WE MUST ACT NOW
Do Not Support Newly Disabled Claimants To Stay In Their Homes Recommends DWP To Cash Strapped Councilsby johnny void
The DWP has issued guidance to local authorities suggesting that newly sick or disabled claimants affected by the Benefit Cap should go into arrears rather than be awarded Discretionary Housing Payments to cover a shortfall in their rent.
In a further callous move, the Department recommends that the most seriously sick and disabled claimants - who are appealing a decision made by the notorious Atos Work Capability Assessment not to place them in the Support Group - should not be provided with emergency housing payments to top up their rent whilst the appeal takes place.
Around 50,000 households, including 200,000 children, are currently staring homeless in the face due to the cap on benefits which has made much of the South East of England unaffordable for families out of work. The Government have claimed sick and disabled people will not be affected by the cap, however only those in the Support Group of Employment Support Allowance (ESA), or those with a current claim for Disability Living Allowance (or its replacement PIP) are exempt.
Most claimants on out of work sickness benefits are in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) of ESA - meaning they have been assessed as being able to do some work, at some point, in the future. Unless this group of claimants qualify for DLA, which means they have specific costs associated with care or mobility, they are likely to have to leave their homes if they live in an in area affected by the cap.
Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are an ever shrinking pot of money which has been given to Local Authorities to support some of those facing homelessness due to the Bedroom Tax, Benefit Cap or other cuts to benefits.
"Where an appeal against
a decision not to award an exempting benefit is
pending, the LA should bear in mind that a decision on entitlement has been
made and that the circumstances are not the same as a case where a
decision on entitlement is due. We would not recommend making a DHP
award unless there are mitigating circumstances."
This means that newly sick and disabled people, such as someone recently diagnosed with cancer or other chronic illness and forced to leave work, will now also face losing their homes if their claim for ESA is wrongly assessed by the notorious IT company Atos. Meanwhile should councils follow the DWP's suggestions newly disabled people who have had to give up their jobs will be plunged into rent arrears whilst an application for DLA is made. This process usually takes around six weeks - but can take longer. So those who are coping with not just a recent disability or serious illness, but having to give up work as well, can now add the threat of homelessness to the things they have to worry about.
There is no requirement on Local Authorities to follow this nasty guidance from the DWP and they are free to spend Discretionary Housing Payments any way they choose. With the paltry amount of money available shrinking year on year, many will be only too happy to follows these suggestions and socially cleanse newly sick and disabled people from their areas. They may even choose to go one step further. As the recommendations point out, the exemption to the Benefit Cap does not apply during the period of time whilst a claim for ESA is pending. Many councils are likely to interpret this guidance to avoid paying DHPs to anyone at all whilst they are awaiting an assessment for ESA - which can take months.
ESA claims for those with terminal illnesses are fast tracked in some cases, but claims for many other chronic and life changing conditions are not. If you live in London, or another high rent area, then do not expect what's left of the welfare state to support you to stay in your home should you become seriously ill or disabled.
1. Introduced unpaid, unlimited workfare for those deemed too sick or disabled to work by their doctor.
2. Scrapped crisis loans and community care grants for the most vulnerable.
3. Severely reduced Legal Aid so that equal, fair access to justice is no longer preserved.
4. Increased VAT ensuring the poorest pay proportionately more in tax. Cut top tax rate to 45% giving millionaires a £40000 pa tax windfall.
BROKEN BRITISH POLITICS – WHY CAMERON WANTS OUT HUMAN RIGHTS Article 25 Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection
Cameron and his cohorts bleating about “we must opt out of the Human Rights Act because of Abu Qatada” utter BS.Miliband jumping on the Band Wagon exploring the idea when its already in Place.