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28 Jun 2016
Dundee Stronger Together

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.  

Click Here For Our New Map

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

The Ayrshire Stronger Together group has been working on personal Independence Payment for a while and has put together a training course to help make sure people with learning disabilities get the right help in applying for the new benefit. 

From October 2015 the DWP will be asking everyone with Disability Living Allowance to apply for Personal Independence Payment.   Many people with learning disabilities are worried that they may not get the help they need to apply.  

Some people will be able to get professional help but many others will depend on family members and support staff to complete their forms with them.   We would like to invite  families and paid staff who support people with learning disabilities to a training course to help complete the application forms for the new Personal Independence Payment and to prepare for any further information that might be needed.  

We have up to 20 places on each course but at this time they are only open to families from Ayrshire as the training course will be based in Kilmarnock.   There is no cost to the course but they do need to book.  There are more details on the leaflet.  

Tens of thousands of people have been waiting over ten months to get the new benefit for the first time—without any payments in the meantime. 

By December 2013 there had been 229,000 claims but only 43,800 decisions.                                              

A fall in success rates

Under DLA 45% of claims were successful before appeal but under PIP only 37% of claims have been successful before appeal.

The problems

The Length Of Time Taken To Do Assessments.  The new PIP assessment is more complicated than people realised and is taking twice as long to complete as thought.