Friday, December 13, 2019

Election 2019: Charities urge changes to Universal Credit and PIP process after Tory win

The Conservative Party scooped 364 seats in the General Election, having needed 326 for a majority. While one final seat is yet to be announced, other seats included 203 for the Labour Party and 48 for the Scottish National Party. Today, Boris Johnson has made a visit to Buckingham Palace in order to meet with the Queen, where she will invite him to form a new government.

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  • Universal Credit & Child Benefit date changes: When to expect payment

Following the results, some charities have urged the government to take action on certain matters.

This includes the five-week waiting period for the first Universal Credit payment.

This is made up of a one-month assessment period and up to seven days for the payment to reach the eligible claimant’s account.

During this time, it may be possible to apply for an advance payment, however this is a loan which must be paid back.

According to the Trussell Trust, one of the key issues people at food banks face is the five-week wait for a first Universal Credit payment.

Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust said: “The Conservative party manifesto for this election promised, ‘We will do more to make universal credit work’.

“Just last week on the campaign trail, Boris Johnson said helping people with the cost of living is ‘an absolute crusade’ for him personally.

“It is crucial these words are acted on. We know what hasn’t been working as it should, and we know what needs to change.

“We must start putting money back into the pockets of people who most need support, by ending the five week wait for Universal Credit, ensuring benefit payments cover the cost of living and investing in local emergency support for people in crisis.

“It’s in our power as a country to end the need for food banks. But if we’re to get there, we need our new government to act.

“We’re ready to share evidence from our network of food banks across the UK, and we’d encourage any new MPs to speak to their local food bank about why people are being referred for emergency food.

“It’s not right that anyone should have to turn to charity for the basics – this can change.”

Meanwhile, the MS Society urged change to the claim process for the Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

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  • Low income families choosing between heating & food this winter

PIP is a payment which can help a person with some of the extra costs if they have a long term ill-health or disability.

Gov.uk states that Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is being replaced by Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for disabled people.

Now, a person can only apply for DLA if they’re under 16, with others needing to apply for PIP or Attendance Allowance if they have reached state pension age and do not get DLA.

Today, Georgina Carr, Head of Campaigns and External Relations at the MS Society, said: “When Boris Johnson first entered no.10 back in July, he claimed he would fix the social care system once and for all.

“We have seen little progress, but he and the new UK government now have an opportunity to change that.

“More than 100,000 people live with MS in the UK and, in just the last month, over 20,000 called on the new PM to change the humiliating process of claiming PIP.

“How we support disabled people is a barometer for society, and the lack of support available through disability benefits and social care has left thousands locked out of work and unable to leave their homes.

“We hope to work closely with the Conservative party to tackle these failures, because people with MS can’t wait any longer.”

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