Fraudulent universal credit claims being made to obtain advance payments

NAWRA members have reported via the rightsnet discussion forum that clients have been
contacted by a loan company offering a ‘government grant’.

The loan company then takes information sufficient to verify ID and submit a universal credit claim without the client’s knowledge, arranges an advance and then keeps a substantial amount of it for themselves. The first the client knows is their legacy benefits have stopped, and they find they are now a universal credit claimant with a large advance to repay that they did not receive.

NAWRA has written to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Amber Rudd with our recommendations to prevent this fraudulent activity.

Read our letter and the reply.


Date of claim for UC – NAWRA’s letter to the secretary of state for work and pensions

NAWRA members have raised concerns about the date of claim for universal credit claimants who access universal credit via the Help to Claim service operated by Citizens Advice.

NAWRA has written to Amber Rudd, secretary of state for work and pensions to ask for clarity on the government’s position.

We received a disappointing reply and we responded on 20 June.

The latest reply from Amber Rudd (12 July) does not address our points.

Please send any comments to



Improving Disability Assistance in Scotland

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.”


Benny Lynch

5th December 1954 – 31st March 2019

It is with much personal sadness that I write to inform friends and former colleagues of the passing of my good friend, Benny Lynch.

Benny passed in his new surroundings in Sicily, surrounded by his family. People who really knew Benny will be astonished to learn that in his later years he moved from Scotland to Sicily and became an olive farmer as well as running a guest house. He also taught English to refugees who had found themselves in Italy.

Benny and his family moved to Sicily in March 2011 and integrated well into the local community, forming close friendships and becoming part of the local community, where they were well liked and received.

Before joining Strathclyde’s welfare rights staff, Benny had worked at the car plant in Linwood near Glasgow. He worked there under various owners and when the plant closed, I’m sure it wasn’t just his fault, he worked for a while in residential child care with Strathclyde Regional Council. He was also an elected member for the Labour Party for a period of time with East Kilbride District Council.

His career in welfare rights began back in 1983 when he got a job as a WRO in Pollock in Glasgow. Benny was a popular character in his social work area team and was soon making his mark among his colleagues in welfare rights. His adversarial nature made him a terrific advocate at appeal tribunal hearings and his intellect saw him quickly adapt to the legislative intricacies and case law so necessary in that particular period.

Before long, he was promoted to the role of welfare rights development officer, where his easy going nature and intellect help recruit a new wave of welfare rights workers who blossomed under his tutelage and support. He had a particular interest in training, something which he was remarkably good at, and helped develop Strathclyde’s ‘Training for Trainers’ programme.

He was active in both the Scottish Local Authority Welfare Rights Advisers Group as well as the National Association of Welfare Rights Advisers. Benny was always well regarded and his sense of humour, particularly wicked on even the most inappropriate of occasions, natural intelligence and general bonhomie ensured that he always became the centre of attention at any event.

We were very close friends for many years and more often than not, you wouldn’t find one without the other. We shared a similar, some would say warped, sense of humour, liked pretty much the same types of music and loved the beautiful game – football for the uninitiated! We supported different teams, but the rivalry between our clubs never affected our friendship. We would always have a bet of a drink on the game, but Benny only ever appeared when his team won. Thankfully, at that time, it wasn’t very often! How fitting he watched his beloved Celtic play on the day that he passed away and he would have been particularly delighted that they beat my team.

He was a massive Pink Floyd fan and actually went to Prague with his wife to see the Roger Waters “Resist” Tour. He didn’t let the rift between Dave Gilmour and Roger Waters put him off either and followed both their careers.

I could tell some marvellous stories about my great mate but the libel laws prevent me from doing so. He was even my lodger at one point, for a short period of time!

Paradoxically, the last photograph I saw of Benny had him looking better and healthier than in all the years I knew him, which makes his passing all the more shocking for me.

Benny will best be remembered for his caring nature, devilish sense of humour and an intellect which belied his behaviour at times.

Benny Lynch, the people’s champion! Shine on you crazy diamond!