This page tells you what you need to know about welfare reform and how it might affect you.
The information is available in alternative formats and languages. Please let us know what you need: Phone (0141) 287 8732 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
We want to help you claim any benefits you may be entitled to, avoid penalties and sanctions, and get further advice and help.
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Click on any of the blue headings for more information.
- Universal Credit and Jobseeker's Allowance - These two benefits are for claimants fit and available for work. New, single claimants will claim Universal Credit
- Sanctions- You should appeal all Benefit sanctions as most decisions are overturned
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) - While in the 'Support Group' you don't need to take part in any job-seeking activities. If you think you're in the "Work-Related Activity Group" by mistake, you should appeal
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP) - People under 65 are being re-assessed and moved from DLA to PIP
- Housing Benefit / Bedroom Tax - The bedroom tax doesn't apply to you if you're old enough to receive pension credits. Everyone affected should appeal the bedroom Tax decisions and should consider applying for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP). For more information phone 0141 287 5050
- Council Tax Reduction - This has replaced Council Tax Benefit. To report changes in circumstances or to claim phone 0141 287 5050
- Reconsideration and Appeals - You have to ask the DWP or HMRC for a reconsideration before you can appeal most decisions about your benefits / tax credits
- Debt and Money Problems - If you're struggling to pay your bills, you can contact Glasgow Advice and Information Network (GAIN) for free advice on 0800 801 1011
- Credit unions - Go to a credit union to avoid payday loans and other expensive forms of credit
- Disability - If you have a disability, you can claim Attendance Allowance (AA), or the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP). You can still claim DLA for children with a disability who are under 16
Contact Glasgow's Advice and Information Network (GAIN) for free and confidential advice on 0808 801 1011. Mon-Fri 10-8pm, Sat 10-2pm. Some mobiles may charge.
The information above has been printed as postcards and the information below as a pocket guide. We will be putting copies of these in Glasgow Libraries, doctors' surgeries, social work offices, and other places you might go. Click the links below for versions that will work on your printer.
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Universal Credit (UC) and Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
- UC was introduced in Glasgow from June 2015 for new, single claimants, fit and available for work (it replaces Jobseekers's Allowance and Housing Benefit for this group)
- You won't be paid UC until after a month long assessment. Request an advance payment from the DWP if you need it
- For both UC and JSA you'll be expected to take part in work programmes or work related activities
- If you don't attend interviews or appointments or don't comply with your claimant commitment you can be sanctioned or lose your entitlement
- For Lone Parents there are special rules about being available for work. Call the free lone parent helpline on 0808 801 0323
- If you have been asked to consider volunteering as part of your claimant commitment, you can get independent guidance from Volunteer Glasgow (0141 226 3431) or email volunteerglasgow.org
- You should appeal all benefit sanctions as most decisions are overturned
- Sanctions can increase each time and you could lose benefit for up to 3 years
- If you're sanctioned you can get money from DWP hardship payments on 0345 608 8545 and Scottish Welfare Fund crisis grants on 0141 276 1177
- For Universal Credit claimants, hardship payments are repayable loans
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Claim ESA if you can't work because of your health
- If you're put in the Work-Related Activities Group (WRAG) you must attend all interviews and medicals or your benefit could be stopped
- If you're put in the Support Group you don't need to look for work
- If your health gets worse you should seek further medical evidence and submit this to the DWP
- If refused ESA ask the Department for Work & Pensions for a reconsideration. If you're still not happy - appeal [76kb]
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- PIP is a benefit for people aged 16 to 64 with a long-term health condition or disability
- PIP takes account of your need for help looking after yourself and getting around. You can get it whether you are in or out of work
- People over the age of 16 are being moved from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to PIP in Glasgow. You will get a letter from the DWP asking if you want to transfer to PIP. Your DLA will be suspended after 4 weeks and will be stopped if you don't reply within 8 weeks
- You will be asked to attend an assessment with a private provider on behalf of the DWP
- You will not be expected to travel for more that 90 minutes by public transport to reach the assessment. If you are given an assessment that does not comply with this, request a change of venue. You and a person attending with you will be paid back your travel expenses.
- Home visits are available if necessary due to your health
- You are entitled to take someone along with you, this could be a family member, carer or another person for support
Housing Benefit and Bedroom Tax
- Even if you're working you could be entitled to Housing Benefit (HB)
- Bedroom tax is still in place. This means you may lose some Housing Benefit if you're treated as having a 'spare' room in your house
- You may lose some Housing Benefit if you have a 'non-dependant' living at home
- You'll not be affected by the bedroom tax if you or your partner are old enough to get pension credits
- You should seek further advice if your 'spare' room is used by someone who has a health problem
- If you receive HB but it doesn't cover your full rent, make a claim for Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP). Phone 0141 287 5050 or contact your local housing office
- If you're refused HB you should appeal the decision. You can't appeal a DHP decision but you can ask for it to be reconsidered
- DHP is paid for a limited period. After this you can reapply
Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTR)
- You can claim Council Tax Reduction (CTR) to help with the cost of your Council Tax
- If you can't pay your council tax bill, you could get a reduction on your bill
- Council Tax Reduction (CTR) is not a benefit or Tax Credit
- The rules are similar to Council Tax Benefit
- Council Tax Reduction is means-tested
- If you get a means-tested benefit you will get maximum help with Council Tax Reduction.
- If you live alone you can get a single person's discount
- You can get a discount for severe mental impairment e.g. degenerative brain disease, a stroke, learning disability or severe mental illness
- If you're refused a Council Tax Reduction you can request a review and then take this to the Council Tax Review Panel
Reconsiderations and appeals
- You're entitled to appeal Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefit and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) tax credit decisions you're not happy with.
- Ask the DWP or HMRC for a 'mandatory reconsideration'
- Receive a decision from DWP or HMRC called a 'mandatory reconsideration notice'
- You can appeal if you're not happy with it by: submitting a benefit appeal letter to the Tribunal Service
- Approaching Social Work Services phone 0141 287 8732 or email email@example.com, GAIN or a local advice agency for advice and representation
Debt and money problems
- If you have money worries you should seek advice as soon as possible
- Lots of people have debt because of unemployment or illness or separation. The earlier you get in touch the easier it is to deal with
- You can get more information or support with claim forms
- Contact the GAIN Helpline free on 0808 801 1011. Mon - Fri 10am to 8pm, Sat 10am to 2pm
- They can give you advice over the phone or help you arrange an appointment with your nearest advice centre
- You can also look on their website for further information at the GAIN web site
- For your first appointment please bring along identification and any recent letters or decisions
- If you have no money to live on please contact GAIN or your local advice agency immediately
This information is available in alternative formats and languages. Please let us know what you need: Phone (0141) 287 8732 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This information has been produced by Glasgow Poverty Leadership Panel - working to address poverty in the city.