Meadows Advice Group’s board heard tonight that from April 1st to 22nd May, our advisors sought to help people on 246 matters, a high number in part cos of the benefits change, in part by trying to reach out more because of all the changes, and in part cos of a lag in data entry cos of the benefits changes.
– £189698 benefits gained as annualised amounts
– £ 41925 benefits gained as lump sums
– £ 10659 priority debt managed
– £ 17823 non priority debt managed
Because of the new contract and monitoring systems and because people are not getting into debt to the same scale so often, it is difficult to compare results year on year. But it appears that targets have been met by Meadows Advice Group, and by the wider Advice Nottingham, on clients helped and benefits gained.
Training of advisors about the benefit changes has highlighted new worries, particularly in relation to Personal Independence Payments. With everything happening about the bedroom tax, reduction in council tax support, and changes to the social fund, the change from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment seemed a long way off. The changes to eligibility seem even more severe than thought, particularly for people with mobility problems. As a lot of the language is being changed (assessing problems with ‘moving’ rather than ‘walking’), most of the precedents on Disability Living Allowance will no longer apply. New applicants in Nottingham have to apply for PIPs from 10th June, with DLA recipients changing around December. Some disabled families could lose £3,500 a year. Perhaps this could be an even more damaging change than the bedroom tax.
For a campaigning take on PIP, see http://wearespartacus.org.uk/pip/
TO BE CHECKED AND UPDATED WITH FIGURES ON HOUSEHOLDS IN THE MEADOWS TO BE AFFECTED.
This data from Nottingham Insight shows Bridge ward seemingly faring better than Nottingham city as a whole, and this is because the census shows the city centre, with higher value properties, growing dramatically since 2001; something not reflected in voters registered.
Meadows Advice Group’s remit means it serves the poorer half of the ward.
Returning to Nottingham’s figures – Latest data (November 2012) shows 20,060 people in Nottingham claiming DLA. Of these:
12,910 were 16-64
2,070 were under 16
5,080 were over 65+
Of those aged 16-64, 2,830 receive the higher rate.
Attached is more information on PIP, including the following timetable:
From 10 June 2013 – DWP will only accept new claims PIP from people claiming for the first time between the ages of 16-64. No new DLA claims for this age group will be accepted.
From 7 October 2013 – PIP will become relevant for:
Young people who turn 16 claiming for the first time
Existing DLA claimants whose circumstances change
Those who have a fixed term DLA award that is due to end after February 2014
October 2015 – October 2018 – All remaining DLA claimants will be asked to claim PIP