Solving problems with equality rights

This section is for welfare benefits advisers who want to understand more about how they can use equality rights to solve problems in welfare benefits advice. It offers tips and tools to help you to use equality rights in a practical problem-solving way.

For example, you may be helping an agoraphobic client who has been repeatedly refused a home based medical assessment by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). The client’s benefits have been stopped as a sanction when she failed to attend an assessment over an hour away. This section of the handbook will help you to use equality rights to solve your client’s welfare benefits issue, in a practical way.

More information

You may also find it useful to look at these other resources in our handbook:

We’ve answered some of our FAQs about using equality rights. This section is about how equality rights can help you solve problems in welfare benefits advice.

  1. I think my client may have been discriminated against. However, my main concern is their financial situation. How will highlighting the discrimination help them get their benefits paid?
  2. What can a generalist adviser do to take action about unlawful conduct under the Equality Act 2010 which is unlawful discrimination?
  3. What sort of examples can we use to illustrate discrimination and inequality?
  4. What can I say to an adviser colleague who says that they are fed up with equal opportunities and political correctness, and this is more of the same?
  5. Can advice and advocacy be effective in challenging discrimination and inequality?
  6. What is the best way to raise an issue of discrimination with the DWP?
  7. How do you persuade the DWP to change their decision when it is discriminatory?
  8. How can discrimination advice help when we are advising someone about, for example, a benefits issue?
  9. Isn’t discrimination just a social policy issue?
  10. Most of our clients can’t afford to go to court so what is the point of talking to them about discrimination issues?
  11. Can you get legal aid for discrimination?

Question: I think my client may have been discriminated against. However, my main concern is their financial situation. How will highlighting the discrimination help them get their benefits paid?

Answer: If your client has not been paid their benefit because they have been sanctioned, been refused a home visit or have a problem with a requirement in their Claimant Commitment, then the root of that problem may be discrimination. For example, if the problem with their Claimant Commitment is that a reasonable adjustment has not been made to take account of your clients learning disability. Or there has been indirect discrimination because the Claimant Commitment required your Muslim client to attend a training course that was only available on a Friday lunchtime.

As well as seeking any immediate hardship or advance payment – to address the immediate financial problem – you need to point out the discrimination and explain what should be changed in a clear and well-structured argument. In our Case Study section, Case study One, Case study Two and Case study Three include examples of letters that show how you can do this.

If you only ask for the hardship payment, and do not address the discrimination, the same problems could happen again in the future.


Question: What can a generalist adviser do to take action about unlawful conduct under the Equality Act 2010 which is unlawful discrimination?

Answer: A generalist adviser should be supported by their manager to identify discrimination and give advice to clients about what conduct may be unlawful discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. This applies to advice on health, money, welfare rights, housing, consumer, public services, and employment.

Advisers should:

  • Recognise where clients have experienced unfairness
  • Explore if that was for a discriminatory reason
  • Advise on relevant rights and responsibilities
  • Help the client with the options and next steps to tackle that discrimination.

The main relevant rights and responsibilities are set out in the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998.

To identify discrimination which is made unlawful by the Equality Act 2010 an adviser should explore:

  • If the unfair treatment is related to a protected characteristic
  • If it is one of the unlawful types of discrimination set out in the Act
  • If the person acting unfairly has responsibilities under the Act.

Clients often don’t know that they have legal rights to tackle unfairness and discrimination or how they can use those rights.

An adviser can show their clients how to use their legal rights and take the actions that will best help to solve their problems. For example, how to use those rights to:

  • Help negotiate an effective solution
  • Take court action when that is the best option
  • Persuade a public authority to change their practices (see Case Study One for an example of this).

Question: What sort of examples can we use to illustrate discrimination and inequality?

Answer: It’s best to use everyday examples of disadvantage and unfairness – this will make it easier to spot discrimination and to understand disadvantage and unfairness. Every day examples will help to make an emotional or empathetic connection. However, make sure they are in the context of welfare benefits advice. It will often be better to use a situation where someone is using public services than, for example, a discriminatory situation regarding golf club membership.

We should also take care to ensure our examples do not unwittingly reinforce stereotypes. Stereotyped examples could be about a gay man in a bar, or a woman as a junior employee, a disabled person using a wheelchair, or a young black man in trouble with the police.


Question: What can I say to an adviser colleague who says that they are fed up with equal opportunities and political correctness, and this is more of the same?

Answer: Challenging discrimination through advice is about empowering people. We can do this by helping our clients to understand their legal rights and use them to challenge and stop discriminatory unfairness. This might be about helping them to keep their job their home, to stop harassment, or get a public authority to treat them fairly.

We help clients to tackle homelessness by advising them on their housing rights and how to use them. One of the reasons we do that is because we understand the impact of homelessness on our clients.

