We receive a wide range of queries. Some examples include:
• Can my client get Pension Credit to top-up their State Pension?
• What happens to Universal Credit if our tenant goes abroad to visit their daughter?
• My client has just had an accident at work – what help is available?
• A carer has just gone into hospital, what will happen to her Carer’s Allowance?
• My client’s son has just been diagnosed with autism. Is there any help with the extra costs the family face?
The Welfare Benefits Unit also provides broader support, assisting those who work with members of the public and advising on complex benefit issues, as shown in the following case studies:
You always give me useful guidance and advice. I am very thankful that I can contact you when I hit a knotty problem – it makes a big difference to the help I can give my clients.
Maximising income for a disabled couple when their grandchild moved in: claiming Universal Credit immediately would have reduced their benefit income. We advised the Benefits and Assessment Officer about proactive action needed, protecting over £1,000 in the first three months of the claim and increasing regular payments.
Continuing in education following in-hospital mental health support: detailed advice, including case law, ensured that the student was able to retain Universal Credit housing costs and maintain his tenancy whilst receiving therapy. Further, his Occupational Therapist was able to help him establish limited capability for work to ensure Universal Credit could continue once he returned to studying.
Carer affected by Universal Credit requirements to look for work: identifying officially as a carer would reduce the amount of benefit received by her dad who was in very poor health. However, work-related responsibilities were proving too difficult to meet. We provided clear advice so that the Citizens Advice volunteer could outline choices around the situation and the impact of any decision made.
Help with mobility costs after pension age: a terminally ill patient receives Personal Independence Payment and has restricted mobility. Advice of strict criteria was given to the cancer support adviser to support a late application for PIP mobility component, including specific points of note when contacting the DWP.
Moving into work whilst managing a health condition: taking a step back into work can be daunting and we were able to advice the financial capability officer how different options would affect benefit entitlement. We calculated whether their disabled client would be better off on Universal Credit.
EEA national struggling to establish right to reside after 14 years residence: without proof of application to the Settlement Scheme the client no longer had a right to remain in the UK and was unable to claim Universal Credit. Clarification of their position and detailed guidance ensured that the mental health social worker was able to help her gather the information needed to claim Universal Credit and avoid destitution.