Legal challenge to inequality for ‘legacy benefits’

This may apply to you if you are getting ESA or JSA or have been during the pandemic – since March 2020.

We will be keeping an eye on the outcomes and sharing information as we get it.

DWP court battle means millions could get £1,000 benefits back pay.:
People on older ‘legacy benefits’ could be in line for a payout as the Government faces a court benefits battle.
The legal fight centres on the £20 a week uplift given to people on Universal Credit at the start of the pandemic, The Mirror reports.
The payment didn’t go to those on older benefits, like employment support allowance (ESA), income support, and jobseekers’ allowance (JSA).
Many of those still claiming the older benefits are disabled, sick, or carers. According to Disability Rights UK, over 1.9million disabled people are still claiming ESA payments.
And this week, two recipients of ESA challenged this decision at the High Court for judicial review.
They argued it was discriminatory and unjustified to exclude people from higher payments just because their benefits were administered under an old system. On Thursday, the High Court agreed the issue could be arguably unlawful and will decide the case later this year.
The claimants have asked for the trial to be heard before the end of July 2021.
William Ford, of Osbornes Law, which is representing the claimants, said: “We are pursuing this legal challenge based on the proposition that the pandemic means those dependent upon basic allowances are facing higher basic living costs, and yet despite their very similar circumstances, only some of them receive a Covid-specific uplift to help meet those costs.
“This unfairness calls for a properly evidenced justification, particularly as almost 2 million disabled people are disproportionately affected by this decision and the pandemic generally. Thus far the Government has failed to provide any objectively verifiable reason for the difference in treatment of people in essentially identical circumstances.”
A DWP Spokesperson told The Mirror: “It has always been the case that claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for Universal Credit if they believe that they will be better off.”
Helen Barnard of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said “everyone should have access to a strong social security system that protects them from harm when they are struggling to stay afloat.”
She added: “Disabled people and carers already face a greater risk of poverty, so there can be no justification for offering them less support than people claiming Universal Credit simply because they are in a different part of the system.
“Discrimination has no place in our social security system and every day we fail to act undermines public trust and intensifies hardship. Ministers must right this injustice by urgently extending the £20 increase to legacy benefits.

Protect yourself from online scams with a personalised action plan

There’s been a rise in online scams over the last year and research by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – a part of GCHQ – suggests 81% of Britons fear themselves, friends or family falling victim to cyber crime.

In response to this, the UK’s cyber security agency has launched a free tool providing people with bespoke advice on how to better protect themselves from online threats.

The service allows users to complete a short survey about their IT habits which will generate a personalised list of recommendations, as part of the government’s Cyber Aware campaign.

Create your action plan here https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/cyberaware/actionplan

Or more general advice and tips https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/cyberaware

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Watch Leeds City Council Budget debate live on YouTube

You can watch the full council debate on the 2021/22 budget on YouTube on Wednesday 24th February at 1pm, if you want to hear about the spending plans for the next year and how they are being decided.

https://www.youtube.com/user/Leedscouncil

There have been some tough financial decisions to be made as the council faced a huge deficit and there was a public consultation at the end of last year about what should be the priorities.  The budget then went to Executive Board before coming up for debate at full council tomorrow.  There is more background detail here: https://news.leeds.gov.uk/news/council-presents-balanced-budget-despite-facing-substantial-deficit

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Keeping Warm – And Saving Money

The temperatures have plummmeted this week so we hope you are all keeping warm.  We would like to share with you this home energy checklist from NEA – Action for Warm Homes.

This guide has lots of helpful information and tips about keeping your warm and managing your energy bills.

Your-Energy-Checklist-January-2019-PRINT

Lots of other useful information can be found on the NEA website: https://www.nea.org.uk/advice/

You can also call Caring Together to talk about any issues around keeping your warm or your energy bills and we will do our best to help.

Leeds City Council Budget Consultation 2021-22

As the council considers its budget for the coming year, residents from across Leeds are encouraged to help inform how essential services continue to be delivered.
Launched today, this year’s budget consultation focuses on both our Covid-19 recovery and the challenges our city faces.
Highlighting proposals for spending and making savings in 2021/22, you can have your say with our short online survey and learn more about the council’s current financial position.
Your views will then help make sure the final budget is set in the best interests of the city and its residents.
The budget consultation runs until 13 January.
Find out more about the proposals and help shape the budget plans for the next year at: http://orlo.uk/7JLjV
Leeds Bridge - by Illiya Vjestica - Unsplash

“Councillors will see the results of this consultation before they make a final decision on the budget in February 2021. Your views will help to make sure the final decision is in the best interests of the city and its residents. To help you consider your responses we will provide a summary of the key points from our proposed budget throughout the survey. If you’d prefer to look at the Proposed Budget in full, you can read this in our 16th December Executive Board Agenda here at Item 6.Like many councils across the UK, Leeds faces significant challenges with next year’s budget. This is due to the impact of COVID-19 and reduced funding from central government.

