Category Archives: links

25 Twitter accounts to follow in 2014 on welfare reform – numbers 11-25

We’ve compiled a list of 25 useful Twitter accounts if you want to follow welfare reform. Yesterday we revealed the first 10 – here are the other 15…

11.Samuel Miller @Hephaestus7

Disability specialist Samuel Miller is taking the government to court in The Hague over possible crimes to humanity.

12. Real Life Reform @RealLifeReform

This northern housing consortium is running an eighteen month study tracking how people are living and coping with welfare reform across the north of England from April 2013 to October 2014. Real Life Reform are bringing together case studies of social housing tenants to capture not only the financial but also the human impact. Continue reading

19 places to get updates on welfare reform

If you want to keep track of what’s happening in welfare reform we’ve compiled this list of some of the most useful – and varied – sources on everything from the bedroom tax to child poverty.

We’ve also put together a dashboard if you want to follow these on a single easy-to-check webpage. You can follow a public version here, or add it to Netvibes here.

Here’s who we’ve added – can you think of others?

1. The Guardian – topic: welfare

The Guardian is the UK newspaper that invests the most in covering welfare issues.

Their website allows you to follow specific topics such as ‘benefits‘ (within the Society section), as well as individual journalists, such as Patrick ButlerBut we’ve picked the general ‘politics – welfare’ topic first because it sometimes includes stories written by other journalists that aren’t classified under either of the other. 

This story on Nick Clegg’s criticism of child benefit policy, for example, comes under ‘child benefit’ rather than ‘benefits’, and is written by a politics reporter – but it does still come under the welfare topic.

2. Inside Housing: news

With so little specialist coverage in the press, specialist magazines are often a better place to look for welfare-related news. Continue reading

Welfare issues in York: 7 organisations to follow

Fiona Parker and Neil Johnston, freelance journalists and final year students at York, have chosen seven key centres in the city to follow on welfare issues.

1. York Teaching Hospital

The teaching hospital in York has over 700 beds and is located fifteen minutes from the centre of the City.

The York Teaching Hospital Trust, the group which manages several hospitals including York’s caters for approximately 53,000 people.

The group’s communications Twitter account can be followed @YorkTeachingNHS. Also follow the area’s clinical commissioning group (CCG) – York Vale – @ValeofYorkCCG. Continue reading

15 York Twitter accounts to follow in 2014 on mental health and joblessness

Neil Johnston and Fiona Parker, freelance journalists and final year students in York, have put together a list of Twitter accounts to follow for anyone interested in welfare issues in the area. You can also follow the list here.

1. david3012 @david3012

Director of Development at @TheRetreatYork , sci-fi geek, motorhome owner and lover of all things Dutch – hows that for a combination!

2. The Retreat @TheRetreatYork

Charity Providing Specialist Mental Health Care Since 1792: For People, Not For Profit Continue reading

Useful links to Sept 27: Hurt from the cuts; Loan policy supports unwise lending

Useful posts to Sept 6: welfare reforms mauled;whose upturn? dreading UC

These are some welfare links we found interesting during the first week of September.

Useful links for July: Universal credits; food banks; austerity blogs

These are the welfare links we have been looking at in July and with May and June’s round-up recently covered, they are now almost up to date.

Keep your fingers on the keyboard to let us know if and how you use the data, or how we can improve by using the comment form below.

Guide to deferring a mortgage-style student loan repayment

Types of student loans

If you took out a student loan while taking a university or college course that began before September 1998, you will have been given a loan known as a ‘mortgage style’ or ‘fixed-term’ loan. (Loans taken out after this point are known as ‘income-contingent loans’.)

Mortgage-style loans are paid directly to the Student Loans Company (SLC), the public-sector body that provides student loans, unlike income-contingent loans – for which HMRC collects repayments.

Interest rates on mortgage-style loans are typically higher than those for income-contingent loans because they are linked to retail price index (RPI) inflation. Interest on mortgate-style loans stood at 3.6% in January 2013, whereas interest on income-contingent loans in the same month was 1.5%.

