Government Still Trying To Hide Crisis Loan Replacements

Loan sharks are likely to be the only option for some claimants facing a household emergency.

Loan sharks are likely to be the only option for some claimants facing a household emergency.

The DWP have today released guidance on what’s left of the Social Fund which completely ignores the replacement for Crisis Loans – arguably one of the most vital sources of support for people in an emergency.

Crisis Loans were small sums of money which could be borrowed from the government to cover periods of hardship due to benefit delays or household emergencies.  Often they were used to provide vital support when someone had been a victim of crime, or faced a flood, fire or other personal disaster.

The loans were rarely more than £60 and had an almost 100% repayment rate, meaning the cost to the tax payer was almost zero.  Despite this, they were abolished completely on the 1st April this year in a petty and spiteful move by Iain Duncan Smith which is likely to leave the poorest dependent on both legal and illegal loan sharks.

Claimants in an emergency may now be eligible for some help from their local authority, although policies vary from place to place and most councils have adopted some form of voucher scheme .  Budgeting Loans also still exist, but these are not generally for emergency purposes (see link at bottom of page)*.

What the DWP doesn’t want people to know however is that people left with no money due to delays in benefit payments can apply for a Short Term Benefit Advance.

Nowhere in the DWP’s latest guidance on the Social Fund are these loans even mentioned, despite being one of the most needed forms of support.  It’s almost as if the DWP don’t want claimants to know that they exist.  At the time of their introduction the PCS Union warned that the DWP had no intention of advertising Short Term Benefit advances to claimants.

Short Term Benefit Advances (STBAs) cannot be claimed online and can only be accessed via Jobcentre staff.  This can be done over the telephone, however a claim for benefits must have been completed before a request can be considered.  In some cases Jobcentre Contact Centre staff have been told they can accept a telephone claim for benefits and then process an STBA application immediately afterwards.  Claimants should receive a decision on this application the next working day.

If the DWP won’t advertise Short Term Benefit Advances then it’s down to us to make sure all claimants know about their existence.  The Child Poverty Action Group have published the official guidance on Short Term Benefit Advances for Jobcentre staff, Contact Centre Workers and DWP Decisions Makers on their website.   Please share this information widely.

Short Term Benefit Advances: Guidance to Decision Makers (PDF)

Short Term Benefit Advances: Guidance to Jobcentre Staff (PDF)

Short Term Benefit Advances: Guidance to Contact Centre Staff (PDF)

*The DWP’s guidance on the Social Fund, which does include important information on how to apply for Budgeting Loans, can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-social-fund-technical-guidance/the-social-fund-technical-guidance

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

52 responses to “Government Still Trying To Hide Crisis Loan Replacements

  1. Pingback: Government Still Trying To Hide Crisis Loan Rep...

  2. overburdenddonkey

    the whole issue of withheld/withholding, (sometimes with bare faced lies) vital information is very sinister indeed..it is deliberate, intended to plunge people into sink or swim crisis, persistent and prevalent…it capitalises on the intrinsic difficulties people face, when needing help at a very vulnerable time in their lives.
    imo is a major issue, that is very lightly reported owing to the affected individuals anxieties of being kept short and bounced around trying to navigate a very complex system, at a very trying time in peoples lives, bang on i must, it is the very worst of….behaviourism….set to cause maximum distress, desperation and humiliation..

  3. If the DWP are unwilling to share this information, then who’s to say the average advisor will have even heard of them?

    Who’s to say that if you apply for one you’ll get anywhere? They could just as easily deny they exist and leave you hanging. What can you do?

  4. “So – you’re sanctioned, you’re banned and you must find money for a lawyer. You’re hardly in a position to do that.”

    http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2013/09/512811.html

  5. something survived...

    And you might not even have a 50p for a bottle of economy bleach to drink either.

    Our food bank has no food and refuses to put you on the list to wait for notional future food unless you are referred by JCP. JCP refuses to refer anyone now!

  6. Reblogged this on Vox Political and commented:
    I’d recommend their local credit union (if one operates nearby).

    • credit unions are just a sticking plaster for what is wrong, people should not have to borrow money they should have the benefits they are entitled to, another one that is an apologist for sanctions.

      • Here’s another one that doesn’t understand what a credit union is. A credit union is similar to a bank, but it is owned by its members and profits are shared among them. They generally aim to encourage responsible saving and – most importantly – the interest rates they charge on loans are extremely low. Anyone who’s interested can find out more in the article here: http://mikesivier.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/barefoot-banking-to-support-people-on-the-edge/

        • I helped run a credit union in my town at one time, so don’t tell me about credit unions, it failed miserably because nobody had the money to save as well as pay back the loan a criteria which is required by the credit unions in order that there are replenished funds for people to borrow, it did not work and people were reticent to take risks on loans with their savings.

