Welfare rights and welfare reform: Supporting our Clients

Sunrise through trees

Welfare Reform continues to make the news, with the UK Government proposing and implementing a wide range of changes to the benefits system.

Digby Brown are concerned about the impact some of these changes are having on vulnerable people.  Our Welfare Rights team, headed by Kathleen McMonagle, provide free welfare rights advice and support to Digby Brown clients and individuals referred to us by a number of the charities and other organisations we work with and support.  In 2012, the team recovered over £440,000 in net benefits that people, often at their most vulnerable, were entitled to but not receiving. 

Last week, Kathleen and Headway UK, a charity Digby Brown work closely with, featured in a BBC Scotland report on how changes to the benefits assessments are impacting people with brain injuries. The report looked at whether the assessment process properly examines whether people with brain injuries are fit for work.  All too often, individuals are deemed fit to work, and have their benefits withdrawn, only to have them reinstated on appeal after a more appropriate assessment of the difficulties they are experiencing as a result of their injury. This can leave individuals in a ‘revolving door’ trap of benefit assessments and appeals.  

Official figures indicate that around 30% of benefit assessment decisions are subsequently overturned but it’s our experience that 90% of clients with brain injuries have their decisions reversed on appeal.

Digby Brown’s Welfare Rights team have helped individuals successfully appeal the outcome of their initial assessments, as part of the wide range welfare rights advice and support they provide.