The Unwritten Battles of Receiving Disability Benefits Long-Term

…..

“I can control nothing.

I am a long-term sick and disabled single woman. I have four children. I can’t work and will never be able to in a full time sense again. I’m on state benefits. There’s a huge stigma to that fact, despite my best efforts to shake it. I’m a well-educated, smart, sometimes articulate woman who’s fought hard for every last thing, and I’m tired. I’m so tired of fighting for everything, every right I allegedly have. I’m tired of every single thing being a battle. It’s so hard being in my situation; I can’t even explain the constant conflict with the various agencies I deal with, aside from the battles with the general public and their ill informed opinions of people like me.”

Read the full blog post here: https://themighty.com/2017/05/being-on-disability-single-mom/

 

Young couple with no money, no bed and no home forced to sleep in tiny tent in field

Jade Macey, 20, and Lewis Godfrey, 19, have spent the last week bedding down in a field because they don’t have ID documents to show to the council

young couple have been forced to bed down in a tiny tent in a field because they have no home , no bed, and no money.

The pair claim they have received no help after they were unable to present their ID documents to the council because of a rift with their families, which means they can’t go home.

Jade Macey and Lewis Godfrey have been sleeping for the past couple of months in a field in Bishopsworth, south Bristol, near to Lewis’s former family home.

Neighbours are rallying round the couple, providing them with somewhere to store their camping gear during the day, and to use bathroom facilities and hot drinks.

Jade, 20, and Lewis, 19, have both ended up without a home because of family breakdowns – the most common reason why young people end up homeless, reports the Bristol Post.

After months of sofa-surfing, sleeping on friends’ floors and even snatching a few minutes’ sleep in 24-hour McDonald’s restaurants, the couple settled on a tent in the field around a week ago.

read more here: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/young-couple-no-money-no-10407877#ICID

Tory policies will deny homes to hundreds of thousands of pensioners and disabled people, warn housing chiefs

‘If this is not fixed, it could be really disastrous for large numbers of older and vulnerable people’

Hundreds of thousands of pensioners and disabled people will be denied the homes they badly need because of a “disastrous” Conservative policy, housing chiefs are warning.

A shortage of sheltered and supported housing is set to mushroom because of “crazy” funding rules that are shutting services and crushing investment, ministers have been told.

But the National Housing Federation (NFH) is alarmed that housing associations are now refusing to build them because the Government has thrown their future funding from rent into jeopardy. Its forecast is a staggering shortfall of 300,000 homes by 2030, of which 240,000 are sheltered properties needed by pensioners.

David Orr, the NHF’s chief executive, told The Independent: “If this is not fixed, it could be really disastrous for large numbers of older and vulnerable people. The providers of these homes are saying, ‘we can get the money, we can find the land, we know there’s a need, but the funding is too uncertain’.

“If vulnerable people are not able to live there, they will either be in inappropriate homes they find difficult to manage, or in residential nursing care – or in hospital. The cost to them will be great and the cost to the state will be enormous. The last thing the NHS needs is more people falling over and breaking hips because their accommodation doesn’t meet their needs.”

The crisis was described as a “ticking time-bomb” by the former chairman of a Commons select committee that investigated it as the general election was called. It has been triggered by a policy switch dubbed a “backdoor bedroom tax” when it was first revealed by The Independent last year.

From April 2019, housing benefit in all social housing will be capped at the level of the Local Housing Allowance (LHA), used in the private rented sector. Crucially, the LHA is calculated – like the removal of the “spare-room subsidy” – on the basis of household size, rather than the size of the property. That means a single person, or a couple, living in a two-bedroom home will have their housing benefit capped at the one-bedroom LHA rate.

The impact will be severe across the Midlands and the North, where lower private rents will mean a lower one-bedroom LHA rate, threatening tenants with huge benefit cuts. They would lose at least £300 a year if their homes are deemed to be “underoccupied”, but some pensioners in the North could be a staggering £1,700 a year worse off.

