50 days since Crisis loans Ended.
Taking a look back over the last 50 days since the new welfare reforms came into effect and the abolition of the discretionary social fund, it is clear that the true impact of the change is not just financial.
Just because the Crisis Loan system has closed its doors, it doesn’t mean that people are no longer in crisis, however now that people don’t have the option of seeking help from the Government, they are left to fend for themselves.
A combination of poor information sharing, lack of knowledge of DWP staff and the abrupt end of the Social Fund has led to confusion and prolonged hardship for thousands of families.
Since April the first, we have seen a massive increase in the numbers of request s for help that we have answered, the vast majority of those from people who could previously have been helped by the Crisis Loan system, but who are now unable to access the support (if any) that is locally available to them.
Where possible we have signposted those asking for help to the advertised ‘Local Welfare Provision’ when they have simply been told by the DPW that they can no longer get a crisis Loan and that they need to speak to the “council”.
Lone parents hit hardest:
The queries that we get are generally related to how to access the provision available, and what alternatives there may be to the Social Fund.
Over the last 30 days we have seen a MASSIVE spike in the number of people who have contacted the DWP and simply been turned away after bing told the Crisis Loans don’t exist any longer. This seems to be particularly the case if you are a lone parent, however we can think of no logical reasoning for this- other than the benefit sections that tend to deal with lone parents ( Income Support) providing EVEN LESS information of any Local Provision that may be available.
The DWP need to look at how they are training staff to deal with customers who are in hardship, and look at providing a comprehensive list of all of the locally available help that exists , that those who need it can access.
Why was there no transitional period?
The vast majority of changes that are made to the state benefits system are rolled out over a period of time to allow any new process to be tested and checked, however the Crisis Loan System was simply closed on 31/3/2013 and the phonelines diverted.
Do you agree with the way that this was done?[poll id=”7″]