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10/23/2014 9:51:52 AM

Universal Credit timetable slips again as Government report is published

Turn2us Universal Credit information


 

The timetable to put more than seven million benefit claimants on the government’s new benefit, Universal Credit, has slipped again, Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, has confirmed.

In a new report, 'Universal Credit at work', published on 22 October, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) insisted it remained on course to secure substantial savings, and said early findings showed that Universal Credit, which replaces six current benefits, is increasing claimant job search and breaking down barriers to work.

Universal Credit Timetable

The DWP's original target was to have one million people on Universal Credit by April 2014, but the project has been delayed a number of times since its creation and MPs have criticised the way it has been managed.

The report states that 14,170 were claiming Universal Credit - a figure that is expected to rise to 100,000 by May 2015 and 500,000 by May 2016.

By 2017, all new claimants, whether with children or not, will be put on to Universal Credit, but no date has been set for existing benefit claimants to be transferred. This means that from 2016 to well into 2018, it is likely Britain will have a two-tier welfare system - some people will be on Universal Credit, but many people won't be.

Work and Pensions Secretary's comment

Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: “You have to have flexibility so we land this carefully – simply gathering everybody up and dumping them in at an arbitrary point does not work. Targets and arbitrary figures are one of the problems of programme rollouts that don’t allow you to achieve the change. I believe the more people understand Universal Credit, the more they’ll want it.”

He hoped everyone would be on the benefit by 2018, though he admitted some difficult groups might not be.

Comment from Citizens Advice's Chief Executive

Citizens Advice has issued a statement saying that the priority in delivering Universal Credit must be helping the millions of people affected by the Government’s flagship welfare reform.

Citizens Advice Chief Executive, Gillian Guy, said:

“Delivering Universal Credit successfully means doing it safely for the millions of families affected by the reform. The principles of simplifying welfare and making work pay are sensible, but it is far too early to judge the success of Universal Credit. With nine in ten of our clients requiring assistance to deal with things like monthly payments and budgeting, strong support will be needed to help them. Many Citizens Advice clients have found that the new computer system for Universal Credit does not respond to changes in their personal circumstances, leaving them without vital financial support."

Further information

Read the Turn2us Universal Credit information

Sources:

Also in the news

Disability

Older people

Payday loans

Date of publication: 23 October 2014

10/22/2014 9:34:50 AM

More than 100,000 households helped by Scottish Welfare Fund

Scottish Government website article: Help for 100,000 households (link opens in a new window)


 

More than 100,000 households, including 32,000 families with children, have received essential help to buy everyday products like nappies, food and cookers through the Scottish Welfare Fund.

The Scottish Welfare Fund consists of Crisis Grants - which provide a safety net to low income households in a disaster or emergency - and Community Care Grants, which help people to live independently.

Since the scheme started, 70,000 households in Scotland have received Crisis Grants and 43,000 households have received Community Care Grants.

Key figures

For the most recent quarter (April 2014 to June 2014):

  • Crisis Grants averaged around £70 per award. They were mostly given for food and heating costs and were claimed because of an emergency. They included:
    • £980,000 of grants given out for food – up from £300,000 during the same period last year
    • £7,000 for nappies and toiletries.
  • Community Care Grants averaged around £640 per award. These awards were most likely to be claimed by people to help them stay in or set up their own home or families facing exceptional pressures. They included:
    • £1.8 million in grants awarded for the refit of carpets and flooring
    • £2 million for cookers, washing machines and fridges
    • 130,000 for clothing and shoes.
  • One in four households receiving the awards had a recorded issue, such as mental health problems; were lone parents; were physically disabled; or suffered from a chronic illness.

Comment from the Scottish Welfare Minister

Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess said:

“It is heart breaking to see the impacts of welfare reforms laid bare, with people coming forward and applying for help to buy everything from food to shoes to beds.

"It is totally unacceptable that in a country as wealthy as Scotland anyone should be living in poverty and unable to afford items that many of us take for granted.

“These figures show that demand for the Welfare Fund is high and is reaching out to those in the most deprived areas of Scotland. That’s why it is important that we take forward our new Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bill to set out how welfare funds will operate within local authorities to help those most in need.”

Source: Scottish Government website article: Help for 100,000 households (link opens in a new window)

Use Turn2us resources to find help

If you are struggling to make ends meet, use our Benefits Calculator to check your entitlement to benefits and our Grants Search database to see if you are eligible for help from a charitable fund, based on your personal background, circumstances and needs.

