Wakefield woman to get £10,000 payout after allowance was wrongly withdrawn

A woman is set to receive a near £10,000 payout after it emerged she'd been refused benefits she was entitled to.

Friday, 5th November 2021, 10:29 am
The woman was reimbursed after she went to Citizen's Advice for help. The charity estimates that half of all claimants could be missing out on cash they're entitled to.

Citizen's Advice said the woman will get a back payment from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), after they reinstated an allowance they'd originally stopped.

Her annual income will also increase by around £6,000 a year as a result, after she went to the charity for help.

Citizen's Advice has highlighted the case as it estimates around half of all benefit claimants may be missing out on cash they are entitled to.

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Simon Topham, CEO of Citizen's Advice in Wakefield, has urged people to come to the events over the next three weeks, to see if they can get more help.

A series of events is being held across the Wakefield district over the next three weeks, where anyone can turn up and request a benefits check to see if they could get more.

A number of support services, listed alongside the dates below, will also be at the events to help with a range of problem.

A free buffet will also be on offer to anyone who comes in.

Simon Topham, CEO of Citizen's Advice in Wakefield, said: "I would say, just judging from the number of clients we see, around one in two people on benefits are not getting what they possibly could get.

St Swithun's Community Centre in Eastmoor is hosting one of the events, next Tuesday.

"It is a huge number.

"People on disability benefits and those who care for other people are often missing out.

"Quite often people with young kids don’t realise they can claim child benefit from the day your child’s born.

"Sometimes people in work don't realise they can claim Universal Credit."

Councillor Maureen Cummings said help is available to those who need it.

"Many people don’t realise exactly what support is available."

Mr Topham said that Citizen's Advice had helped a number of people who'd originally been told they couldn't claim certain benefits.

He explained: "In some ways the system is set up to say ‘no’.

"A high percentage of disability benefit applications are rejected first time, but then on second submission a much higher percentage are accepted, and then it’s much higher on appeal.

"Sometimes people get rejected and think that’s that. It’s not.

"There are a number of appeal stages and if people came in to see us, we can possibly help them."

He added: "One thing I want to stress is that the process of checking is entirely confidential.

"Our tables will be spread around a big room anyway for Covid reasons, but there will also be private rooms for people to do private consultations.

"The aim is to help people get more money, not less."

Maureen Cummings, Wakefield Council's portfolio holder for communities, said people should not be afraid to come forward and ask for help.

She said: "People are proud and sometimes if they’re seen walking into an event like this, they feel there's a stigma.

"But there shouldn’t be a stigma. They’re in that situation through no fault of their own.

"Some people are genuinely in need.

"This pandemic has thrown some families deeper and deeper into the well and we want to help them take that next step, whatever that is for them."

Local Democracy Reporting Service

The events are being held at the following times and places

South Elmsall

Westfield Centre, 26 Westfield Lane, WF9 2PU

Monday November 8

9:00am–3:00pm

Eastmoor

St. Swithun’s Community Centre, Arncliffe Road, WF1 4RR

Tuesday November 9

1:30pm–6:30pm

Castleford

Castleford Heritage Centre, Queen’s Mill, WF10 1JL

Wednesday November 10

1:30pm–6:30pm

Kinsley & Fitzwilliam

Kinsley & Fitzwilliam Learning & Community Centre, Wakefield Road, WF9 5BP

Thursday November 11

8:30am–1:30pm

Pontefract

St. Mary’s Centre, The Circle, Chequerfield, Pontefract WF8 2AY

Friday November 12

1:30pm–6:30pm

Lupset

St. George’s Community Centre, Broadway, Lupset WF2 8AA

Monday November 15

1:30pm–6:30pm

Knottingley

The Addy, Opposite 93 Sycamore Avenue, Knottingley WF11 0PJ

Tuesday November 16

1:30pm–6:30pm

Airedale

Airedale Library, The Square, Castleford, WF10 3JJ

Wednesday November 17

9:30am–2:30pm

Chapelthorpe

St. James’ Church Lane, Chapelthorpe WF4 3JG

Thursday November 18

1:30pm–6:30pm

Havercroft & Ryhill

Havercroft & Ryhill Community Learning Centre, Mulberry Place, WF4 2BD

Friday November 19

8:30am–1:30pm

Featherstone

The Chesney Centre, Regent Street, WF7 5EW

Monday November 22

8:30am–1:30pm

The following support services will be present to help with various issues.

Citizen's Advice

- Employment

- Benefits

- Consumer rights

- Family and personal issues

- Debt

WDH (for WDH tenants)

- Money management help

- Help for jobseekers

Wakefield Council's welfare benefits team

- Council tax

- Housing benefit

- Discretionary housing payment

- Local welfare provision (crisis or emergency support with fuel, food or essential white goods)

Council's Step Up team

- Help to find a job

- Help to improve personal skills

- Financial help to attend interviews and start work

Council's housing services (for private tenants and owners)

- Mortgage or rent arrears

- Notices served by your landlord

- Threatened with homeless

- Court cases or bailiff warrants

- Bills and energy costs

Live Well Wakefield

- Long term health conditions

- Help with self confidence, anxiety and loneliness

- Community involvement

- Getting active

Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)

- Finding jobs

- Unemployment and disability benefits

- Pensions

- Child maintenance

Wakefield Public Health

- Covid testing and Long Covid

- Pulse oximetry

- Flu jabs

- Substance misuse/addiction

Stop smoking support

- Help for people who want to give up smoking