Mr Orr described the switch as “crazy and frustrating”, adding: “It makes no sense – and the select committees agreed with no dissent, no argument.”

The crisis is deepening according to evidence presented to the joint inquiry carried out recently by the Communities and Local Government and Work and Pensions committees.

They uncovered a string of housing associations slashing investment – and even cutting existing services – because of the looming changes. The Riverside Group said a number of developments were on hold, including one in Colchester for people leaving the armed forces and a scheme for older people in Rochdale.

read more here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tory-housing-policy-disabled-pensioners-crisis-warning-a7720721.html

 

 

Eight things you should know about the benefit cap

‘Fairness’ was the word Lord Freud used to justify the lowering of the benefit cap. But there is no fairness to be found in a policy that ignores assessed need, mostly affects people who can’t work to increase their income, and hits households with children in 94 per cent of cases.

Here’s what you need to know about the benefit cap:

  1. The cap breaks the link between what you need and what you get. People are assessed for social security support according to need, but if that help goes above the – arbitrary – level of the benefit cap, it is restricted. In other words, the needier you are, the more likely you’ll be hit by the cap.
  2. When the cap was originally set, the amount (£26,000) was based on the premise that non-working households shouldn’t receive more than the average earnings of working households. But this isn’t comparing like for like: it’s comparing incomes with earnings. A working family on £26,000 could also receive a range of benefits and tax credits.
  3. The new – lower – amount (£20,000, or £23,000 in London) does not have a rationale. And it has come in at a time when the cost of living is going up.
  4. One of the stated aims of the cap is to incentivise people to move into work. But only 13 per cent of people affected by the benefit cap are on Jobseeker’s Allowance – i.e. expected to be actively trying to get a job. The vast majority of people affected by the cap are not expected to work because of disability or ill-health, or because they have very young children.
  5. Ministers claim people capped are 41 per cent more likely to move into work. That sounds big, but actually the effect is relatively small. The government’s own evaluation showed about 16 per cent of people moved into work shortly after being capped and that 11 per cent of people would have moved into work anyway. That difference in rates (4.4 percentage points to be precise) is where the 41 per cent figure comes from. About 75 per cent of people move off JSA after 6 months, 90 per cent by 12 months.
  6. More than 116,000 families will be affected by this new cap – and more than 319,000 children. It’s not just larger families either. Most families affected by the lower cap have two or three children.
  7. The Supreme Court has said that the benefit cap breaches the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and that ‘it cannot possibly be in the best interests of the children affected by the cap to deprive them of the means to provide them with adequate food, clothing, warmth and housing, the basic necessities of life’.
  8. The only other way to become uncapped is to move house somewhere cheaper. Yet a family with two young children will not be able to find a cheap enough home in 60 per cent of the country to escape the cap – including the entire southeast and southwest regions.

Families with very young children and people with disabilities – who are most likely to be affected by the cap – ought to be given the strongest possible protection against the deprivation this policy leads to. That would be fair.

read more here: http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/eight-things-you-should-know-about-benefit-cap

Don’t hold your breath, Theresa May tells homeless

A Parliamentary Question on homelessness today from Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh either caught the Prime Minister unbriefed or showed how totally complacent she is about the growing numbers of people being left without a home. McDonagh’s question (view here) came from the Corbyn mould, being based on the experience of a constituent. She asked: Last […]

via Don’t hold your breath, Theresa May tells homeless — Red Brick

How the Universal Credit bureaucracy can screw your chance of paying rent

From Kate Belgrave’s  blog

This story will give you an idea of some of the reasons why people can end up with rent arrears when they’re trying to set up a Universal Credit claim.

It should also give you an idea why some jobcentre meetings drive me to the brink.

So.

I recently attended a meeting at Croydon jobcentre with a woman who has been trying to sort out the housing component of her Universal Credit claim for several months (I’ve posted a short transcript from the meeting below).

You’ll see from the transcript that the meeting was ludicrous.

Read more here:

http://www.katebelgrave.com/2017/01/how-the-universal-credit-bureaucracy-can-screw-your-chance-of-paying-rent/