      • guy fawkes,

        Spot on!.

      • overburdenddonkey

        g f
        correct, i should get over £100/wk, i did for a few mouths, but most of my 3 + years, e and sa claim, has been on £71/wk…like i have said, they deliberately try push one into debt so one is beholding to their services.
        my father was right never trust a bank, never have credit, and never have a bank a/c, although he was eventually forced to have one, because they bribed the work force with incentives to have their wages paid into bank a/c’s…banks have brought the world to it’s knees…there is no finer moment than when on friday, the golden eagle shits, a small brown envelope with a staple through it..aah, them were the days…unfettered, credit has done catastrophic global harm, and continues to do so, and caused house prices to soar…greed, credit, and loans have caused all of the problems we face today…

  7. As far as I’ve been able to ascertain from the limited information available on the STBA, it’s only possible to apply if you have already applied for a “social security” benefit and have either been awarded it, or are likely to receive it (which I take to mean approval in principle from from the DWP in person, or via the telephone or one of their online calculators). The amount applicable would be the amount already due (under the assumption that the award will be made) at the time of application; i.e., it doesn’t act as a bridging loan in quite the same way as the old Crisis Loan, but is designed to cover the two to six weeks’ wait for a decision (said delay itself having been aggravated by compulsory redundancies and no-cover–no-replacement policies in the DWP, HMRC, etc.)

    As for me, I had transferred from income-based Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA) to the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA)—both of which are administered by the DWP—, as a result of which my housing benefit (HB) payments had been suspended (although I hadn’t actually received any since making my claim for HB whilst on JSA), and I had also put in a claim for Working Tax Credit (WTC). NEA is paid weekly in arrears, my council pays HB two-weeks in arrears, and WTC is paid four-weekly in arrears.

    An STBA cannot cover the lacunae in income that arise from payments being made in arrears (which has a certain logic since we the proletariat pay for most things in advance [even electricity and bus journeys] whilst they the bourgeosie pay us for our labour, or service, or some meagre substitute, in arrears). Still, I was due—in fact, or in principle—a week or four of each of these benefits and had maxed out my suitably paltry credit card limit. In desperation I searched online again, found again that part of the old Social Fund had been replaced by discretionary payments from my local council for which I was not eligible, and found the PCS page re STBA (linked to in the above and the original post), and this: johnnyvoid’s succint, informative, angry blog; and the DWP page with guidance for Jobcentre Plus (JCP) advisers.

    I rang the number (after walking four miles looking for a BT phone box that worked and then digging through numberless online waffle from Everything Everywhere and the DWP to discover that the number was free from my pay-as-you-go Orange sim). Result (from an operative who sounded guarded that I knew about STBA, spoke at me as though I were a simpleton, and overall veered between mild panic and dismissive aggression): housing benefit doesn’t qualify since the JCP/DWP can’t reclaim the money from your local council, WTC doesn’t qualify as it isn’t a social security benefit [nevermind that Cameron et al. are pushing along with a merger of HB and WTC and others into UC], and for my last gasp after some tens of minutes of beration, this benefit being also administered via JCP/DWP: “er, that’s not included”.

    I inadvertently mentioned to my mum over the phone that I was suicidal and she drove several hundred miles with my dad to see me; she forced a cheque upon me and after giving in to her it was easier to accept a palmful of twenties from my dad. Fuck knows how anyone I deem useful and interesting (which is likely to be everyone reading this) is going to survive or how they’re gonna do it, only together; fight, be prepared, and keep on going.

  8. Pingback: #UKGovernment Hides Means to Survive #DWP Prospers #Loansharks | johndwmacdonald

  9. What was that story we heard about jobcentres a notice hung on all their walls..SAVING TAXPAYERS MONEY…

    yeah clever that saving tax payers money by throwing it at workfare pimps..

  10. guidance says a claim has to be in place first but doesn’t say what type of claim. Could stba be a stop gap to cover the clause 99 esa problem highlighted at http://kittysjones.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/735/

  11. Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    This is another piece of information that should be known to everyone facing unemployment and the problems of making ends meet on benefit payments. The Void notes that, although Crisis Loans are being phased out, they have been replaced by Short Term Benefit Advances, which are available to those suffering delays in payment for their benefits. He also details how these advances may be claimed and has a link to the guidelines on the Advance issued to Job Centre, Contact Centre and DWP staff published on the website of the Child Poverty Action Group. As for the government not publicising these benefits, that seems in line with the policies of John Major’s government. Under his administration there was little official promotion of various benefits for the unemployed, sick and disabled. This allowed the government not only to save money, but also to claim that the benefits available were so generous, they were underused. I can remember the way various public information films, supposedly promoting various forms of benefit appeared, which stated that there were so many millions in benefit going unclaimed every year, while not actually saying what these benefits were or how they could be claimed. To understand fully what benefits may be available, you really do need to get hold of the guides to the welfare system produced by organisations like the Child Poverty Action Group. I’ve used their handbook myself, and they really are an immensely useful and encyclopaedic resource to the benefits and loan payments available.

