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The Department of Work and Pensions has published statistics on the take up of the new benefit.
Most of the figures relate to new claims rather than reassessments so the claims are mainly for people under the age of 25.
The national figures go into a lot of detail about particular conditions. So we now know that throughout the UK, there have been successful claims from 2,858 people with Down’s Syndrome and 354 people with Fragile X syndrome
For people with autism, there were 17,257 people with autism and a further 9.764 with Asperger’s Syndrome.
The figures for Scotland did not go into so much detail and only gave the global category for people. There were 2,444 awards for people with learning disabilities and 2,234 for people with autism.
The percentage of people in both categories are 10% lower than the national figures. So we will be keeping an eye on this over the next couple of years to make sure that assessors in Scotland are applying the same standards as the rest of the UK.
The new Work and Pension Minister, Damian Green has announced that it will take till September 2018 until all Job Centres are ready to handle Universal Credit claims.
In a further delay he said existing benefit claims would not start being transferred to Universal Credit until July 2019 and the transfer would be completed before summer 2022—6 years away
We are aware of an increasing number of problems that people with learning disabilities are experiencing in the welfare benefit system. Some of this is linked to the use of targets by the Department of Work and Pensions. Other problems are linked to the complexities of letters and forms sent to people to fill in.
Some support staff are no longer filling in forms because the consequences of getting this wrong can be very difficult and worrying for the people we support. Our advice for everyone is involved is to get good advice if you are not sure what to do.
You can use our new map of welfare right advice centres to track down your local advice shop. Take your letters and forms along and get the right help.
If you need help claiming benefits or want advice about how to sort out a problem, find you nearest Welfare Rights Advice Centre on the map.
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David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation suggests that the decision in George Osbourne's Spending Review that Housing Benefit for social housing should be capped at the same level as private sector could reduce supported tenancy housing benefit payments by up to £100 per week.
As there is no Local Housing Allowance for supported housing in the private rented sector, this seemingly minor, technical amendment could lead to virtually all supported housing for people under 35 to disappear, as many housing associations, councils and voluntary organisations rely on Local Housing Allowance to make up the additional costs.
Orr is lobbying to have this changed and says "We are told that it is not the intention of the Government to cause this problem for housing association running supported housing. If that is indeed the case it can resolve the problem immediately and easily. All it needs to do is agree that ‘specified housing’ is exempt from the rent cut and exempt from the local housing allowance limit. This decision must be made and it must be made quickly. If it does not happen, the consequences for tens of thousands of our most vulnerable fellow citizens are too awful to contemplate."
The Department for Work and Pensions said it was committed to supporting vulnerable people and details of how the policy will be implemented are still being worked on. Read More Here