In this issue:
The client is an EU Citizen with a child and non-dependent (full-time student) who comes home every weekend. She was referred to us for benefits check and after checking her Universal Credit (UC) screen shots breakdown, we found that the housing costs element was missing. She had significant rent arrears approximately £2909.05 as at 21/02/2022 and an initial court hearing was set for 31/03/2022. When we made further enquiries, we found she had a joint tenancy with her ex-partner who had left England in 2013. Our client claimed that she had requested to have the ex-partner’s name removed from the tenancy agreement. We had also been informed by UC that after she updated the rent rate in 2021 strangely the system stopped her housing costs.
How did we help?
In March 2022, after we found that there were no housing costs in the client’s UC award, we immediately instructed the client to note in her journal giving Raise explicit consent as her representative, to act on her behalf. We contacted UC and notified them of the error by phone and a UC Case Manager was assigned to look at this matter in detail. As the court hearing date was imminent, Raise’s Debt Team responded immediately, by requesting the hearing be put on hold while the case was being dealt with by the Welfare Team at Raise. The court hearing was adjourned for another 28 days but there was still no resolution from UC until 6th of April 2022. We decided to send a letter to JCP Partnership Manager in Accrington to expedite the issue. On 10th of May, UC wrote to us stating that they issued a backdate and reinstated housing costs directly to the Landlord. However, nothing in the letter mentioned when it would be awarded, for which period the backdate would be issued and how much is money would be backdated. The court hearing was adjourned for the third time due to this lack of information. We contacted the JCP Partnership Manager again on 17th May 2022. On the same day, we received a call from the DWP to confirm that they had approved the backdated payment to the Landlord scheduled on 24/05/2022 and reinstated the Housing Costs.
What were the results? The total amount backdated and received by the landlord was £5484.62 covering periods of 06/07/2020 to 05/04/2022 and the housing costs had also been reinstated.
The client said that this has been an emotional journey for her. Rent arrears have now been cleared and she received excess money to pay her other debts.
|Client situation The client presented with an overpayment of pension credit which was being repaid through deductions from other benefits. The client received notification that the deductions were increasing to an unaffordable amount and was anxious about what this meant for his budget. How did we help? We provided full advice and placed the client in a breathing space to prevent deductions being taken at the higher amount whilst we made an offer of repayment at an affordable amount. What were the results?
The reduced payment was accepted and the client was satisfied with the outcome of the case.
|(Mike Summers – Welfare Benefits Adviser)
Client lives with husband and young daughter. They were getting Universal Credit and there was an overpayment due to the assessment of student finances. We wrote to the DWP Debt Centre and asked them to consider a discretionary write-off on grounds of health problems. Client provided supporting medical evidence. The Debt Centre agreed to write off the overpayment [around £4000].
(Ernie Jamarudi – Welfare Benefits Claims worker)
Part-time retailer worker with severe Osteoarthritis, Anxiety and Emphysema had a new decision made in 2 weeks based on the detailed Mandatory Reconsideration that we did. The client is very happy with the new decision as she is getting Standard Rate Daily Living plus a backdated payment of £1900 by 1st July 2022.
(Theresa Larkins – Welfare Benefits Adviser)
I have assisted a client whose Housing Benefit was closed in May last year to make a claim for UC. The Landlord was then able to apply for an APA, meaning the current liability is being paid in-full direct to the landlord, narrowly avoiding the need for court action. I also appealed the decision to close the HB claim for the retrospective period and have managed to reclaim a lump sum of £659.14 off the arrears, with the possibility of more to come.
|(Participants on the Enable Projects)
Our volunteers attended an awards event for contribution to the community. Plus, as part of National Volunteers week, all the 13 volunteers who have volunteered via New Horizons and Building Better Opportunities have received certificates in recognition of their hard work in the community over the last year. One of our clients has been signed up to New Horizons project & volunteered with RAISE since Nov last year just got a part time job with us as Admin Assistant. She said ‘It has made a big difference, it has given me new skills, the opportunity to develop further skills and help me secure employment. Enable gives support that is not accessible other places like the Job Centre.’
|The selection of legacy benefit claimants for mandatory, managed migration onto Universal Credit re-started on 9th May 2022. Reading the recent media coverage about the re-start you might have thought that this was now up and running across the whole of the UK and that existing legacy benefit claimants will need to make the move over to UC in the next few months. Managed migration has started on a very small scale, although it will increase over time. Important! Some legacy benefit claimants might misunderstand the messages and think they are expected to move over to UC now. But they do not have to unless they receive a ‘migration notice’ (or have certain changes in their circumstances).
|Government confirms that cost of living payments will not affect entitlement to means-tested benefits or tax credits.
|DWP Minister adds that new payments will also not count towards the benefit cap, and that households will therefore ‘retain the full value of the payments they receive’Mr Rutley stated that – ‘The cost of living payments will not affect a person’s entitlement to social security benefits, (including universal credit) or tax credits – either as ‘capital’ or as ‘income’. They will also not count towards the benefit cap. This approach will allow households to retain the full value of the payments they receive.’Read more here
Many capped families are unable to escape the cap by taking a job or extending their working hours, because they have very young children. Most people subject to the cap have been assessed by the DWP as not required to look for work. For single parents it is particularly difficult to reach the earnings threshold at which claimants are exempt from the cap since they are sole breadwinners and often have to cover childcare costs with a single income.Read more here
Our Enable Team can offer advice and support to anyone in the Liverpool City Region who is looking for work, or thinking of looking in the future. There are a whole range of skills-related support available, that will also help to build confidence and maybe develop new plans.
We can support with job search, applying for jobs, and finding suitable training to enhance their career and CV.
If you have any clients/family/friends who are interested, please contact Jamie or Aidas at Enable@raiseadvice.org.uk
We are also running a series of fabulous FREE courses at the Ponnie Community Centre, 56 Christian Street L3 3EN. Please call us on 0151 459 1556 for more information.
If you prefer to have a face to face chat why not come along and meet one of the team at our weekly drop in sessions.
The Eldonian Centre, Burlington St, Liverpool L3 6LG, Tuesday 1pm to 4.30pm
L6 Community Centre 99 Queens Rd, Liverpool L6 2NF Wednesday 9.30pm to 12.30pm
FREE one to one budgeting and employability support if you sign up to one of our Enable projects to improve your skills. For more information on our projects and courses please visit our website page- Training Courses – Raise Advice
|Find all Raise Benefit Bulletins on our website https://www.raiseadvice.org.uk/ CPAG produce useful updates for professional in Welfare Rights Bulletin. You can also sign up to receive the paper version at a cost. The DWP produce useful items for professionals in Touchbase: DWP news about work, working-age benefits, pensions and services. Newcastle Welfare Rights provide benefit bulletins for professionals. Housing systems also provide an newsletters for Housing Association professionals.
Citizens Advice produce useful updates via Advisor.
|We are a charity covering Liverpool and the surrounding areas. We receive funding from Registered Social Landlords to provide welfare rights, debt and financial capability advice to their tenants. To make a referral please visit our Referral Portal