Welfare Benefits

Friday 24 September 2010

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In a press release dated 22 April 2015, the Trussell Trust reported that:

  • 97 per cent of foodbank managers reported that administrative delays in paying benefits were a significant factor in driving demand; 91 per cent cited benefit sanctions; and 84 per cent identified ‘stoppage’ of ESA;
  • ‘low income’ referrals have grown from 20 percent in 2013/2014 to 22 percent of all referrals in 2014/2015 with foodbank managers reporting that clients who are in work are struggling with insecure work, low wages and high living costs; and
  • of the 1,084,604 food parcels, 396,997 went to households with children.

Foodbank use tops one million for first timeis available from the Trussell Trust website.

In 'Austerity, sanctions, and the rise of food banks in the UK', published 9 April 2015, the academics set out the results of research into whether the rise in emergency food assistance is linked to economic hardship, austerity measures, and sanctioning or whether it is a result of food charities creating their own demand.

The British Medical Journal article Austerity, sanctions, and the rise of food banks in the UK published 9 April 2014 is available from bmj.com See also Study: 'Clear evidence' links welfare cuts and food banks on the ITV news website

In NMcM v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (DLA) (DLA, AA, MA: general: severe mental disablement) [2014] UKUT 312 (AAC) (N. Wikeley) the Upper Tribunal held that previous case law (R(DLA) 2/96) which held that person cannot qualify for higher rate mobility component of DLA on grounds of severe mental impairment on basis of brain injury after the age of 30 is no longer good law. The claimant aged 48 was involved in a near fatal road traffic accident in 1998 when he was aged 32. He was in hospital for 6 months after sustaining very severe head injuries. This left him with permanent severe brain damage causing chronic confusion, cognitive impairment, no short-term memory and severe mood swings, requiring continuous care and supervision provided by his parents. The DWP and the First-tier Tribunal refused a claim for DLA on the basis that R(DLA) 2/96 had long been accepted as authority for the proposition that the human brain is fully developed before the age of 30 and that a person cannot, therefore, suffer from a state of arrested development or incomplete development of the brain if that condition first occurs after the age of 30 (e.g. as a result of traumatic brain injury or dementia).

Based on new expert evidence, the Judge held that the propositions set out in R(DLA) 2/96 to the effect that the brain attained full development before the age of 30 and that the acquisition of new skills by adults involved the exercise of the functions of the brain rather than its further development, were no longer valid and should no longer be followed to deny entitlement to the higher rate mobility component to claimants who first suffered brain injury after the age of 30. The new expert evidence established that ‘white matter’ in the brain continued to increase until some point in the 30’s or 40’s and that there was no age limit to the brain’s ‘experience-dependant plasticity’. Click here for transcript.

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