CPAG looking for test cases.

CPAG is looking for test cases. To be fair, CPAG is always looking for test cases. However…

Do you have a client who would be willing to be part of CPAG’s strategic litigation?

CPAG is looking for clients in the following circumstances:

1.    The date of claim for universal credit claimants who use the Help to Claim service operated by Citizens Advice.
CPAG is looking for a universal credit claimant who has used the Citizens Advice Help to Claim service co-located in a Job Centre and their date of claim is later than the date they requested the Help to Claim service.

2.    Benefit cap
CPAG is looking for a lone parent with a child under 5 who has been subject to the benefit cap in the past few months, hasn’t had the benefit of DHPs throughout and possibly has even had to move home because of the cap.

To refer a client living in England or Wales please complete CPAG’s referral form.

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The next UK White Paper on social security (welfare benefits) comes to Greater Manchester.

It was drawn to the attention of GMWRAG a few weeks back that the Commission on Social Security (welfare benefits), led by Experts by Experience was busy touring the UK but didn’t have an event in Greater Manchester. We are very pleased to draw to your attention that there will now be a GM event supported by the UK Social Policy Association.

This will take place on Tuesday the 23rd of July 2019 between 1pm-3pm and will be hosted by Greater Manchester Poverty Action and the University of Salford (venue: University of Salford, Media City). Regrettably, GMWRAG has been unable to locate an exact address for the venue but we think it’s this and there’s some more helpful stuff here too. GMWRAG accepts no responsibility for members found wandering round Salford Quays before or after said event.

So, what is it then?

What proposals should be made in the next UK White Paper on social security (welfare benefits)?

Background

The social security/welfare benefits system is failing, with foodbanks and homelessness just two of the most visible signs of this.

But there is little agreement, even within civil society, on ways forward.

The workshops

The workshops will stimulate thinking about the future of social security/welfare benefits, and provide the opportunity for discussion and collaboration among attendees.

In particular, the workshops will input to a project called the Commission on Social Security (welfare benefits), led by Experts by Experience which is issuing a Call for Solutions.

The Commission is highly innovative in that all the Commissioners are people with experience of claiming benefits. The Commission’s aim is to produce a White Paper style document setting out a better system and building consensus. The Call for Solutions will include questions such as the following.

  • What steps can be taken to make Universal Credit better or if you think it should be scrapped, what would replace it?
  • How can people who are sick or disabled be better supported and how should the system work out who should get sickness or disability benefits?
  • Should there be a minimum income level below which no one can fall and if so, how could this be done?
  • How should benefit rates be worked out and how much should each benefit be?

Workshop participants will also be welcome to identify solutions on the whole range of issues relevant to social security/welfare benefits. For example, sanctions, Child Benefit, Local Welfare Assistance Schemes, National Insurance contributory benefits, support for housing costs and council tax, individual/household assessments and payments, how increased spending on benefits can be financed, the balance between means-testing or being contributions-based and reflecting people’s particular needs or being universal? Etc.

Workshop format

The workshops will have a participatory format including small group work and consensus building activities.

They will be structured around the Call for Solutions being made by the Commission on Social Security led by Experts by Experience but will also identify other possible activity.

Who should attend?

Anyone interested in a better social security/welfare benefits system! Whether you are an individual Expert by Experience, part of a user-led or community group, from a third sector organisation, academia or anywhere else, you will be made very welcome.

Workshop organisers

Michael Orton and Kate Summers

Any queries please email Michael.Orton@warwick.ac.uk

Additional information

The Workshops are free but places are limited and registration is essential.

A small travel budget is available for people who would otherwise be unable to attend. Please contact the organisers for further information.

In 2016-17 the Social Policy Association supported a previous series of workshops on social security/welfare benefits which identified an agenda for future work. That agenda is summarised here and informs this latest initiative.

We’ll see you there (or wandering aimlessly thereabouts). You can reserve a place via Eventbrite.

Quiz Knight

Following the NWMHWRAG post with the various documents from their last meeting we have become aware that some people have asked for the answers to the UC True or False quiz. GMWRAG was not sure whether to go along with this tacit admission of failure on the part of welfare rights advisers but in the end we thought it would be at the very least fun to post answers to an quiz when we can’t even remember what the questions were!

So, the answers are as follows:

Doris                      False

Claudette               False

Joe                         True (as long as the landlord agrees for him to stay.)

Davinder                False

Julie                        False

Ahmed                   False

Heather                 True

Viola                      False

If you’re as intrigued/lost/bewildered/bemused as we were then the questions can be found on the Presentations page of our NWMHWRAG section. For our own amusement we weren’t planning on putting the answers there too.

GMWRAG can’t help but think that if you’re going to give out a true or false answer it might be an idea to know why but maybe that’s just us being picky.

GMWRAG is also of the view that all of the above is a secret code and that it’s all really taken from the lyrics of Valerie by the Zutons.

“Did you have to go to jail?” is definitely the question on Julie and her ABH as is “did you get a good lawyer?”

“Put your house on up for sale” well that could be at least 3 of them!

“And the way you like to dress Doris”

“Won’t you come on over Viola Valerie?

We rest our case (and possibly our weary hallucinating head)!

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.

Quick reminder re: the next meeting of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group.

The next meeting of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group will be on Friday the 31st May at 9.30am for a 10am start.

Our speaker will be Jane Crawford, Training and Development Manager at Housing Systems. She will be talking about Housing Costs under Universal Credit.

This meeting will be in the Community Room at Central Manchester Fire Station.

Address: Cassidy Close off Thompson Street, Manchester, M4 5FP.

It’s a short walk from Piccadilly and there is a car park on Thompson Street.

The Community Room has its own entrance.  Please don’t enter the Fire station by any other entrance.

From Cassidy Close you take the first turning on the left. Walk towards the building and then left again.  You should now be at the back of the building.

Walk towards a set of double doors under an overhang.  The entrance to the Community Room is on the right just before you reach the double doors.

Please contact Helen Rogers if you can’t find the room on the day.

If you’ve been before then you’ll know the routine. If not then Contact GMWRAG or another NWMHWRAG member and we’ll sort you out

(Please note she won’t get any messages until 31st May.)