The Turn2us Information and Resources section contains resources on benefits, grants and managing money, including useful links sheets and a Find an Adviser tool to help you find national and local sources of further help.

Also in the news

Benefit fraud

Childcare

Child poverty

State of the nation

Date of publication: 22 October 2014

10/20/2014 9:21:50 AM

Run the London Marathon 2015 for Turn2us

Turn2us London Marathon 2015 Golden Bond online application form


Last year over 35,000 people ran the 26.2 mile London Marathon course through the centre of London.


Running any marathon is a huge personal achievement. Running London is a particularly amazing experience, with supporters cheering you on every inch of the way.


Run for Turn2us on 26 April 2015

For families in financial hardship, just a little help can make a massive difference. Run the 2015 London Marathon for Turn2us and help to tackle poverty.

To secure one of our Golden Bond guaranteed places for 2015, please complete our application form. We’ll be in touch within 7-10 days.


“I’ve never done anything so hard in my life but I’m still in awe of the incredible crowd support, and it was simply brilliant to see all you guys cheering us on, even if I was delirious by that point. Thanks for all the help!” 

 

Turn2us London Marathon 2015 Enquiry form

 


Turn2us will be with you every step of the way

The London Marathon is a rewarding, exhilarating and challenging experience and it is important to prepare fully and train hard. We’ll be with you every step of the way to ensure that you have everything that you need to make it to the finish line. We’ll also keep you updated with all the latest news from your fellow runners, fundraising ideas … and of course we’ll be there on the day to cheer you on!

Apply for a place on the Turn2us London Marathon 2015 team

If you are interested in running for Turn2us, fill in the Turn2us London Marathon 2015 Golden Bond online application form.

If you would to find out more before you apply, email Zena Carter, Turn2us Head of Fundraising at: zena.carter@turn2us.org.uk 

We’d love to have you on our team.

 

Turn2us London Marathon 2015 Golden Bond online application form

 

Also in the news

Children

Civil service

Food

New mothers

Pensions

Personal Independence Payment

Universal Credit

Date of publication: 20 October 2014

10/17/2014 9:28:47 AM

End Pensioner Poverty - new Age UK campaign

Turn2us information for people aged 60+


 

An overwhelming 95% of people believe that more should be done to help older people claim the full range of benefits available to them, according to new Age UK research. The charity warns that many pensioners are floundering on low, fixed incomes and have been walking a tightrope in recent years as food and utility bills have risen dramatically.

How we can end pensioner poverty

The report, "How we can end pensioner poverty", published to support Age UK’s new campaign to End Pensioner Poverty, found that over half of respondents (53%) were completely unaware that so many pensioners are living below the breadline.

Upon hearing 1.6 million pensioners are in poverty, a fifth of all respondents felt angry; a quarter felt worried; and a third reported feeling shocked – with this number rising to just under half (44%) of those aged 16-24.

Huge numbers of older people are missing out on benefits

Yet despite high numbers of pensioners in the UK struggling to survive below the poverty line, with nearly a million of those living in severe poverty, each year huge numbers of older people are missing out on as much as £5.5billion of crucial financial support. Some simply do not know that they could be entitled to extra income.

Others are acutely aware of the benefits available but feel too proud or embarrassed to put in a claim. Some have unsuccessfully tried before or have been put off by the claiming process which they feel is too complicated or intrusive.

If those eligible for Pension Credit made a claim, on average it could boost their budget by over £1700 a year – that’s an extra £33 a week to spend on essentials such as decent food, clothing, transport or heating.

Older people are not just missing out on income related benefits; many are also entitled to benefits linked to illness and disability. The increased spending pressures that disability brings, such as needing to take taxis and using more heating, can leave even those on decent incomes at risk of poverty and financial hardship.

Positive impact of claiming benefits

There can be no doubt that the positive impact of claiming benefits is huge. In a recent survey of those helped to claim their benefits by Age UK, two thirds (65%) said they are now better able to pay their bills as a result of claiming; well over half (53%) felt they now have enough money to live on; a third felt more prepared for the upcoming winter (30%); and almost one-fifth (16%) said they use the health service less than they did before.

The impact of the extra support on general wellbeing is also considerable with 70% reporting they feel less stressed and anxious; two-fifths (39%) feeling more independent and self-confident; and more than a quarter (28%) feeling less lonely and isolated and generally treated with more respect and dignity.

