Food Banks Referrals
Advisers often have to refer clients to food banks because their benefits have stopped due to administrative problems
A Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) claimant contacted Advice NI in a state of distress after receiving a letter dated Friday 29th May which arrived on Saturday 30th May stating that his JSA was not payable from 30th May to 12th June. The claimant said that he was anxious all weekend, that he remembered a mix-up regarding a single Steps to Success appointment in February, that he thought that his explanation had been accepted and that he did not know how he would survive as he had no money and no savings.
Housing Benefit Suspension
The claimant then received a letter dated Friday 5th June which arrived on Saturday 6th June stating that his Housing Benefit was suspended because "your entitlement to JSA is due to end on the 12/6/15”. The JSA claimant described his life as being “in tatters and I now live in constant fear of what will happen next”.
Advice NI was able to intervene on behalf of the claimant; we were able to demonstrate ‘good cause’ and so overturn both the JSA and HB decisions. Advice NI also produced a Social Policy briefing paper on the issue of sanctions in Northern Ireland.