The Welfare Rights Unit is a specialist section which deals with all aspects of helping people to claim the benefits which they are entitled to. If you think you may be able to claim extra benefits but don’t know where to start, then we may be able to help.
If you have been turned down for benefit or have had your benefit stopped and you are not sure why, we may be able to help you. We specialise in representing people at appeals, we are currently experiencing a high level of demand in relation to Employment and Support Allowance.
We run outreach surgery sessions in a number of parts of Neath Port Talbot. Alternatively we may be able to resolve your problem over the telephone or visit you at home.
We are also able to offer training to people working for a range of other agencies. We run a standard training programme but may also be able to offer you training which is tailor made to benefit issues which are relevant to your area of work. Training is free to those working for NPTCBC and also those working in partnership with the Council. Reasonable charges will apply to those from other areas.
We may also be able to come and give a talk to your organisation either at a team meeting for staff or to groups of service users.
For initial enquiries, please ring 01639 685225 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a quick guide to some of the major changes taking place in the benefit system. Contact us if you need further advice.
Discretionary Assistance Fund (DAF)
This replaced part of the Social Fund in April 2013 – Crisis Loans for people who find themselves in an emergency situation with no money to pay for their immediate needs have been replaced by Emergency Assistance Payments (EAP) – these are grants not loans.
Community Care Grants which used to be available to pay for large items of expenditure for things like beds, cookers, washing machines for people with health problems or who are experiencing difficult family circumstances have been replaced by Individual Assistance Payments (IAP).
We understand that the DAF is likely to be underspent in the current financial year, so if you are in need, do not hesitate to apply for an EAP or IAP.
Applications can be made either by phoning 0800 859 5924 or by following the links on the Money Made Clear website – www.moneymadeclearwales.org
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
Since June 2013, it has no longer been possible for people aged 16-64 to make a new claim for DLA. New claims can still be made for children under the age of 16 and those aged 65+ who qualified for DLA before their 65th birthday can usually continue to receive it.
Everybody else who develops care and mobility needs after June 2013 needs to make a claim for PIP. To make the initial application, you need to phone 0800 917 2222 and will be asked for some basic personal details. The second stage will involve a questionnaire PIP2, you may need some help to complete this. The third stage of the process will usually involve an assessment by a medical professional.
People already receiving DLA will be gradually re-assessed for PIP over a period expected to last until 2018. This started on 28th October and from that date, three groups of people will be required to be assessed for PIP rather than DLA:
- Young people approaching their 16th birthday
- Those reporting a change in their care and/or mobility needs.
- Those with short term awards.
If you receive DLA but are not in one of these groups, we are awaiting further news about re-assessment and will update as soon as anything further is known.
Universal Credit was introduced in Neath Port Talbot in April 2015 and is delivered through Jobcentres. Initially only certain claimants are able to apply. If you have any questions about the amount of Universal Credit you receive or how it is paid, please contact the Universal Credit helpline on 0845 600 0723.
More information: Universal Credit
New Appeals Process
For anyone receiving a benefit decision dated 28th October 2013 or later, there will be a new two-tier appeals process. The first stage will involve requesting reconsideration from the office that made the original decision and only at the end of this process will it be possible to request an independent appeal.
This will particularly affect those appealing a decision that they are not entitled to Employment and Support Allowance as during the first stage – reconsideration, it will no longer be possible to receive the reduced payment of ESA as it is at present. If you find yourself in these circumstances – seek advice!!!
These are some of the recent and forthcoming changes which may impact on yourselves or your clients, if you need help with a benefit issue, please see contact details above