Age UK's call to action

With so many older people struggling to make ends meet yet missing out on vital benefits such as Pension Credit , Housing Benefit and Council Tax support, Age UK is calling on politicians and decision-makers to urgently prioritise tackling pensioner poverty and help those who desperately need it.

The charity is asking MPs to support the End Pensioner Poverty campaign and urge the Secretary of State, Iain Duncan Smith MP, to urgently develop a national pensioner poverty strategy.

Age UK is also calling on the Government to provide a national training programme for health professionals and local authority staff to help older people who might be eligible to claim benefits such as Attendance Allowance and Carer’s Allowance to help maximise their income.

Age UK's Charity Director's comments

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: "Every day we hear heart-warming stories which demonstrate the transformative impact of claiming benefits. People tell us constantly what a huge difference the extra money makes and how much less they now worry about the cost of everyday life.

"Yet it is nothing short of a scandal that there are still so many vulnerable older people in the UK living in poverty – unable to afford decent food, heat their home or live an independent life – when billions of pounds in benefits are unclaimed.

"Now is the time for a concerted effort to help the very poorest pensioners – strong social support, affordable essential services and access to good quality information and advice are essential. We urgently need a comprehensive national strategy which sets firm targets and workable solutions to end the scourge of pensioner poverty once and for all."

Find out more about Age UK's End Pensioner Poverty campaign (link opens in a new window)

Sources: Age UK press release: 9 in 10 think more should be done to help older people claim their benefits (link opens in a new window)

Use Turn2us resources to find out what help may be available to you

If you are an older person, you can use Turn2us tools and services to find out what money might be available to you.

Check your benefits

You can check your benefit entitlement using the Turn2us Benefits Calculator

Are you eligible for a charitable grant?

If you are on a low income, you may also be eligible for help from a charitable fund. Use the Turn2us Grants Search to find support based on your circumstances, background and needs.

Further information

You may also find the following information useful:

Also in the news

Benefits

Care

Child poverty

Disability

Poverty

Welfare trends

Date of publication: 17 October 2014

10/16/2014 9:39:44 AM

Shelter - Families’ health at risk as rogue landlords refuse repairs

Shelter news story: Families' health at risk as rogue landlords refuse repairs (link opens in a new window) 


More than 1 in 10 renting families have suffered health problems in the past year because of their landlords failing to deal with bad living conditions, research released today shows.

The YouGov survey of 4,500 private renters, commissioned by Shelter and British Gas, shows just how common these kinds of conditions are for renters – almost half said they’d lived somewhere with damp or mould in the past year.

Worse still, the study found that over 60,000 families were threatened with eviction in the past year, just for complaining about bad conditions in their homes.

Shelter's campaign to end 'revenge evictions'

The figures are released as part of Shelter’s campaign to end ‘revenge evictions’ by a small but dangerous minority of rogue landlords – a problem that’s especially worrying as more and more families are forced into private renting by high housing costs.

Shelter's Chief Executive's comments

Campbell Robb, Shelter's chief executive, said:

"Every day, we hear from parents up and down the country living in fear that damp or gas and electrical hazards are putting their children in danger, but feeling powerless to do anything about it. This has to stop.

"With a bill to end revenge evictions going through parliament next month, we now have a real chance to change the law and protect renting families. We're calling on people across the country to email their MPs and ask them to vote to end this unfair practice once and for all."

The Bill to end revenge evictions has cross-party support, and will come before parliament on the 28 November. Shelter is calling on people across the country to email their MP, asking them to go to parliament on the day of the vote to end revenge evictions for good.

Find out how you can participate in Shelter's 'Stop rogue evictions' campaign (link opens in a new window)

Source: Shelter news story: Families' health at risk as rogue landlords refuse repairs (link opens in a new window)

Also in the news

Bereavement

Carers

Disability

Employment

Food

Young people

Date of publication: 16 October 2013

10/15/2014 9:39:17 AM

Child Poverty figures show huge variations

Child Poverty Action Group press release about child poverty (link opens in a new window) 

One in every two children in the most socially deprived areas of the UK live in families struggling below the poverty line, according to new research that maps the extent of financial hardship in the UK. This has been produced by the End Child Poverty campaign, of which Turn2us is a member.

A quarter of all children in the UK live in poverty

A quarter of all children in the UK live in poverty once housing costs are taken into account, the research finds, although this figure rises above 40% in some of the most expensive parts of London.

In a handful of UK neighbourhoods, poverty is so concentrated that more than 50% of local children are classified as poor. Campaigners said the impact of austerity measures such as welfare spending cuts, coupled with low pay, meant it was increasingly unlikely that the government would meet its aim of tackling child poverty by 2020.