By law we have to address the £119 million gap we have estimated in the budget for the next financial year (2021 to 2022), so we have developed a series of savings proposals that our Executive Board has been considering at its monthly meetings since September 2020.

We must look again at how Leeds City Council delivers services to residents, and we want these decisions to be informed by your views and opinions.

We also want to hear how you’re coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, to better understand the concerns of Leeds residents and the people who work in and visit the city.

The survey should take you 10-15 minutes to complete. Thank you for taking part. Your views are very important to us and by participating you’ll help shape Leeds services in the future.  Please complete the survey before 13 January 2021.”

Prescription deliveries – information and a scam warning

If you need to have your prescription medication delivered a lot of pharmacies will do this for free but a few of them have started to make a charge for this service.  So, if you are paying for presciption deliveries, it might be worth speaking to a different pharmacy to see if you can your medicine delivered free of charge.

There is an national volunteers service that patients can call if they have problems collecting prescriptions.  This is not usually available same day but could be useful if your presciption is not urgent.  The number is 0808 1963 646. Or Caring Together members could call us and we may be able to help.

Finally, there is a scam that currently happening around this issue.  Scammers are contacting patients directly to tell them the government and local pharmacies have now started charging for prescription deliveries and they are taking payments over the phone.  Pharmacies will never contact patients in this way so please do not give out any payment information – and speak to your pharmacy (making sure you are using the correct number, not one given to you by someone who contacts you).

Money Buddy services

Money Buddy services staff can help with Benefit see below the last sessions this year which are on

Monday 14 and 21 Dec from 9 to 12 at HEART – Headingley Enterprise and Arts Centre, LS6 3HN
Tuesday 15 and 22 Dec from 9 to 12 at Meanwood Community Centre, LS7 2QU
Thursday 17 Dec from 10 to 4 at St Paul’s Church, Ireland Wood, Leeds, Raynel Dr, LS16 6BS
Thursday 24 Dec at Welcome In Community Centre & Cafe, LS16 6DJ


Please feel free to book a slot or just drop in for advice.
If you want to book an appointment contact us on 0113 2350276 or by email to admin@egac.org
or via www.moneybuddies.org.uk/client-referral/

 

Image may contain: text that says "benefitbuddies Not sure what benefits you can claim? YOU ARE NOT ALONE Speak to a benefit buddy near you We support clients all across Leeds We don't charge, We don't tell, We don't judge Call us on: 0113 235 0276 moneybuddies.org.uk benefit buddies can help you Check your Entitlements Complete Benefit Forms With Assessments and Appeals With Support at DWP meetings"

Covid Scam Alert – Christmas Edition

The latest Monthly alert outlines trending fraud patterns during the current COVID-19 pandemic and what we can do to stay protected. There have been further reports of scams, doorstep Crime and business complaints all relating to the COVID-19 pandemic here in West Yorkshire.

This news alert will give you an indication of the current situation here in West Yorkshire.

This edition also includes Christmas Shopping tips and advice to help you keep safe from seasonal scams

covid19 scam alert issue 21

‘Big Energy Saving Winter Event’ Thursday 26th November 2020 @11am

Worried about energy bills this winter? Green Doctors are here to help!
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This is a free service aiming to tackle fuel poverty & promote affordable warmth by advising households on ways to reduce energy costs (Provided by Groundwork Yorkshire). They have helped many people save over £300 per year on their energy costs.
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They also help you to ensure house repairs are undertaken and provide advice on various benefits, all for free.
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Call 0113 238 0601 to speak to a member of their team

You can learn more about energy saving tips for yourself by joining the: ‘Big Energy Saving’ Event

This is a UK-wide campaign delivered by Citizens Advice, Energy Saving Trust and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) that aims to help you cut your energy bills and access financial support you may be entitled to.

The impact of Covid-19 on energy usage over the coming months is expected to be greater than ever, and energy bills are a big worry for many this winter. Green Doctors are a team of expert energy advisers offering free support to vulnerable residents all year round to help them get on top of energy debt, switch provider, access grants and manage their energy use in the home.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/big-energy-saving-winter-tickets-127303204311?aff=erelexpmlt

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