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The Ask an Expert feature on the Turn2us
website is a regular opportunity for Turn2us service
users to submit a question on a specific topic relating to
benefits, grants or managing money to a panel of advisers who
specialise in that area of information and advice.
We select a number of questions to put to the
panel and we publish their answers on the Turn2us website together
with links to useful sources of further information on the subject
we are focusing on. Every person who submits a question receives a
reply once the session ends, even if we do not publish the
In this edition of the bulletin we look back
at what we have covered so far in 2012 and what is planned for the
rest of the year.
In January, we focused on financial
support for housing costs. Experts from Shelter, Broadway and
Turn2us answered enquiries about:
Some of the questions had so many aspects to them and required
quite lengthy answers, so we included extra pages of information to
support the answer and explore in more detail the options available
to the questioner.
February's subject was Expecting
a child with experts from Gingerbread and Working Families.
Sometimes the topics are on specific benefits
– we covered
Tax credits in March with the help of the Low Incomes Tax
Reform Group and
Employment and Support Allowance in July with the help of
Disability Rights UK and the Welfare Benefits Team at the
London Borough of Redbridge.
For these sessions we got a higher than usual
number of questions from intermediaries, seeking advice to pass on
to their clients.
In April, Turn2us runs a Benefits Awareness
Month campaign, so we invited questions for Ask an Expert more
generally about any sort of benefit problem. This was the
busiest session we have ever had with over 80 questions submitted
and 14 selected for publication. Experts included representatives
of Citizens Advice, Advice Derbyshire and Turn2us.
Several of the questions were on Employment
and Support Allowance, which combined with the changes to this
benefit that took effect in May, prompted us to write an article on
ESA for the next edition of Turn2us News which we subsequently
turned into an Information and Resources page on ESA changes
August's Ask an Expert session focused on Carers and help at home. The wide-ranging
subjects covered included:
Our experts from Disability Rights UK, Trafford Carers Centre
and Independent Age provided us with such useful and detailed
information on community care issues - such as health and social
care assessments, carers assessments, Fair Access to
Care Services policy (FACS), personal budgets and direct
payments - that we plan to use this material to produce
new resources for our Information and Resources section.
The topic for October 2012 will be fuel
poverty to tie in with our campaign - reported elsewhere in
this edition of Turn2us News.
You can submit your questions between 17-24
October and our experts' answers to a selection will be
published on 2 November.
See our Ask an Expert introductory page for more
information and an archive of previous sessions
If there is a benefits, grants or managing money subject
that you would like to see featured as an Ask an Expert session,
please contact Alban Hawksworth, Turn2us Welfare Benefits
Specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org
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