Highest poverty rates

London performs badly, with 10 of the top 20 constituencies with the highest poverty rates in the UK.

Nine of the 16 most deprived neighbourhoods, all of which have child poverty rates over 50%, are in the east London borough of Tower Hamlets, where the wards of Bethnal Green South and Bromley-by-Bow record rates of 54%.

The other areas of concentrated poverty are in Westminster, Oldham, Leeds, Middlesborough, Burnley, Pendle, East Lindsey in Lincolnshire, and Thanet in Kent.

Tower Hamlets overall has the highest child poverty levels in the UK, measured on a local authority basis. At 49%, these are substantially higher than Richmond-upon-Thames, at the other end of the capital’s poverty scale at 15%, and almost five times the 10% rate recorded in Wokingham, Berkshire, which boasts the UK's lowest levels of child poverty.

Seven of the 10 local authorities with the highest levels of child poverty in the UK are in London. The other three are Manchester, Birmingham and Leicester.

Comment from Chair of End Poverty Action Group

David Holmes, Chair of End Child Poverty, said: “These figures reveal just how widely and deeply child poverty reaches into our communities, even those areas generally regarded as well off. Far too many children whose parents are struggling to make a living are suffering as a result and missing out on the essentials of a decent childhood that all young people should be entitled to. We can and must do better for our children." 

Sources: Child Poverty Action Group press release about child poverty (link opens in a new window) and The Guardian news article: Child poverty levels in UK mapped out by new research (link opens in a new window)

Use Turn2us resources to find help

If you have a child and are struggling to make ends meet, use our Benefits Calculator to check your entitlement to benefits and our Grants Search database to see if you are eligible for help from a charitable fund, based on your personal background, circumstances and needs.

The Turn2us Information and Resources section contains resources on benefits, grants and managing money, including useful links sheets and a Find an Adviser tool to help you find national and local sources of further help.

This includes a Turn2us Childcare costs information section

The Turn2us Educational Costs information section has information about the financial help that is available for those in education, who is eligible, how much you can get and how to apply.

If you have dependent children 16 or under, see also the Turn2us Expecting or bringing up a child information section. If your children are 16-25, see also the Turn2us information section for Young people

Also in the news

Dementia

Older people

Date of publication: 15 October 2014

10/14/2014 11:38:35 AM

Participate in the Local Welfare Provision consultation

Participate in the Local Welfare Provision consultation (link opens in a new window)


 

The Government has launched a consultation on how local welfare provision should be funded in 2015 to 2016.

Three options are being considered:

  • Funding from within existing budgets, with no separately identified or ring-fenced funding
  • Separate visibility of local welfare provision
  • Reduce the Revenue Support Grant to fund a section 31 grant (local government grant).

You can also suggest an additional funding option if you wish.

The closing date for submissions is 21 November 2014

Participate in the Local Welfare Provision consultation (link opens in a new window)

Find out more about Local Welfare Provision

Source: Disability Rights UK news story (link opens in a new window)

Also in the news

Child poverty

Families

Debt

Health and Social Care

Universal Credit

Date of publication: 14 October 2014

10/14/2014 9:34:56 AM

Attend our Maidstone or Birmingham free intermediary workshops

Information about Turn2us regional workshops


 

Are you an intermediary working with people in financial need? Would you like to know how Turn2us tools can help you find the financial help available to your clients through benefits, grants and other help?

Spaces are still available on our free half-day intermediary workshops to be held in Maidstone and Birmingham on the afternoon of Friday 17 October. Both sessions are from 1.30 to 4.30 pm.

We are also holding a workshop at Eastbourne on Monday 20 October and have added a new date for morning and afternoon workshops in Derby on Tuesday 25 November.

To book a place or for more information, contact the Turn2us Training Co-ordinator at email: training@turn2us.org.uk.

Read more about Turn2us intermediary regional workshops

Date of publication: 14 October 2014

10/13/2014 11:09:00 AM

Start planning for Christmas

Money Advice Service Christmas Planner (link opens in a new window)


 

There are only 72 days until Christmas - an expensive time of the year, especially for people on low incomes. It's very easy to underestimate all the costs that come with the festive season.

Money Advice Service have an easy to use Christmas money planner that can help you set your budget and see what you expect to spend on everything from presents and food to decorating the tree,. This will help you to prepare for Christmas and avoid unexpected debts.

