Universal Credit Legal Case

Universal Credit Legal Case

Universal Credit is now up and running in Wolverhampton for all new claims for adults (excluding PIP).
New claims for ESA now come under the umbrella of Universal Credit. But severely disabled people without a carer are penalised under this system and losing between £178 and £395 a month, because Severe Disability Premium and Enhanced Disability Premium are abolished under Universal Credit.

The Government says the money will be made up by top-up payments, but these payments don’t come into force until July 2019 – in the meantime disabled people are losing much needed money, that they rely on.

A terminally ill man is bringing a case to Court this month for Judicial Review of this policy, on the grounds that it makes a lie of the government’s stated intention regarding Universal Credit which was supposed to give additional support on the severely disabled.

We will inform you of the outcome on this page.

Ex-army helpline

Ex-army helpline

A helpline for ex-soldiers who are experiencing poor mental health, after they have left the army starts today.

The helpline will be funded by the Ministry of Defence, and can be used 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The helpline number is – 0800 323 4444

Get out and do something!

Get out and do something!

Loneliness and isolation are linked to poor health and wellbeing, especially in the colder months, older or disabled people can get quite isolated and go for days without seeing or speaking to anyone. Family carers also often do not get out and take some social time for themselves. You can help yourself to make sure you are not isolated by getting out of the house and meeting people at free events in Wolverhampton.

The City council puts on events in Wolverhampton parks and open spaces throughout the year.

You can find out what is on, here>

Or if you want to go for a walk, with others, sign up to Walks for Health, and meets some new people. Find out details here>

If you would rather be indoors, how about a visit to one of local galleries? Bilston gallery has a great rocks and fossils exhibit on all year.
Featuring objects from many of the town’s industries, including cut steel jewellery, bicycles and the world-famous Bilston Enamels, you’ll learn about famous Bilston companies including Sankey, Beldray and Sunbeam.

At Wolverhampton Art Gallery you can Bagpuss, the Clangers and other puppets from TV are the big draw. You can look at the original puppets, sets, and filming equipment. See how characters developed, and learn how the tv programmed did their stop-frame animation and have a go yourself. Its free, its fun, and it runs until the end of April.

If you speak a bit of French or Spanish, and want to practice it with others, there are meet-ups at the Lighthouse cafe.



Benefits Sanctions

Benefits Sanctions

In the last 10 years, over a million disabled people have had their benefits stopped with sanctions.

If this is you, and you had good reason to miss an appointment, appeal right away. You must ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration, and explain why you missed the appointment and why you should not be sanctioned.

If you miss an appointment, ring them as soon as possible to let them know why. Delay will mean it is much harder to get your sanction overturned.

While you are waiting for them to consider your mandatory reconsideration, you can apply for a hardship payment. This is a loan to help you pay basic expenses, like rent, food, heating.You have to show that you have tried to get money from other sources, and you have stopped spending money on all but the most essential things, in order to succeed. You will have to pay the Hardship Payment after the sanction period.

You should also make sure you let creditors know of your situation immediately – that means housing benefit, mortgauge lender, council tax, power companies, and any company you usually pay money to. If you dont do this, your debt will mount.

You can get some model letters to help you with all this here>

If you still need a bit of help with this, contact our advocacy service, by telephone, email or contact form, here>

Remember, DON’T DELAY with any of these things, or you will pile up the problems.

Carers under stress

Carers under stress

According to research published this month, almost 8 million informal carers across the UK are under significant stress and financial strain, – 15% of the population see themselves as informal carers, and 10% have been informal carers in the past.

So a quarter of the population is or has been involved in caring for someone without being paid for it, or with limited financial support. If this is you, and you are struggling financially or feel you have limited leisure or educational or personal time, you may be able to get services from the Council through a Carer’s Assessment. If you need some help with applying for Carer’s Allowance, or with going through a carer’s assessment of your needs, or with getting a food parcel, or managing debt, we can help you with this.
We can also directing you to cheap or free products and services you can use to help make ends meet.If you think we may be able to help, Contact us.
Check out Wolverhampton’s Carer Support website and service to see how they can help you. You can find carer’s support here>

Benefit Appeals – what is the cost?

Benefit Appeals – what is the cost?

The cost to the mental health of disabled people who have had their disability benefits removed has been high. Many have experienced poverty, depression, and worsening health as a result of DWP decisions. Many have given up and accepted the decision because appealing is a lengthy, time consuming and emotional process.

The Government has maintained that changes to disability benefits, and reviews of eligibility have been about targeting the correct people, and removing from those benefits people who dont meet the criteria.

The problem is, as countless disabled people have have told us and others, the DWP do not look objectively at your needs. If they did, why are so many decisions overturned at tribunal? How can disabled people be awarded 0 points for personal independence payment by the DWP “because they do not require help with day to day living”, and at tribunal be awarded 12 points and the highest rate of benefit because their needs are so great?

A freedom of information request has revealed that the DWP has spent £108.1million on direct staffing costs for ESA and PIP appeals since October 2015 for mandatory reconsiderations, internal DWP review,s and appeals to tribunals.
During that same period 87,500 PIP claimants had their decision changed at mandatory reconsideration, and a further 91,587 claimants won their appeal at tribunal.

Would it not be better for disabled people and cheaper for the tax payer, if the DWP looked objectively at facts and made the right decision in the first place?