Sadly, many people have lost their jobs during the Coronavirus outbreak. With changes to the Job Retention Scheme that mean employers will have to contribute more towards their employees’ wages, we may well see even more.
We have already heard that many of those finishing work have lost out financially due to being given the wrong benefit advice.
This interactive case study based Workshop will answer all the key questions:
Is Universal Credit someone’s only option? Is it their best option?
How do the different payments at the end of a job affect benefit entitlement?
What if someone can get New Style Jobseekers Allowance?
The Workshop will use real life examples to investigate the key benefits someone finishing work can claim, what claimants need to do and the problems they may encounter.
By the end of the Workshop delegates will have a better understanding of the different benefits available to someone finishing work, what options they may have and what they should consider when choosing which option is best for them.
Pandemics do strange things to people. Never did GMWRAG think we’d mention Stoke and yoga in any post let alone together but there you go. The NAWRA conference in Stoke on Trent will no longer take place at Staffordshire University due to the COVID-19 situation. However, they are pleased to announce a special online event. On Thursday the 11th of June 2020 and Friday the 12th of June 2020 NAWRA will present ‘Stoke-on-Line’ – a virtual version of their planned conference with guest speakers, workshops, information exchange, pub quiz and yoga. GMWRAG does agree online is probably the best place to put Stoke but, if you’re still interested… read the agenda for both days and book a place on each session. The events will take place on Zoom. Email Kelly at NAWRA if you need help to use Zoom and she can send some instructions. This event is open to NAWRA members only. Kelly Smith Secretary and Treasurer www.nawra.org.uk
Our friends at PLP are putting on the above “webinar” (GMWRAG thinks one should always pronounce such weird terms with a west country accent or maybe a Dudley accent – ahem!) next week titled “Public law and welfare benefits during the COVID crisis”. It will take place on Thursday the 11th of June 2020 between 11:00am and 13:00pm. We can only really quote from their own site. The crisis has seen a vast increase in those claiming Universal Credit, vulnerable people subject to sudden changes in circumstances and rapid action by the Government to change benefits rules. This session will help equip benefits advisers to use public law remedies during the crisis. It will include:
Sanctions during the lockdown
Universal Credit and issues such as challenging delays
Public law remedies and access to the courts during the crisis
Government support during the crisis including the benefit cap and two child limit
NRPF update and
Pre settled status benefits entitlements
There will also be a chance for participants to share issues and ask questions of presenters and other participants. Speakers: Matt Ahluwalia, Public Law Project Carla Clarke, Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) Adam Hundt, Deighton Pierce Glynn Tom Royston, Garden Court Chambers There are a limited number of free places for volunteer / unpaid advisers / those with no budget at this time. But please pay if you can. Entrance costs a mere £12. GMWRAG can attest to having paid 10x that for events of much less interest (although to be fair they were usually gigs!). Booking can be done via the web form at the bottom of https://publiclawproject.org.uk/events/public-law-and-welfare-benefits-during-the-covid-crisis/
Our friends at Europia have relaunched their web site and provided the following updates this week.
Coronovirus Info in different languages
Europia have relaunched their website. There is some useful written and video information on coronavirus in different European languages. Check it out at https://europia.org.uk/covid-19/
They have developed a simplified referral process for anyone needing to refer someone to CABB/Europia Immigration and EUSS services. Please use the attached form and send and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Clients can still phone direct on 0300 330 9071.
Europia have just come to the end of their 1st year of funding for the EUSS project and would like to collect your views on the service they have provided up to know. They would be really grateful if you could respond to the short survey below – it shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes. If you could also encourage your team members to fill it in that would be fantastic – Thanks in advance https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/XXPSLNR
Home Office Guidance on NRPF
They have attached a copy of recent Home Office case worker guidance on NRTF which is useful. If you have anyone in this position who needs to apply to lift the NRPF restrictions to avoid destitution please get in touch via the referrals form.
Home Affairs Select Committee
Finally there was a Home Affairs select committee on Tuesday in which Colin Yeo of Free Movement, Adrian Berry of the ILPA and others did a great job in advocating for a Statutory Instrument to clarify various measures relating to immigration in the context of the effects of the COVID-19 Crisis on people subject to immigration control. Let’s hope their interventions achieve the desired affect. Watch this space for any emerging info.
Anyway, our (possibly ex) friends at Housing Systems have asked us to share the following with GMWRAG members lest it be lost in the mass of information you’re no doubt drowning under.
Free e-learning on Coronavirus and Benefits
Housing Systems have put together an e-learning module on Coronavirus and Benefits.
This is freely available to everyone.The team at Housing Systems hope you find it useful and encourage you to share it with colleagues in other roles, such as housing workers or social workers, who might find it helpful too.
• The GMLC Survival Kit includes comprehensive information to help people protect things such as their homes and jobs, explaining people’s rights and clear ways to enforce them. They will be regularly updating this guide through their website.
In amongst the veritable storm of information GMWRAG members have no doubt found themselves on the end of in the past week or more it has been noted that very little has explicitly mentioned the potential impact Covid-19 has on Bedroom Tax. Self-isolation certainly raises the issue of exemption albeit how long for is a question yet to be answered. Presumably a minimum of 14 days would be inarguable if the consequence of self-isolation was separate bedrooms and longer if the virus were to then spread to household members in turn.
It does raise the thorny issue of whether separate bedrooms might be irrelevant if the virus were to spread within a household but there’s surely something to be looked at here?
We note the issue has been raised on Rightsnet with minimal comment. However, we’d be interested in raising what’s in danger of becoming a forgotten issue in the current maelstrom and we’d be especially interested in whether GMWRAG members are busy testing this out.
Usual deal. Contact GMWRAG by emailing us at
And yes, doing it with that formatting really does help reduce our spam emails. We look forward to hearing from you.
GMWRAG was doubtless amongst many who received a recent update from Leigh Day. This is a timely reminder of how strategic casework might never be more relevant. However, as the email began with “Alright…” some editing was in order 🙂
They think we are going to have a lot of work on unpicking the government response to Coronavirus, in particular in relation to the administration of benefits. A lot of people are going to become reliant on benefits for the first time and potentially for an extended period of time.
They are looking at the failure to raise legacy benefits in line with what has been done with UC. If GMWRAG members know of any rare person who is entitled SDP and self employed and also on legacy benefits they would be perfect for this but anyone impacted could potentially claim.
They would also be interested to know if any JCP’s are sanctioning people for failing to comply with conditionality at this time.
Welfare benefits advisers are going to be the first people to see the impact of any issues the changes made are having on the benefits system. If you spot anything you think is particularly grim and/or widespread and worth a challenge and want to talk it through please do let them know.