Advice: How will welfare reforms affect me?

Pat Hutchinson MBE.
Pat Hutchinson MBE.

By Pat Hutchinson MBE, District Manager, Newtownabbey CAB

Q: I am a 34-year-old who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis and I am in receipt of DLA middle care and high mobility and Employment and Support Allowance. I live alone and receive full housing benefit for a two bedroom Housing Executive apartment and I am concerned about the forthcoming changes to welfare; how will they affect me?

A: If an agreement on welfare reform goes ahead these are the proposed changes under the Stormont Castle Agreement and the funding mitigations.

• Disability Living Allowance clients

“For disabled people, a disability protection scheme is proposed to help them to transition from disability living allowance (DLA) to the new personal independence payment (PIP). This will provide for a payment equivalent to up to one year’s full DLA payment for people who are unsuccessful in claiming PIP and it will also guarantee claimants who will receive less under PIP 75 per cent of the shortfall for up to four years. The scheme will also offer victims and survivors who do not qualify for PIP the opportunity to make a claim for a similar payment.”

• Housing Benefit clients and the impact of the Bedroom Tax

“For people who might be impacted by the bedroom tax, now or in the future, there will be full protection from any cuts in housing benefit.”

• Universal Credit

“For all working-age families receiving universal credit, there will be flexibility in how frequently they receive their benefit and in making direct payments to social landlords. They will also ensure that universal credit payments are made to the main carer in cases where there is concern about the impact of single payments to households.”

• Universal Credit and Transitional Protection

“A package of transitional protection will ensure that there are no cash losers as a direct result of the managed migration to universal credit where claimants’ circumstances remain the same.”

• Get free, confidential and independent advice from your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau, log on to www.adviceguide.org.uk or call at Newtownabbey Citizens Advice Bureau, Dunanney Centre, Rathcoole. Telephone advice is available 9am - 4pm each day on 028 9085 2271 (Lunch 1:00 - 1:30pm). Email advice is available by contacting enewtownabbey@citizensadvice.co.uk