At the Disability Partnership Calderdale’s recent open meeting on 20th November 2018, we were given an important and informative presentation by Caroline Jones of Citizens Advice Calderdale. We’ve collated the main details of the presentation below:
Citizens Advice Calderdale Presentation
What we do:
Our aims: are to provide the advice people need for the problems they face and to improve the policies and practices that affect people’s lives.
Citizens Advice Calderdale provides free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities. We value diversity, promote equality and challenge discrimination.
“We’re here with advice when someone needs us, whatever the problem. In person, over the telephone and online.”
Helping People in 2017/18 in numbers
- 25775 advice issues dealt with
- 7960 individual clients advised
- over 100,000 visits to our self help website http://www.adviceguide.org.uk
- 8000 visits to Calderdale Cab website
- 8 locations in Calderdale where we provide free, confidential and impartial information
Welfare Benefits – 10,064 problems
• Personal Independence Payments
• Employment Support Allowance
• Housing Benefits
• Working and Child Tax Credits
• Council Tax reduction
• Universal Credit
Debt – 4519 problems
• Council Tax Arrears
• Credit, Store and Charge Cards
• Unsecured Personal Loans
• Fuel Debts
• Rent Arrears (Social Housing)
• Employment 1742
• Housing 1637
We deliver services via: Harrison Road, Halifax Borough Market, Customer First, Todmorden Health Centre, Hanson Lane Enterprise Centre, St. Augustines, Queens Road Neighbourhood Centre, Elland Library and Brighouse Health Centre
Universal Credit Update
We anticipated that:
• Universal Credit roll out to lead to a greater need for advice on benefits, digital inclusion and financial capability.
• An increase in household debts such as council tax, rent and utility arrears is anticipated.
• The condition of property and security of tenure for private rented sector tenants are likely to be issues of increasing concern.
• Fuel poverty
Universal Credit – What is happening:
• There has been a greater need for advice on benefits, digital inclusion and financial capability.
• There has been an increase in household debts such as council tax, rent and utility arrears.
• There are problems in the condition of property and security of tenure for private rented sector tenants.
• We still have a problem with Fuel poverty
• Some improvements in waiting times
• We work with key partners locally to resolve issues.
• We continue to collect evidence so we can influence the national agenda.
• We await news re key dates for “managed migration”, when everyone will be migrated because it will have an effect on CAB and other support agencies in terms of demand.
Universal Credit Managed Migration:
• At some point DWP will migrate claimants with existing awards (means tested and tax credits) to Universal Credit.
• If Universal Credit maximum amount is less than what the claimant was receiving prior to transfer, there will be an additional amount paid to make up the difference. (transitional protection)
• Transitional protection can only apply if your claim is transferred by DWP as part of the managed migration process.
• It does not apply if you have to claim Universal Credit after a change of circumstances.
Universal Credit Our current concern:
• We believe that changes still need to be made in relation to supporting people who have disabilities.
• Local DWP are aware of this and informed me they have reported this to the department to influence change.
Universal Credit Our response:
• Where we are supporting clients with appeals, if we can demonstrate an “abuse of process”, we are making compensation claims on their behalf.
A New Service
From 7th January 2019 we will supporting even more vulnerable people with their ESA and PIP Appeals across Calderdale.
The additional locations we will be using are: Brighouse Surgery, Station Road Surgery (PM), Halifax Borough Market, Threeways and A Halifax based Medical Centre.