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.”

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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.)

Initial details of 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 of May 2019.

The speaker will be Jane Crawford, Training and Development Manager for Housing Systems.

She will be talking about housing costs in Universal Credit including managed payments to landlords.

It’s just one thing after another – NAWRA in Salford – yet another big GM event.

The next NAWRA meeting is that rarity of a thing – a NAWRA meeting in Greater Manchester i.e. Salford. The agenda of the meeting is now available for download from the NAWRA web site as well as from here and Salford Welfare Rights and Debt Advice Service looks forward to seeing you on the day; the night before and the evening after too. Full details of the event; social events and travel options are contained within the agenda document.

“The day” incidentally is Friday the 1st of March 2019. Full details are, guess, in the agenda.

Please note that this event, as per all other NAWRA meetings, is members only.

NAWRA is a membership based organisation for advisers and organisations across the UK. Membership of NAWRA is available to any group or individual working in the welfare rights field and/or who supports theiraims and objectives.

Find out more about joining NAWRA.

Speakers include

City Mayor of Salford Paul Dennett

Paul was elected Councillor for Langworthy in 2012 and held the Strategic Assistant Mayor position until 2016 focusing on equalities, cohesion, technology, change, urban transformation, innovation, prosperity, growth and workforce.

Paul has a long history of campaigning on social issues and since becoming the elected City Mayor has campaigned for equality, financial inclusion, the living wage, social value, to tackle poverty and critically providing the public/private environment to tackle the housing crisis.

In July 2016 Paul was appointed Greater Manchester Combined Authority Portfolio Lead for Low Carbon, Waste and Environment. In May 2017 Paul was appointed Greater Manchester Combined Authority Portfolio Lead for Housing, Homelessness and Infrastructure.

Professor Lisa Scullion – Professor of Social Policy, School of Health and Society, University of Salford

Social (in)security? Learning lessons from lived experiences of the benefits system across the UK.

Catherine Connors – Principal Officer, Salford Welfare Right and Debt Advice Service, and CPAG trainer

Welfare reform – the vital role of advice services in safeguarding vulnerable adults and children.

Workshops can be chosen from

Right to reside and universal creditGlenys Harriman (Housing Systems)

Workshop Level: – Intermediate

Universal credit and mental healthTom Messere (Big Book of Benefits & Mental Health)

Workshop level: Intermediate

Human rights and universal creditRyan Bradshaw (Leigh Day Solicitors)

Workshop level: Strategic

Dealing with deficit budgets: practical tips for welfare rights advisers – Anne Whittle and Sean Finnegan – (Salford Debt Advice Service)

New video from Housing Systems.

GMWRAG would like to draw your attention to yet another excellent video from our friends at Housing Systems. This time it’s all about looking at Universal Credit Monthly Assessment Periods in detail. At best this might be described as a somewhat dry subject. Whilst this video contains no exciting new concepts like “UC as a smoothie” we can say we were utterly mesmerised by the big yellow jumper/sweater which keeps appearing and the use of a pen which makes words and entire sentences appear some time after the pen has finished writing. We want one of those. Anyways, in the meantime you can watch the video at

Top quality videos about Universal Credit from Housing Systems.

GMWRAG has written extensively in the past about the increasingly bewildering beast which is Universal Credit and the many, equally bewildering, attempts to explain it to us as advisers and indeed claimants. We continue to be largely bemused by DWP attempts on this front.

Soooo, it gives us a certain amount of pleasure to bring to your attention some jolly good videos from our friends at Housing Systems.

We are particularly enamoured by their rather splendid attempt to wholly muddy the waters of the “lobster pot” by introducing the concept of “Universal Credit as a smoothie?” Monty Python graphics combined with a simple explanation. Indeed it’s so effective we think they should remove the question mark. Like GMWRAG they have a YouTube account and you can find it at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqdtFTlvg8GEzViBw7_fBkg/videos. GMWRAG has already subscribed and is looking forward to more along the same lines if only to see how they’re going to reconcile fruit salads, smoothies and lobsters 🙂

We’ve posted links to two of the three videos below. Enjoy and subscribe.

Updated EEA nationals post

Our recent post regarding the materials from the EEA nationals session has been updated to include a very detailed flow-chart from Bristol. This needs to be read in conjunction with an accompanying Rightsnet thread, which is where some of you may have seen the flow-chart originally.

As well as updating the post you will always be able to find these documents at their permanent home within the site.