    • There is supposed to be a hardship allowance which they say you can claim if your benefits are sanctioned, they would not let me claim this any time they sanctioned my benefits under new labour, infact they say that a hardship allowance was only payable to those already on benefits or those waiting for benefits to be processed, nothing for those sanctioned.
      Child poverty action group were in situ when the Blair government was in power and we had a meeting with Frank Field along with other charity groups and we found that they were getting plenty of funding for producing such leaflets but were no good at poverty action itself and let people that went to them for practical help down, most were Blairites just keeping themselves off the dole running charities or community social organizations.
      If I pour cold water on things that is because I have experienced all or most of these so called organisations from community associations to council run or national government schemes all purporting to be of benefit to the poor and working class and failing them miserably.

      • overburdenddonkey

        g f
        yes, ping! revelation, suddenly i see their true purpose, this is a core issue and in need of big debate, the propaganda value of these organisations of being seen to be provided on PAPER, they suck up money that should be paid out in benefits and would redundant the need for these orgs in any case. diluting and acting to take steam out of the low wage/benefit culture debate, feed into workfare and work program, and other profit before people orgs..and that is how they profit by sucking up money that would/should otherwise be paid out in benefits, see annos, link to blacktriangle …+ the in house complaints systems of these and other orgs, are a trail to behold…

  12. overburdenddonkey

    can some tell me if i lose e and sa benefits if i appeal to the upper tribunal..

    • overburdenddonkey

      i now have the info i was looking for..

    • obd

      As far as I know if your benefits have not been stopped at present, then they should still be in place if appealing to the upper tribunal, but don’t quote me on that.

      • overburdenddonkey

        g f
        no, a fresh claim has to be made, and the ut appeal (if granted) carries on in parallel with the fresh claim, of course one has to do another wca + all of the other rigmarole, and then if one fails that wca, as always, appeal to the 1st tier tribunal with regard to that one..
        1st one has to apply to the FTT, for permission to appeal to the ut, if granted, one can then ASK the ut, for leave to appeal..so life gets very complex, like a circus plate spinner, oh, joy..

        • overburdenddonkey

          ps g f
          sorry i messed that up a bit, last para, should read, 1st one has to apply to the FTT, for permission to ASK the ut, or one can ASK the ut directly, for leave to appeal, to the ut.
          i don’t know the merits of doing one over the other..like permission, to ask permission…anyway, i’ve been granted permission by the FFT, to ask, something or another…

          • obd

            I had all of the info at one time on the appeal system and appeals to the upper chamber, but mine never got past the first stage of appeal system, I was just told by an adjudicator that they were justified in sanctioning my benefits when I refused to work for nothing, I then appealed and waited and waited and called and called, no sign of my appeal form according to them and no appeal ever materialized, I wrote to area managers in another town about it and was passed from pillar to post for 8 months before I had a sit in in the dwp office and was arrested and locked up in a prison cell for the day and released on the grounds that I would not go to the dwp again and that they would inform me when they intended to re-instate my benefits, I went to see my mp again for the second time, the first time was just after jsa was implemented and he got my benefits re-instated, when I went a second time all I got from him was a screaming match and insults, I reported him to parliament even though his bad behaviour happened in his home town surgery and the next thing I know he and the local council called for me to be arrested under the mental health act to shut me up and take me out of circulation for months, corrupt cnuts.

            • overburdenddonkey

              g f
              i did post a longer reply but it has got lost in the ether, but to suffice to say you are a good soul..i am wary of the bastards, we need to get our voices out there, to let others know what’s going on out there..

  13. “High levels of European military spending played a key role in the unfolding EU debt crisis and continues to undermine efforts to resolve the debt crisis, alleges a new report by Transnational Institute and the Dutch Campaign against Arms Trade.”

    http://www.pana.ie/articles/eu-military-spending-2013.html

  14. Pingback: Government Still Trying To Hide Crisis Loan Rep...

  15. “It stated that government policies forced some of the most deprived members of society to “shoulder the heaviest burden of national debt created by the super-rich”.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24321105

  16. “Payday lenders’ broken promises leaving customers in harms way”

    http://blogs.citizensadvice.org.uk/blog/payday-lenders-broken-promises/

  17. “MMR jab or else: Cruddas alarms Labour with benefit claimant policy threat”

    http://www.politics.co.uk/news/2013/09/23/mmr-jab-or-else-cruddas-alarms-labour-with-benefit-claimant

  18. Pingback: What The Fuck Does David Cameron Know About Poverty? | the void

  19. Pingback: What The Fuck Does David Cameron Know About Poverty? | glynismillward189

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