Health and Welfare Advice HUBS
Our HWA Hubs are co-located within health centres in Hamilton and Clydesdale areas, providing targeted advice and representation for people experiencing ill-health and people living with long term physical and/or mental health conditions. We also offer Home Visits for people unable to attend a local health centre.
What do we do?
We provide free independent, confidential and impartial quality assured advice and lay representation across a range of civil, legal and social welfare matters using a holistic approach.
Who can refer to this service?
General Practitioners, Community Mental Health Teams; District Nurses and community based Allied Health Professionals; Home Care staff, carers and third sector organisations.
Problems we can help with include:
- Welfare Benefits - checking entitlements; claiming benefits; challenging and appealing decisions; dealing with claim processing problems
- Housing – advice and representation for people facing eviction or mortgage repossession; dealing with landlord problems;
- Family & relationship – family breakdown; domestic violence; carers;
- Health & Community Care – community care assessments; self directed support; accessing social care; making a complaint; patient rights
But no problem is too small or too complex – we can refer to local solicitors or specialist services where appropriate.
For more information: CONTACT:
Vincent MacNeil, Team Leader Tele: 01698 457335 or M: 07814290123
How we helped Neil
Names and some details have been changed to protect identity
Neil is a man in his forties who lives alone in a Local Authority ground floor flat. He lived with his mother and since her death his mental health has deteriorated.
He was unable to maintain his employment and he made a claim for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Housing Benefit (HB) He didn’t complete and return a Work Capability Assessment and cited deterioration in his mental health as the reason for not complying with the requests. He was disallowed ESA and was advised by Job centre plus that he should claim Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) while his request for a Mandatory Reconsideration of the ESA decision was being addressed. His Reconsideration request was refused and he lodged an Appeal against this decision. He was unable to attend job centre plus to sign on and his JSA claim was disallowed. He made a telephone request for this decision to be reconsidered. Neil was unable to claim ESA during the Appeal stage until he attended an appointment for Work Capability Assessment and he was therefore not receiving any social security benefits at the time of his referral to HWA.
Neil’s Housing Benefit was stopped as he was not entitled to benefit and he became liable for Council Tax. South Lanarkshire Council were about to take action to recover outstanding rent and Council Tax and Neil was advised to seek help. He walked eight miles in winter weather conditions from his home to Hamilton to discuss his housing issues with the In-Court advice team who referred him for support with his benefit issues to HWA. Neil has a prepayment meter for his electricity supply and uses a pay as you go mobile. As he had no income his electricity supply was on emergency credit and he had no food in the house.
He had applied for help from the Scottish Welfare Fund but this was refused as he had applied for a Community Care Grant instead of a Crisis grant.
HWA caseworker visited Neil at home and contacted DWP to establish the status of Neil’s Reconsideration requests for ESA and JSA. The JSA claim had been closed down as Neil had failed to sign on and DWP stated that no Reconsideration request had been made.
Immediate action was to apply for a Scottish Welfare Fund Crisis Grant which was approved and Neil received £85.72. He was also supported over a period of weeks with access to food vouchers.
Neil agreed that HWA could represent him at his ESA Appeal. Appeal papers have been prepared and a hearing is imminent.
A Warm Home Discount was requested for him and he was credited with £140.00 to his electricity account. He was assisted with an application for Universal Credit and advised to ask for an advance when he attended his initial interview at jobcentre plus in Hamilton in the first week of January. The advance was granted and Neil was given £262.00 to be repaid over 12 months. His Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction issues were also resolved although he has some arrears of rent which he is repaying through deductions from benefit.
Neil’s situation is stabilised and he is now in receipt of an income. His ESA Appeal is pending and HWA caseworker continues to provide support to ensure Neil is managing the Claimant Commitment for Universal Credit.