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general education

 

davidsmithp1000
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Brighton Unemployed Centre Families Project

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Hi, I’m a member of several Facebook groups; UC, ESA, PIP,

It’s difficult to see so many people struggle in the dark, limited knowledge and mixed messages ...

Can someone point me in the direction, or know there of; of a general education resource on UK benefits? Something that can do the groundwork for laymen, and at least give them a chance.

I know there’s a fair amount of this out there, but would be interesting to hear peoples opinions.

Thanks

     
Mike Hughes
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Senior Welfare Rights Officer (Take-Up), Salford WRS.

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Hiding to nothing on Facebook I’m afraid. It’s a fine example of where peer knowledge trumps experts every time. I used to run the GMWRAG Facebook page and you could repeatedly point people to sensible resources like Benefits and Work or Age UK and then a parent of a disabled child would come along and announce something completely random; hopelessly inaccurate and often positively dangerous and down would rain the praise and thanks.

Managed to get us banned from one of the ESA groups for persisting in posting facts as opposed to some of the appalling advice provided by certain agencies. Don’t even start me on the concept, almost unique to Facebook, of a “benefits lawyer” i.e. someone who has a law degree but who never qualified as a solicitor.

Best approach for me was to direct people to free advice in their local area and emphasise repeatedly that it was free; the importance of expert advice and the impact of representation. Essentially though you’re operating in the wild west.

Granted there are individuals with whom a sane conversation can be had but sanity only tends to appear after an explosive rant from one poster or another about how they were definitely advised this or how advice is definitely wrong because a man in a pub who used to work for DWP told them so etc.

Just needed to offload that on a Monday morning smile

     
Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Information and Advice Resources, Age UK

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Advice Now is probably one of the best general websites for benefits information for members of the public.

     
chacha
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Benefits Dept Hertsmere borough Council Herts

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Mike Hughes - 07 August 2017 09:19 AM

Hiding to nothing on Facebook I’m afraid. It’s a fine example of where peer knowledge trumps experts every time. I used to run the GMWRAG Facebook page and you could repeatedly point people to sensible resources like Benefits and Work or Age UK and then a parent of a disabled child would come along and announce something completely random; hopelessly inaccurate and often positively dangerous and down would rain the praise and thanks.

Managed to get us banned from one of the ESA groups for persisting in posting facts as opposed to some of the appalling advice provided by certain agencies. Don’t even start me on the concept, almost unique to Facebook, of a “benefits lawyer” i.e. someone who has a law degree but who never qualified as a solicitor.

Best approach for me was to direct people to free advice in their local area and emphasise repeatedly that it was free; the importance of expert advice and the impact of representation. Essentially though you’re operating in the wild west.

Granted there are individuals with whom a sane conversation can be had but sanity only tends to appear after an explosive rant from one poster or another about how they were definitely advised this or how advice is definitely wrong because a man in a pub who used to work for DWP told them so etc.

Just needed to offload that on a Monday morning :)

I know the feeling!! I promise you.

     
chacha
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Benefits Dept Hertsmere borough Council Herts

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Paul_Treloar_AgeUK - 07 August 2017 09:59 AM

Advice Now is probably one of the best general websites for benefits information for members of the public.

@ davidsmithp1000, I think Paul’s link is a good starting point, obviously if you have/give a bit more on the query there are loads of people that will be more than able to assist.

     
Gareth Morgan
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The problem is that people tend not to actually want accurate information, they want to be told that what they want to believe is true.  It’s why advice shopping is so common - people will go from agency to agency looking for the answer they want.

     
John Birks
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Welfare Rights and Debt Advice, Stockport Council

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Gareth Morgan - 07 August 2017 01:20 PM

The problem is that people tend not to actually want accurate information, they want to be told that what they want to believe is true.  It’s why advice shopping is so common - people will go from agency to agency looking for the answer they want.

In short, people don’t want a ‘general education.’

I concur.

     
Mike Hughes
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You mean my “General Studies” certificates are worthless? Pah!

I’m sure I can find someone on Facebook to sell me a better qualification.

     
John Birks
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Welfare Rights and Debt Advice, Stockport Council

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Try alibaba.

Everything is for sale

https://www.alibaba.com/showroom/degree-certificate-printing.html

     
Gareth Morgan
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I could be tempted by a Nobel Prize certificate, or even a mug.

     
Mike Hughes
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I fear I may have steered us slightly off topic. I do apologise.

     
Surrey Adviser
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Personally I think a good subject for discussion would be “Does Facebook (or any other social media for that matter) do more harm to society than it does good?”

Nothing to do with Rightsnet of course!  Just takes it even further off topic.

     
MartinB
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It makes sense to shop around….......for advice like anything else. 

Good advice is only good advice until better advice becomes available.

The correct approach is to seek advice from an agency dont ignore it, write it down understand it…..  you then shop around from other agencies. you must stop shopping at the point you find a agency that is confident it can offer better advice than the first. 

The really problematic service users are those that believe no advice or support workers can help their situation…..wish I had a few more shoppers!