Use the Money Advice Service Christmas Planner (link opens in a new window)

Tips for saving money at Christmas

Discuss the costs of Christmas with your family and friends and agree a strategy.

This might include:

  • Deciding on a spending limit for presents
  • Buying presents from charity shops (agree a maximum price)
  • Having a ‘Secret Santa’ where each person pulls someone’s name out of a hat to buy a present for
  • Making handmade presents. Lots of the consumer, craft and women’s magazines contain ideas and patterns for these, especially at this time of year. The local library will have craft books and there are also many or the local library will have books. If you have computer access, there are many Internet sites as well that will give you ideas
  • Give gifts ‘in kind’. For example, you could give a busy parent so many hours of your time to look after their children so they can have a break
  • If you are sharing your Christmas with relatives or friends, divide up the costs of food and drink between you.  

Money Saving Expert, the consumer website run by financial journalist Martin Lewis has tips on saving money on Christmas (link opens in a new window)

Charitable funds and Christmas costs

Most charitable funds do not provide specific grants to help people on low incomes meet the costs of Christmas. However, some may consider applications of this nature, depending on your particular circumstances and background. Others might give grants to help with basic needs, which could free up some of your money to pay for Christmas expenses.

Use the Turn2us Grants Search to find charitable funds that you or your spouse/partner has a connection with. You can then contact them to find out what support they might be able to offer you. Please remember, however, that applications usually take some time to process and many receive an increase in requests for help in the months running up to Christmas.

Benefits

Check that you are receiving all the benefits and tax credits you are entitled to.  You can use the Turn2us Benefits Calculator to do this.

Also in the news

Carers

Child maintenance

Cornwall

Dementia

Low paid workers

Mental health

Older people

Date of publication: 13 October 2014

10/9/2014 2:20:45 PM

New research shows attitudes towards mental illness have improved

Turn2us Illness, Injury and Disability information

 

Friday 10 October is World Mental Health Day - a campaign that promotes public awareness of mental health issues.

A new survey from the Time to Change mental health campaign shows that attitudes towards mental illness have improved significantly with the biggest annual improvement in the last decade taking place in 2013. However, there is still more work to be done to end life-limiting stigma and discrimination.

National Attitudes to Mental Illness survey

The National Attitudes to Mental Illness survey was first conducted by TNS in 1993 and additional analysis by the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London has been carried out to measure overall levels of change each year since 2003.

The most recent data shows that since the beginning of the current programme of Time to Change (2011) an estimated two million people – or 4.8% of the population - have improved attitudes towards people with a mental illness. It also shows that there was a 2.8% improvement in attitudes between 2012 and 2013 – the biggest annual shift in the last decade. While direct comparisons can’t be made before 2003, it also likely that this is the biggest annual improvement since the first survey was commissioned 20 years ago.

As part of the survey a number of statements are asked to gauge how the general public think about the one in four people who have a mental illness. It also asks about intended behaviour and this year there was a marked increase in the following:

  • A 6% rise in willingness to “continue a relationship with a friend with a mental health problem” (82% to 88%).
  • A 7% rise in willingness to “work with someone with a mental health problem” (69% to 76%).
  • A 5% rise in willingness to “live nearby to someone with a mental health problem” (72% to 77%).
  • A 5% rise in willingness to “live with someone with a mental health problem” (57% to 62%).

The report shows that more people than ever before are acknowledging that they know someone with a mental health problem (64% in 2013 compared with 58% in 2009).

However, despite these improvements attitudes around employment are lagging behind and nearly half (49%) of respondents said they would feel uncomfortable talking to an employer about their own mental health.

Turn2us resources

We know that many Turn2us users experience mental health issues, either through illness or because of financial worries.

Previous Time to Change research showed that money scored second highest from a list of subjects that people feel the most uncomfortable talking about.

If you have a mental illness and are struggling to make ends meet, use our Benefits Calculator to check your entitlement to benefits and our Grants Search to see if you are eligible for help from a charitable fund, based on your personal background, circumstances and needs.

Our Turn2us Information and Resources section contains resources on benefits, grants and managing money, including useful links sheets and a Find an Adviser tool to help you find national and local sources of further help. This includes information for people who are experiencing illness, injury or disability.

General and emotional support is also available from many organisations. See our Useful Links: Emotional and relationship support and Useful Links: Specific Health Conditions: Mental health.

Sources: Time to Change press release: Survey shows greatest improvement in public attitudes to mental health in a decade (link opens in a new window) 

Date of publication: 9 October 2014

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