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Welfare Rights In Reach Project
The project will provide appointments for 150 clients to have welfare rights advice at the centre from a specialist welfare rights worker from the local Law Centre through a weekly inreach surgery. It will also have a disability rights element around Pip, ESA etc.
The project will deliver the following:
- Ensure clients receive face to face advice from a specialist welfare rights adviser (approx. 150 clients)
- Advice on hardship payments, entitlements and easements for homeless people around universal credit
- Maximise incomes and identify underclaiming
- Appeal sanctions, and undertake mandatory reconsiderations
- Identify entitlements for EEA nationals and support clients to pursue claims
- Identify entitlement to disability benefits and support
- Signpost to other relevant legal advice eg Care Act, immigration etc
- Independent advice on benefit implications and entitlements re return to work
- Advice on HB entitlement in arrears and NSP cases to help prevent eviction.
This has been piloted before with huge success. For example, the adviser prevented 7 Irish nationals from being made street homeless as the DWP had misadvised them they had to satisfy the habitual residence test and would not receive benefits for 3 months which was incorrect.
The pilot also achieved a £10k backdate for a homeless person who had to be supported to put in 2 appeals to the DWP to get income reinstated and had been destitute for 3 years.
The pilot has also supported people to obtain PIP.
The adviser also acts as a resource to other support workers to advise them on strategy for other cases.
Success will be measured through output data eg clients seen / issues supported and outcomes eg income maximisation figures / case studies / feedback.