Case comment: McDonald v McDonald & Ors [2016] UKSC 28

 

landlord-eviction-rightsThis post, a collaborative effort by Matthew Ahluwalia and Thomas Phillips (one of Z2K’s volunteers), examines a recent judgment of the Supreme Court in an important housing case.

 

 

The case addressed a significant question: namely, whether possession proceedings brought by a private landlord against a resident tenant engage the tenant’s right to a private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Continue reading

Mandatory reconsideration statistics published

dwpMandatory Reconsideration (MR) was first introduced in October 2013 for Employment and Support Allowance claims. It means that if claimants wish to dispute a decision they are required to first ask for an MR before lodging an appeal.

When MR was first proposed by the DWP Z2K opposed it on the basis that it was an unnecessary extra step which would simply serve to lengthen an already elongated claims process. Given DWP’s poor decision-making record, we were sceptical it would provide claimants with proper redress without the need to resort to a formal appeal. Continue reading

Pension credit & housing benefit – a case study

About-2-million-pensioner-001We received a telephone call from a support agency that required benefits and housing advice for a client who was in her 90’s. Grace had lived in her home for over 50 years and was a rent act protected tenant, meaning her rent was restricted and reassessed by the rent officer every two years. She worried about her ability to pay as a new rent was about to be registered. Continue reading

Case study: a year long ESA saga

HMCourts&TribunalsThis blog post is by social work student Elizabeth Niles

‘Robert’ first approached Z2K at our weekly advice session in June 2015. He was looking for support as the Department for Work and Pensions had just turned down his application for Employment Support Allowance (ESA). Robert was not to know that this would be the start of a long journey and Z2K would follow him right through to the end.

Robert suffers from Sciatica which causes chronic back pain due to a large disc prolapse, asthma and severe depression. His health conditions frequently mean that he has episodes where he is unable to stand, sit or walk and is bed-ridden due to the pain. The strong medication that Robert takes for his health conditions interfere with his sleep and at times he is tearful and emotional. Continue reading

Personal Independence Payments and ‘additional’ evidence

PIPWhile listening to a parliamentary debate on Personal Independence Payments (PIP) in April I was interested to hear Justin Tomlinson MP, the Minister for Disabled People, respond to a question on the success rate of appeals. The Minister claimed that in the majority of cases a PIP decision was overturned because of additional evidence given at tribunal. He went on to state that:

in theory the decision at the beginning was right, based on the evidence that was given, but we as a Department rightly provide people with two further opportunities to submit additional evidence for a reconsideration.

The implication being that, in most cases where a DWP decision maker incorrectly finds a claimant ineligible for PIP, the blame rests not with the decision maker, who after all has apparently made the best decision possible on the basis of the evidence available, but on the claimant for not providing sufficient evidence. Continue reading