Pension Changes

Pension Changes

Pension Changes

The Government is bringing forward the plan to increase the pension age. People who reach pension age between 2037-39 will be able to retire when they are 68.

The government is doing this because the cost of pensions is getting much greater, because people are living longer.

For people closer to retirement by November 2018 the pension age between men and women will be equalised to 65.
From November 2018- November 2020 retirement age will move from 65 to 66, and to 67 from 2026-2028.

If you want to check on how this effects you, people coming up to retirement in the next 20 years can check how the law applies to them on the government website, here



Universal Credit – Reasonable Adjustments

Universal Credit – Reasonable Adjustments

Universal Credit – Reasonable Adjustments

As a disabled person, the Equality Act allows you certain reasonable adjustments to a service to overcome disabling barriers. The Equality Act does not trump other laws such as Benefits legislation, but you can ask for reasonable adjustments to be written into your JSA or Universal Credit Claimant Agreement. The Forest of Dean CAB provide a useful list of the kind of reasonable adjustments you may be able to get depending on how your impairment affects you:

Altering the time of your signing on appointment or more flexible signing on times
Reducing the frequency of signing on
Help with completing forms
Help using a computer
Reducing the number of job applications you have to make
Change the type or location of work
Help with referral to a disability employment adviser
Not being referred to workfare (work for benefits)
programme making individuals undertake work in
Referring you to Access to Work Programme
Increasing sick time before sanctions are imposed
Varying or limiting the type of work in relation to your impairment
Varying or limiting the types of work according to the
Not sanctioning you for breaches that arise solely out of your impairment

Also, if you missed an appointment or commitment as a direct result of your impairment (eg a seizure, or a sickle cell crisis) you can appeal the sanction under s13 of the jobseekers allowance regulations, which states:

a client may ‘…restrict his availability in any way providing the restrictions are reasonable
in the light of his physical or mental condition.’

You need to give a decision maker medical evidence of the health condition and how it prevented you from meeting the commitment to appeal successfully.

PIP Mental Health & impairment Changes

PIP Mental Health & impairment Changes

PIP Mental Health & impairment Changes

Who will this affect?

People who get PIP mobility component for overwhelming psychological distress if alone on journeys  – people who have anxiety attacks, social phobias, extreme stress outside the home

This may include people with some mental health conditions,  learning disabilities or other cognitive impairments, where overwhelmng distress is a factor

New and review PIP claimants who have been getting high rate mobility because they cant follow the route of a familiar journey unless they have someone with them, due to overwhelming psychological distress, will now only be entitled to 10 points instead of 12 and will thus only qualify for standard rate mobility/getting around instead of high rate. People with mental health conditions or mental impairment conditions who were getting points because they could not plan a journey because of overwhelming psychological distress, or couldn’t go on an unfamiliar journey without someone for the same reason will no longer get points.

You will only get enough points to qualify for mobility element of PIP if:

 Cannot undertake any journey because it would cause overwhelming psychological distress to the claimant (10 points)

new state pension

new state pension

The new pension system is being introduced for people who reach pensionable age on or after 6 April 2016 – that is a man born on or after 6 April 1951 or a woman born on or after 6 April 1953.


The pension maximum is £155.65 a week, but most people will not get this amount. How much you get depends on your National Insurance contributions, and you need at least 10 years of contributions to qualify for some pension.

You can check out how much you will be entitled to by filling in a  BR19 form or ringing 0345 3000 168.

You’ll need 35 qualifying years to get the new full State Pension.

If you’re 50 or over, you can contact the Future Pension Centre to get a statement by phone or post.

Telephone: 0345 3000 168 (statements and enquiries)
Textphone: 0345 3000 169
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

or you can fill in an online form:



Universal Credit causing rent arrears

Arms-Length companies managing council housing stock have done a survey of their tenants on Univeral Credit.

2,000 households in the survey were receiving Universal Credit, and out of these, 89%, were in arrears and 34% were subject to an alternative payment arrangement (APA) – because they were at least 8 weeks in arrears

The  main reasons for the arrears were:

Housing providers not being told claimants had been put on Universal Credit (no direct housing benefit payment)

People in debt or financial headship due to waiting  for their first universal credit payment  (95%),

Delayed Universal Credit payments (82%)

The housing element of Universal Credit being miscalculated or left out (82%).

Universal Credit – Wolverhampton

In June we told you about the Government’s plans to roll out Universal Credit and Wolverhampton.

Universal Credit now arrives in Wolverhampton from Monday 8th February 2016.

It will only be available to a small section of people -single unemployed people without children.

We will keep you informed when it is made available to other groups of citizens.

The detailed information for single unemployed people without children who are eligible for Universal Credit is that you must :

1. be single
2. be aged 18 or over but under the age of 60 and six months
3. have savings/capital below £6,000
4. be unemployed or not earning more than £338.00 per month (£270.00 per month if aged under 25) and not self-employed
5. be a British citizen who has lived in the UK for two years without a continuous absence of four weeks or more during this period
6. have a valid National Insurance number
7. have a bank (or similar) account
8. not be pregnant or within 15 weeks of having given birth
9. not have any dependent children (including foster or adopted children)
10. not be a registered foster carer
11. not be responsible for paying Child Support maintenance
12. not be a carer of a disabled person
13. be fit for work (i.e. they do not have a ‘fit note’)
14. not be an owner occupier
15. not be homeless
16. not be living in supported accommodation where care, support or supervision provided
17. not be in any form of education or training (or planning to be in education or
training within one month)
18. not be getting Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and/or Carer’s Allowance
19. not be getting (or awaiting the outcome of a claim for or mandatory reconsideration or an appeal concerning entitlement to) Contributory Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Contributory Employment and Support Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Incapacity Benefit, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and/or Housing Benefit.

20. not have a family member who is away from home in connection with their duties in the Armed Forces
21. not lack mental capacity to act – they must not have an appointee acting on their behalf