CIC Association

Serving Community Enterprise

Are there any other CIC's out there whose work brings them, or people they are working with, into contact with the welfare benefits Supported Permitted Work regulations ?
In particular the definition of 'voluntary organisation' as a qualifying criteria for being a SPW supporting organisation.
We are in constructive dialogue with Job Centre Plus about this but would be interested in finding out if others have encountered it.
Jon

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Hi

Yes encountered passed around including to Shaw trust and am still no further forward except that in my area the Shaw trust seem to be the only ones that can authorise 'Permitted work.' Job Centre Plus does not want to know, they just refer you to Shaw trust.

I also found that asking questions on the phone 'Help' lines tends to lead to suspension of benefits whilst you are investigated for claiming benefits whilst working. It seems, well to me any way, that the operators are trained to respond to any question about permitted work, study, or volunteering, in one way. They ignore another words you say and immediately and report you as a suspected fraudulent claimant.

Seems that this (mid Norfolk) is not the only place that happens, Two Friends of mine one in the south and one on the Scottish boarders have both had exactly the same experience. Oh, and we still have not had our original questions answered. Having tried three times myself and been investigated each time, I have decided it is better to be ignorant of such things than starve.

I also study with the OU and every time I go to get the funding form signed to confirm my benefit status I get interviewed (and if I time it wrong no money for two weeks) to make sure I am not over doing things and studying fulltime, eight times in six years that has happened.

Our CIC is about helping people like myself who want to work but need to do so at home and keeping their own hours very often, to get help training and support to do just that. We are gearing up now to deal with the ‘Permitted’ work and ‘Test Trade’ rules along with a number of other schemes, some of which will I am sure be cut (in fact all such schemes are under review at the moment).

We are hoping that this current government, who have said they see the problems of getting many disabled people into work as requiring longer terms of benefit support then others, (not the exact words used but close enough). Will they act on their statement and provide a longer period of ‘Permitted’ work or ‘Test Trade,’ where there are special needs for it? Only time will tell but right now our contacts are all saying yes!!!!

Steve
Hi Steve
Sorry to hear that you have had hassle. I agree that this move towards to central phone lines and enquiries being 'automated' doesn't help, especially if your enquiry isn't straightforward.
On a more positive note hopefully the change in the legislation will be helpful to your CIC, and others.
There do seem to be some very positive messages coming from the coalition and hopefully they will support the work that we all doing - a major simplification of welfare benefits would make it much easier to overcome the barrier (particularly if they continue the sort of approach there is with ESA to enable you to keep earned income, and do not treat those with genuine needs unfairly). Simple is also usually cheaper to administer too!
Interesting times!?
Jon
Yes very interesting times.

One of the big issues is the reginoal verations in approach as well. In Pauls area the job center + has DA's (disability advicers) in my area that is all done by an outside contractor and they know less then nothing about how to handle disability issues. There main office is not even accessable and when ask they said they had no employees that need accessable access so they did not bother.

Not the best thing to say to me. I do not like the one system fits all approach but any approach has to be consistant so that it makes it easyer to understand.

As for simpler being cheaper - where government are concerned every new approach to the benifits problem has surposed to save money, it never does, it is just a selling point of the company providing the new systems.

In the last 20 years the british government has spent 200billion on abourted systems which they could not get to work.

So simple would be better and should be cheaper but I will wait and see!!!

Steve

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