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.

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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.”

Latest GM Poverty Action Newsletter now available.

The latest newsletter from Greater Manchester Poverty Action is now available for download from here.

In the newsletter there is an article from IPPR North’s Marcus Johns on the need for local government to act to reduce in-work poverty.  They share the latest on the Greater Manchester Food Poverty Action Plan – including pledges from the GM Housing Providers and a collection by Cracking Good Food. There’s brief information on a successful Salford food project and several events are listed. The newsletter is also available on the GMPA website.

If you would like to submit an article or event information for inclusion in the newsletter, GMPA would love to hear from you so please do get in touch.

The newsletter is circulated to key organisations across all sectors, to influential leaders and members of the public. Some subscribers then forward it to other networks hugely expanding its reach.  That’d be us then 🙂

A gift from Housing Systems for GMWRAG members.

GMWRAG loves Housing Systems. It’s as simple as that. If you’re not using their web site on a regular basis then you’re missing a trick. Accurate, timely and in plain English. What more could you ask for?

“More on Brexit and Benefits?”

“Quiet at the back!!!”

Anyway, Housing Systems seem to quite like us too and they’ve kindly allowed us to publicise a number of highly pertinent documents on two fairly unrelated topics.

We believe the technical terms for this is “fill yer boots!”

Pension Credit v Universal Credit

Habitual Residence Test

It is Friday so if any of these links don’t work properly we do apologise. It’s been a long week. We’re as confident as a tired thing that we’ve done okay but if not please Contact GMWRAG in the usual manner (minus the abusey bit) and we’ll get back to you once the Bank Holiday is done and dusted.

Bedtime reading, Brexit and low-income housholds.

GMWRAG is busying up for our Brexit and Benefits half day epic later this month (not to forget the GM UC Forum) and in the spirit of making sure everyone is up to speed here’s some bedtime reading from Policy In Practice on the impact of Brexit on low-income households. GMWRAG remains (sorry, don’t draw ANY conclusions from that word) surprised at the lack of such modelling at such a key moment so this is if nothing else a good starting point for discussion.

You can find similar from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research but it’s 3 years old now. We were about to say that a lot can happen in 3 years but that’s probably not appropriate in relation to the B word.

More recently you can read https://ukandeu.ac.uk/poverty-after-brexit-no-dividend-for-those-on-low-incomes/ but how much bedtime reading do you actually want?

Far better to come hear our two brilliant speakers on the 17th of May 2019.

If you can’t make it please bear in mind that GMWRAG has just received the best apology ever. Can it be topped? It may get topped off.

“I am helping build a Celtic roundhouse that day” is pretty impressive. GMWRAG will simply accept no apologies which fall below this standard. We can think of no better way to make attendance compulsory 🙂

GMWRAG has thusfar resisted the temptation to get into a discussion as to how the whole concept of Celts is genetically dodgy etc. We’re willing to add it to “AOB” though!