Welfare reform - its impact on benefits and income problems - how to resolve them

Welfare reform - its impact on benefits and income problems - how to resolve them

Key issues covered include:

  • Bedroom tax – one council tenant in three has been pushed into rent arrears since April, while at least another 30,000 people living in housing association properties are also affected, with one household in four in rent arrears for the first time
  • Benefits cap – almost 8,400 households had their Housing Benefit capped between April and August. More than three-quarters (77%) of those affected lost up to £100 a week under the new rules
  • Benefit sanctions – an average of 70,000 people are having their benefits sanctioned EVERY MONTH, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without benefits – from October 2013, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) introduced the far tougher ‘claimant commitment’ ahead of the Universal Credit rollout that will see these sanction figures increase further
  • Challenging decisions – claimants who wish to challenge a benefit decision will no longer be allowed to lodge an appeal immediately. Instead, there is the requirement for a mandatory review/revision before proceeding with appeal direct to the Tribunal Service; this applies to all DWP linked benefits. There will be no time limit on how long this revision process may take and, for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants, during this review, no ESA will be payable, not even the basic rate.
The day also covers:
  • Claims and payments, including interim payments. Universal Credit – payments on account and alternative payments. Also, Switchback and Direct Deductions
  • Arrears caused by delays in moving in
  • Non-dependants –new definitions and deductions under Universal Credit
  • Issues relating to absence, moving home and benefit on two homes – new rules under Universal Credit
  • Overpayments and recovery – identifying reasons for preventing recovery and how to get ‘clawbacks’ reduced. Includes all overpayments recoverable under Universal Credit
  • Backdating – identifying grounds for good cause and supporting tenants in making a successful backdating request
  • Discretionary Housing Payments – how they can help tenants in hardship and how they will operate under Universal Credit.
Who should attend?
All frontline staff, team leaders, managers and heads of service throughout housing organisations that are involved with benefits, welfare reform and supporting tenants. Delegates should have a working knowledge of Housing Benefit.

Welfare reform - its impact on benefits and income problems - how to resolve them

Alison Markantonis

Income management Alison Markantonis

Alison Markantonis is an experienced welfare benefits, financial capability and employment skills practitioner, who has worked successfully in the affordable housing and benefits sector for the last 27 years. She has worked with many housing and support organisations and brings her extensive experience to specialise in demystifying the benefits system, money management and employability skills training for both frontline staff and tenants. Her approach is participative and interactive, using case studies and her own experience to take the complex, and make it not only simple, but also applicable.

training track record

HQN has a track record of helping organisations achieve real and lasting performance improvements. If you are interested in accessing this training package, please contact us by emailing training@hqnetwork.co.uk