Leigh Day call for evidence re disabled students and universal credit.

This just in from Leigh Day.

Tessa Gregory and Lucy Cadd from the law firm Leigh Day. are bringing a judicial review challenge to the DWP’s policy which prevents disabled students from making a claim to UC. They are seeking further evidence to support the judicial review (in the form of case studies).

Students are disqualified from making a claim to UC. However, Regulation 14(b) Universal Credit Regulations 2013 provides exceptions to the requirement not to be receiving education. In the case of their client, the relevant exception is that she is in receipt of a qualifying benefit (attendance allowance, disability living allowance or personal independence payment), in her case being PIP. The exception stipulates that she must also have been determined to have limited capability for work (LCW). However, UC will not offer students who do not yet have a LCW determination, a WCA.

Therefore on making her claim for UC, the client was told that a work capability assessment would not be provided for her in order for her to be determined as LCW and her claim for UC was closed.

The Secretary of State’s policy ‘Students: eligibility, conditionality and student income – v 16.0 (2019)’ states that the exception in Reg14(b) only applies to disabled individuals who have already been determined as having LCW and who are seeking to become students. The exemption therefore does not apply to disabled students who attempt to claim UC whilst already undertaking a course of study.

They would be very interested to hear of others who are in a similar position to their client. If there are people you have represented who have been in the same or similar situation they would be extremely grateful if you could provide a short summary of their situation to us (gaining their prior authority to do so). They are seeking supportive case studies for the judicial review.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require any further information. Our contact details are Tessa Gregory – tgregory@leighday.co.uk and Lucy Cadd – lcadd@leighday.co.uk.

An update from our friends at Leigh Day.

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 have one JR already in relation to the requirement for ‘self-employed’ workers to claim UC rather than get SSP or benefit from furlough payments (https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/mar/22/rishi-sunak-under-pressure-to-bail-out-self-employed)

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.

And just like that… more GMWRAG meetings.

GMWRAG is pleased to confirm that our next meetings can already be confirmed as definite. This magnificent piece of organisation comes to you largely courtesy of people talking across other people and mumbling stuff during last weeks first post millennium trip to Bury. This may also explain why we’ve managed to announce the next meeting without actually getting notes written up from the last one as yet. Fear not. We’re “on it” whatever “it” may be.

The next GMWRAG UC Forum and GMWRAG meeting will both be hosted by Manchester and will take place on Friday the 15th of May 2020 at Greater Manchester Law Centre. Instructions on how to get as lost as several of us did in Bury will follow in due course.

The UC Forum will commence at 9:30 for refreshments/networking for a 10am start with a 12:30pm finish. The agenda has already been defined as follows:

1 Apologies.

2 Minutes of the last meeting and matters arising.

3 Deductions from Universal Credit.

4 Messages around mixed age couples.

There is plenty of time available for this agenda to accommodate additional items but we’re planning on asking for someone from Debt Recovery and the UC Service Centre to attend in service of item 3 and someone from the Pension Service in respect of item 4 so that might be more than enough to be going on with.

Nevertheless please Contact GMWRAG through the usual channels if you wish to do so (or we forgot something).

The main GMWRAG meeting will start at 1:30pm for refreshments/networking for a 2pm start and a 4pm finish.

Our speaker will be Ryan Bradshaw, Associate Solicitor from Leigh Day. At present the likely topic will be “Challenging welfare benefits decisions using the European Convention on Human Rights and the sorts of compensation that might be awarded.”

Again though, things move on quickly in the magical world of welfare rights so this is a movable feast and there may be something Ryan could do which might be more pertinent to the timing of the meeting depending on what happens over the next couple of months.

The rest of the agenda is up for grabs so if you have a suggestion for other agenda items or even a second speaker then, again, please Contact GMWRAG through the usual routes.

The notes/minutes of the last meeting will be available as soon as enough of us have pooled resources/spoken to each other to remember what might have happened. That’s two months advance notice that you can print your own and bring them with you by the way!

Leigh Day and their Universal Credit Group Claim.