Deferring repayments

You’ll usually have to repay mortgage-style loans through monthly instalments by direct debit. However, you may be able to defer repayments for one year at a time if you earn £27,813 or less per year, before tax or National Insurance are deducted from your pay. Repayments on income-contingent loans are deducted automatically from your wages and can’t be deferred.

If you’re eligible, you can defer payments by completing a form issued by the SLC and returning it by post. The SLC sends deferment forms directly to customers by post. If you have deferred another repayment at an earlier date, the SLC states that it will send you a form about two months before your next payment falls due.

What do you need to complete the deferment form?

The SLC requires you to complete, sign and date the form and post it directly to them with evidence of your ‘current means of subsistence.’ If you are claiming benefits, the SLC says that it will accept any one of the following pieces of evidence:

  • A Benefits Agency/Jobcentre stamp on the deferment application form.
  • A copy of a current benefit agency book confirming the customer’s name, address, date and the amount of benefit received.
  • A Benefits Agency letter confirming the customer’s name, date, type and amount received.
  • A recent bank statement showing benefits payments being made to the customer’s account.

The evidence needed if you are employed, self-employed, travelling, a student or living on unearned income is listed here.  According to the SLC, you’ll automatically be sent a new deferment form if your application has an obvious mistake – alternatively, you can contact the SLC to request a new form on 0141 243 3902.

At the time of publishing the DWP had declined to comment.

Welfare-related links for December 21st through January 25th

These are the welfare-related links we’ve been looking at between December 21st and January 25th:

  • Management in Practice – GPs could help save £190m in sick pay – Launching in 2014, the advisory service will allow GPs to identify employees who need support as well as issuing 'fit notes'. Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform said: "Long-term sickness absence is a burden to business, to the taxpayer and to the thousands of people who get trapped on benefits when they could actually work.
  • The cost of government: what does the new transactions data really tell us? | News | guardian.co.uk – And the worst offender? The massive Department for Work and Pensions, which is Britain's biggest spending government department and administers benefits. So, for instance we have no idea how much it costs to process each of the 40m Jobseeker's allowance signing ons or to administer the benefit's 3.4m claims. The Department is responsible for 48,704,000 transactions in the high volume list alone – and we don't know the cost of any of them.
  • Reasons to be fearful: Oakley & Policy Exchange, foxes in the benefits coop | skwalker1964 – To keep this post to a readable length, I won’t go into detail on some of the other proposals that Mr Oakley would like to see implemented, or wild opinions that he holds, but will just list some of them:

    All assistance for unemployed people to find work provided by private/charitable providers
    Time-limiting unemployment benefits
    Cutting regional pay to fund infrastructure spending – thereby penalising those who are already disadvantaged in order to fund growth-measures, rather than taxing the wealthiest
    Selling public housing in expensive areas to private owners, forcing social tenants out of ‘desirable’ areas
    Claiming benefits leads to criminality
    Re-distributing income to low-paid people is a bad idea, because it ‘does nothing to encourage progression and self-sufficiency‘.

  • Request Initiative » Eleven work and pensions civil servants sacked for using Twitter or Facebook – The 11 sacked officials are among 116 DWP employees to have faced disciplinary action for blogging and social networking since January 2009, according to figures revealed under the Freedom of Information Act.
  • What is George Osborne doing to benefits? | Society | guardian.co.uk – Let's imagine someone receives £100 a month, all of which is spent on goods and services (domestic heating, food, bills, etc). The current inflation rate is 2.7%, which means in a year's time buying the exact same things would cost £102.70. Under the previous system, this is what benefits would've risen to. But with the changes, they would now only rise to £101 – leaving the recipient £1.70 worse off. Given the changes will last for at least three years, this represents a cut in income of between 3% to 6%, depending what happens with inflation. In reality, the impact could be even worse, as research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies suggests low-income households experience a higher inflation rate than richer ones.