lack even the basic energy to get that far then yes, you can download them from here. 

Please note that we are well aware that the above meeting was indeed preceded by a GMWRAG GM UC Forum meeting and that therefore you might be expecting notes from that too. Fear not. They have been circulated for approval and will be circulated for real as soon as we have that. However, this week does involve some ancient concept called “half-term” so a number of those charged with moaning about the inaccuracies have possibly been put nominally in charge of small people for the week. As soon as they’re back doing proper jobs you can have your UC Forum notes too.

Belta UC scam advice from Newcastle.

This information is courtesy of our friend in the NAWRA.

Newcastle City Council has provided advice and information about the UC scam(s) going around. Please use or forward this information if useful.

As you know there’s been quite a bit of press about this. So we thought it would be important to provide simple and straightforward guidance about what it was, how to avoid it and what to do if such a scam was suspected. Hence the following (with links):

This follows discussions with DWP and Trading Standards.

Please let Clive Davis at Newcastle City Council know if you think the webpage information could be improved as they can always change it.

More on no deal from Alexandra Sinclair.

Those of you who made it to our excellent Brexit and Benefits session recently will be fully aware of Alexandra Sinclair from the Public Law Project. A GMWRAG summary of the talk can now be downloaded from here. We’re awaiting word on whether we can use the PowerPoint presentation from that day.

In the meantime, Alexandra has been in touch to send you some further material that might assist our members.

She has written a research briefing paper on EU citizens’ rights in the event of a no deal Brexit after having reviewed all the SIs in areas related to citizens’ rights.

It covers immigration, housing, social security, healthcare and education. It’s published on PLP’s website here and they plan to update it regularly until such time as the Immigration Bill becomes law. Any comments/feedback are very welcome. Please circulate to your wider networks.

There is also a blog post on Free Movement about this https://www.freemovement.org.uk/what-legal-rights-will-eu-citizens-have-after-a-no-deal-brexit/

Minutes of the GMWRAG GM UC Forum finally available.

GMWRAG has taken our time getting minutes out from the first two very successful meetings of the GMWRAG GM UC Forum. This has largely been because of a need to ensure various parties are happy the minutes accurately reflect their participation and this, to be blunt, has been like herding cats. However, herding cats is not actually impossible (follow that link folks) and so here we finally are.

The minutes for both the January 2019 meeting in Oldham and the May 2019 meeting are now available for download from the GMUCF section of our site and they are of course password protected.

Regular GMWRAG users will be able to take a punt at our password but if not you can always DM us on Twitter or email to the usual address. If you don’t know the usual address then you’re possibly not a GMWRAG member or not paying attention.

The next GMWRAG meeting and GMWRAG GM UC Forum meeting was scheduled for Salford in July. That clearly isn’t going to happen so we’re now aiming for late August or early September. More news on this as we have it.

MIND research on the WCA.

MIND are conducting some research into the WCA with a view to contributing to the Social Security Commission.

They are looking for volunteers who have had a WCA and who would be interested in taking part in an interview for research for MIND.

Who are they looking for?

• People who are going or have recently been through the WCA.

• Different types of mental health conditions.

• Would be open to an interview with our research team.

• They would be paid from £60 to £80 (depending on the research part they get involved with) to say thank you for their time.

If you know anyone who might be interested or have any questions, please contact them on 020 7735 8040, or email:

rosa.grossman

@revealingreality

.co.uk or

maeve.garner

@revealingreality

.co.uk

And, yes, we did break those email addresses down deliberately.

Please see the attached.

The minutes of the last NWMHWRAG meeting plus associated documents are now available for download.

Long post. Loadsa good stuff.

The minutes of the last meeting of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group are now available for download from here and in due course (give us a minute) from their pages within the GMWRAG site.

GMWRAG was quite upset to discover that since the NWMHWRAG pages migrated to this site in 2011 not one person has noticed that the section was erroneously titled the North West Mental Health Advisers Welfare Rights Group and not the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group. WHO was not paying attention? All of you apparently!

The People’s Front of Judea are most upset. Eats, Shoots and Leaves indeed! Other documents from the meeting can be downloaded from below but also from the now correctly titled section. Anything else you’re not telling us?

GMWRAG sometimes gets asked how one joins such an exclusive club or “old boys clique” as we recently were amused to hear it described. We’re thinking of adopting the passing of a UC quiz as the entry requirement.

Suffice to say we’ll be asking the (mostly female) Principal Officers of Welfare Rights services across GM to withdraw from GMWRAG anyone heard spouting such inanities especially given that attendance at GMWRAG meeting is fairly evenly divided between the sexes but if anything skewed well away from “old boys”.

In the meantime, we have been handed some late-breaking corrections to some of the above and we detail these below, which goes to prove that there is occasionally some value in being tardy!

“On the minutes – slight correction needed to this bit

Note differences to shared accommodation rules for over 35s, under
occupancy (non dependant couples get two rooms, overnight carers not dependant on SDP)

It should say something like this –

Note differences to shared accommodation rules –

  • single over 35s – get one bedroom rate even if chosen to live in shared accommodation
  • single under 35s – exemption from shared accommodation rate not dependent on SDP (just on the disability benefit – ie PIP DL / DLA mid/high care etc)

under occupancy –

  • non dependant couples get two rooms,
  • overnight carers – stricter than HB – person needing care must be getting disability benefit –  PIP DL / DLA mid/high care etc)

Second thing –

When we were discussing the protection on death rules & no bedroom tax for 3 months,  it was asked if – when a non dependant dies – whether the non-dep deduction would still apply.

The speaker said they thought not – but since had a look to see if there are any Regs/guidance to confirm that!

Reg 37

Reg 37 image

 

 

 

 

This is what the guidance says – Guidance image 2

 

 

 

Guidance image 1

 

 

 

It does not make sense to say that a non-dep who has died should still be making their contribution to the tenant (that is the theory of non-dep deductions isn’t it? ie that the non-dep should pay something towards the cost of the roof over their head – unless exempt). There will be no non-dep income.

Also if the exemption was due to non-dep’s PIP daily living etc – that would have stopped.

So we think this is a mistake/omission.”