Leigh Day have now set up a web page plus FAQ & online referral form to make the whole process of signing up to their claim(s) a little more convenient. This can be found at: https://www.leighday.co.uk/Employment-discrimination/Current-cases/Universal-Credit-group-action. They have produced separate referral forms tailored for advisers and for individuals.

For their TP & AR linked claims they now have enough claimants to launch the action. They have identified potential lead claimants and will shortly be sending out client care letters to those who have been referred to them or made their own enquiries.

They are also hoping to generate some media interest in the coming weeks. They could do with much higher numbers to make this litigation really effective and that is why they have set up the website. There are 13,000 people out there who have lost out as a result of the wrongheaded implementation of natural migration.

A lot of service users might not have access to the internet so you can still refer people to them by just emailing a name and telephone number. Ryan Bradshaw (a long-standing friend of GMWRAG and GMSCG) and Niall Byrne are available by phone for any enquiries that you might have.

Feel free to circulate this amongst your contacts and colleagues.

Presentation on Universal Credit and Human Rights now available for download.

The minutes of the latest NWMHWRAG meeting will be made available in due course but in the meantime to whet your appetite here’s a download to the presentation done by Ryan Bradshaw of Leigh Day at the last meeting.

Minutes of the first/last GMWRAG GM UC meeting will be set free into the wild sometime as soon as we get a minute too. They’re already up on the site but currently protected. DWP have raised no objections to the content so we think we’re good to go.

Next meeting of the NWMHWRAG. Ryan Bradshaw on tour. Oh, sorry. TP & AR!

The next meeting of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group will take place on Friday the 29th March at 9.30am for 10am.

The speaker will be Ryan Bradshaw from Leigh Day solicitors.  He is going to talk about the judgment in R (TP & AR) –v- Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2018] EWHC 1474 on transitional protection on transfer to Universal Credit.  Leigh Day are looking for cases to bring other similar legal challenges.

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.

If you can’t find the room please contact Helen Rogers. Group members should already have contact details.

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)

Presentations from Everyday Equality are now available for download.

Alan Turing banner at LGBT Foundation in ManchesterGMWRAG is very pleased to say that all of our speakers at the recent Everyday Equality Act have now provided us with their presentations from the event for download. We also have a bonus presentation from Ryan Bradshaw of Leigh Day which was not available on the day.

Please note:

  • there are no minutes available for the January 2019 meeting. There were 14 speakers and the presentations below represent all the content available from the event bar images posted by @GMWRAGTweets and other attendees.
  • a number of presentations have been subsequently updated or revised by speakers. The versions on this site represent the most up to date versions.
  • all presentations are detailed below in this post but will be permanently available on our “Presentations and notes from GMWRAG meetings” page.
  • The minutes which would ordinarily be on our “Minutes” page link to the above page.
  • Some of the presentations have similar titles. Please be assured that all presentations are distinct. No content is repeated.

Jo Chimes, whose magnificent work was pretty much solely responsible for making the whole day happen, has also kindly added her own summary of the take away messages from the event and we’ve added that as well..

Leigh Day looking for examples of claimants adversely affected by the UC Minimum Income Floor to support a JR case.

Tessa Gregory’s team at Leigh Day represent an individual who is self-employed and finds themselves in significant financial hardship due to the application of the Minimum Income Floor (MIF) since they first had to claim Universal Credit. They have brought a claim against the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions challenging the lawfulness of the application of the MIF on the basis that it discriminates against self-employed individuals and is irrational.

They have now reached the stage of the judicial review in which they need to collate and prepare supportive evidence. It would be helpful for the court to be provided with other examples which show the broad and varied range of situations in which individuals are caught by the UC provisions, as well as the different ways in which the application of the MIF has affected peoples’ lives.

If any of your clients are self-employed, have been moved on to UC and have had the MIF recently applied, make the NMW across the year, but experience significant fluctuations in income on a monthly basis, they would be grateful if you could provide a short summary of their situation which sets out how they came to be on UC and how the MIF is affecting them. You may also wish to inform them of this ongoing challenge of the MIF which may be of interest to them. They are happy to consider any queries in relation to this challenge that any of your clients may have.

Please do not hesitate to contact them at universalcreditqueries@leighday.co.uk if you require any further information or if your clients have any questions in relation to the ongoing challenge.