Hardship payments for homeless/Mental health problems
Other than the announcement in November 16 that homeless people and those with mental health problems would be added to the list of the vulnerable for hardship payments when sanctioned, has any further information been released? Has this change already been implemented? I’ve been scouring the net, but cant find any further info.
I’m also looking into this.
Latest revision of the JSA regs I can find is September 2016: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1996/207/pdfs/uksi_19960207_300916_en.pdf
Statement regarding adding homeless and mentally ill claimants to vulnerable groups was made in November 2016: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/homelessness-and-mental-health-conditions-to-be-supported-by-hardship-fund
Do update this thread if you’ve spotted the relevant update!
I’ve had a good look but not found anything…I will put a query in via stakeholders as well just in case any news that way…
Am I right in thinking that this still hasn’t been introduced? Will be interesting to see whether this is introduced after the election
Pretty certain it hasn’t - press release does say 2017/2018 so guess there has been opportunity yet and now, as you say, we will have to wait for the next government…
DWP has announced that regulations are being laid today to commence in October….
That link contains the following statement: “Immediate access to hardship payments is already available to people receiving Universal Credit who have received a sanction.”
I’m not sure if I agree that people with mental health problems or affected by homelessness will find it that easy to access immediate hardship payments in practice due to the requirement to have met all the work-related requirements in force in the seven days before applying. There’s no specific exemption to say that this condition should be waived for UC claimants affected by homelessness or mental health problems.
UC claimants affected by mental health problems may be able to make use of the UC rules on temporary periods of sickness (though would you be able to retrospectively ‘self-declare’ illness for the previous 7 days?). However, I doubt that many people on UC with MH problems would know that this might be possible.
I can’t see that there is any specific exemption from Work Related Requirements for people affected by homelessness and there may be many people in this situation who wouldn’t be able to make use of the temporary sickness periods to avoid the work related requirements which applied to them over the previous 7 days. It would be possible for them to ask for an adjustment to their claimant commitment (could they do this retrospectively to cover the previous 7 days?) but, again, I doubt that many people will know this is possible.
Have I missed anything here? Isn’t this likely to continue to be a problem with sanctioned UC claimants affected by MH problems and homelessness?
I guess the person could have been ‘compliant’ for the 7 days before the sanction is due to be imposed, and because of the decision making process, the period of non-compliance to which the sanction relates is an earlier period?
Someone recnetly told me that the hardship payment process involves asking the workcoach for the form, going away and filling it in and separately telphoning UC to ask for a hardship appointment, which might be in a few days or might be over a week depending on availability, then after the appt waiting for a ‘decision’ on hardship to come by telephone in 48hrs, then chasing this up if it doesnt come, then waiting for payment in bank.
It hardly constitutes immediate access to a payment.
Is this common experience of process?
Interesting that regs talk about hardship payments for people with long term ‘mental impairment’ rather than mental health condition more broadly.