Hello – I’m Jayne Knights and I’m an independent welfare rights trainer and consultant.
Welfare reform is still high on the Government’s agenda and Iain Duncan Smith’s successor, Stephen Crabb, is committed to the successful roll-out of Universal Credit, having pledged millions of pounds to its implementation. Even if not everything goes to plan, we are looking at several years of change and uncertainty, involving a two-tier benefit system as growing numbers of people move to the new style system. Staff working with people on benefits and low incomes will need to be confident that they can:
- provide timely and accurate advice
- signpost people to the benefits they are entitled to
- maximise incomes for those in poverty
- help those who are struggling with the system
With more than 25 years of experience, I offer highly informative, relevant and engaging welfare rights courses that help staff understand the benefit system and empower them to help their clients.
Now that welfare benefits are set to change so substantially it’s time to prepare your colleagues for what lies ahead and to ensure that everyone is up to date with what’s happening particularly regarding:
- Housing issues, especially ‘bedroom tax’ and the legal challenges to it, Council Tax reform and Local Housing Allowance changes
- Local welfare schemes and their possible abolition
- The ‘new’ Personal Independence Payment and other important issues for disabled people
Universal Credit is also on its way. We have an accelerated growth of Universal Credit areas and claimant groups. It’s vital to know how Universal Credit will operate now and in the future. As you probably know, the principle of Universal Credit is to amalgamate most of the current ‘means-tested’ benefits currently available to working-age people (including single people and disabled people) into one flexible benefit, which covers all the family’s needs, including rent, mortgage payments and childcare costs. The amount of Universal Credit is reduced as income rises, and benefit is paid monthly in arrears.
The effect of change, especially on existing claimants, cannot be overstated, and your clients will need your help. Follow this link for ideas on how I can help you organise your Universal Credit preparation.