Thank you to everyone who attended and contributed to our first online event on 15th May 2020. As promised, we are in the process of uploading the sessions to our YouTube channel and all sessions are now available!
The first session starts with a welcome from our Chair followed by a fantastic workshop on ‘Catching up with COVID-19 benefit changes‘ led by Tom Messere (Big Book of Benefits, NAWRA Committee). There is also a Q&A session included.
Part Two focuses on a workshop by Gareth Morgan (Ferret, Welfare Rights Advisers Cymru, NAWRA committee) who takes us through examples of how the new rules and rates work after the April and COVID-19 changes, including how Universal Credit and legacy benefits compare and more detail on how the benefit cap can negate many of the increases.
Part Three features the lively information exchange, wonderfully handled by our Vice-Chair, Daphne Hall and featuring contributions from a range of members and committee representatives. the session ends with a live feedback session!
Slides and notes available in the members area.
The government has conceded to an Early Day Motion, tabled by Mark Tami MP and signed by 73 others, calling for Universal Credit to be payable up to the day before State Pension is paid.
In response to the news, NAWRA released the following statement:
This is a great achievement by Mark Tami and will make a huge difference to all the pensioners who are currently being left with a big gap in income.
NAWRA is delighted to see the government conceding on one of the many design flaws within universal credit and we hope that this indicates a willingness to continue listening to those with knowledge and experience of the hardships being faced by many universal credit claimants.
Read the government statement.
Our national Chair, Alan Markey, has recently had an article published in ‘Adviser’ magazine. In the article Alan offers his take on how the social security landscape has changed, on increasing conditionality and a hostile environment for claimants, and highlights the increasing importance of advisers in the fight against poverty.
If you don’t have a copy of the magazine, you can read his article on the Medium website.
NAWRA has submitted a detailed response to the recent consultation on ‘Improving Disability Assistance in Scotland’.
In time Disability Assistance will replace Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment and Attendance Allowance as per devolved powers covered in Section 31 of Social Security Act (Scotland) 2018.
The points covered in our submission include:
- It is welcomed from Scottish Government that Disability Assistance will be paid to aged 18 but we would extend this further for children and extend to aged 19 or end of non-advanced education, especially if already in payment through PIP
- 50 metre test for mobility
- Minimum assessments and only when required and should always be people centered
- Introduction of safeguarding
- Increase in independent advice provision as in accordance with our social security bill and charter
Our NAWRA rep in Scotland, Craig Samuel, said:
“At NAWRA we welcome a more inclusive and generous approach by Scottish Government and, in line with our charter, an increase in advice provision and kindness. But we still have a lot of hurdles to overcome before we can relax.
We must get payments made as quickly as possible to ensure we give the best opportunity of success to people living in Scotland; to reduce poverty levels, reduce isolation and reduce adverse childhood experiences.
We must also keep open all our channels of dialogue especially when we are relying on a safe and secure transfer from London. On behalf of NAWRA, I look forward to participating in future developments and hearing from our Cabinet Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville as our key note speaker on 13th September when we have our annual Scottish conference in Edinburgh.”
Amber Rudd and Neil Couling have told the Work and Pensions Committee that the DWP will pay compensation to claimants who have been misadvised, by the DWP, to claim universal credit and have lost out as a result.
Giving evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee, Amber Rudd and Neil Couling were questioned about the evidence that Jobcentres were misadvising claimants to move on to universal credit. This was as a direct result of evidence provided by NAWRA in our written response and in our oral evidence.
You can watch the evidence being put to Ms Rudd and Mr Couling, and their responses, here.