Understanding how our clients experience unfairness, discrimination and disadvantage will make us more likely to recognise unlawful discrimination.

It will also help us make an emotional or empathetic connection with our client’s situation. We are better able to understand disadvantage if we understand why offensive language is offensive for example. It can help us to identify and challenge discrimination if we understand why a cultural practice is important, or how it might feel to face barriers in everyday life because of a physical condition or mental health issue.


Question: Can advice and advocacy be effective in challenging discrimination and inequality?

Answer: Advice and advocacy is most effective when:

  • It has a practical focus of helping clients to resolve their problems
  • We can help clients identify discrimination or inequality issues
  • We are aware of the barriers that may prevent clients from exercising their rights to tackle unfair treatment and discrimination
  • We can use both advice and social policy actions to resolve discrimination and inequality issues
  • We can help our clients to challenge unfair treatment, inequality or discrimination and help them to know how and where to get help
  • We can help clients to take a range of actions e.g. negotiation, court action, ombudsmen, social policy campaigning
  • We can help clients to seek specialist help for resolving discrimination issues
  • We can explain the kinds of remedy or outcomes that can help to resolve discrimination issues.

Question: What is the best way to raise an issue of discrimination with the DWP?

Answer: There are several options available. The best option will depend on the specific circumstances and what you are trying to achieve.

For example, if you are trying to solve a problem by asking for a reasonable adjustment to be made, the most appropriate way could be:

  • Making an entry on a Universal Credit online journal to request a solution
  • Using an escalation route with your local Job Centre Plus
  • Raising the matter in a complaint letter to the Complaints Resolution Team
  • Raising the matter in a complaint letter to the Centre for Health and Disability Assessments (CHDA)
  • As part of a mandatory reconsideration request, revision or supersession request
  • As part of a complaint about poor service or maladministration to the DWP special payments scheme.

Case studies 1 – 6 illustrate how you can do this.

You could also consider:

  • A pre-action letter before claim and County Court action
  • A pre-action letter before claim and a judicial review.

These routes should only be taken after seeking specialist advice from a solicitor or barrister who is experienced in discrimination, public law and welfare benefits.


Question: How do you persuade the DWP to change their decision when it is discriminatory?

Answer: There are four key points to draw on when challenging a discriminatory decision:

One:  The DWP is a public authority and service provider and it must comply with its duties under the Equality Act 2010. It is not exempt from the Act.

However, the DWP may refer to Schedule 22 of the Equality Act 2010 to say that they have not contravened the Equality Act but are taking action to comply with their own legal duties under another enactment. This defence does apply in limited circumstances, so you will need to seek specialist legal advice on how to respond.

Two: The DWP has its own policies and procedures that state its commitment to equality. For example, the DWP has internal guidance on Access to Services guidance. Extracts from this guidance can be obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests (FOI requests). Extracts from this guidance (in slightly different versions) can be found in these two FOI responses, one dated Feb 2016 which includes paras 1 to 43, and one undated extract which includes paras 38 to 122). For example, this includes the following guidance about reasonable adjustments:

“38. DWP has a legal duty under the Equality Act to make reasonable adjustments in all the following circumstances:

  • Where a disabled person is at a substantial disadvantage in relation to a relevant matter in comparison with a non-disabled person we must remove or alter what we do to avoid the disadvantage. This could be a certain practice or physical feature
  • Where, but for the provision of an auxiliary (supporting) aid, a disabled person would be put at a substantial disadvantage in relation to a relevant matter in comparison with a non-disabled person we take reasonable steps to provide the auxiliary aid or service
  • Where the adjustment relates to the provision of information, i.e. letters and correspondence, then this should be provided in an accessible format. For example this could be large print, braille, audio. It could also include the contents being read to the customer by a friend, representative or a member of staff.
  • The duty to make reasonable adjustments is anticipatory: we must not wait until a disabled person wants to use our services before we consider the type of reasonable adjustments needed. We must anticipate the requirements of disabled people and the adjustments that may have to be made for them.”

When referring to DWP internal guidance it is important to check that you are using the most recently available versions.

Three: The DWP should comply with public law and the public sector equality duty in the Equality Act 2010. If a decision or policy is clearly discriminatory it may also be irrational, and subject to public law challenge.

Four: The DWP should comply with the Human Rights Act 1998. Article 14 (non-discrimination) can be used to challenge discrimination by the DWP, alongside one of the other Human Rights Articles (as Article 14 is not ‘free-standing’).


Question: How can discrimination advice help when we are advising someone about, for example, a benefits issue?

Answer: As well as making sure that we have clearly explained discrimination rights, we should also discuss them in the context of other advice issues and rights. There are three main reasons for this:

  • Firstly, discrimination does not happen in a vacuum – it happens to consumers, people using health services, people using housing services. employees and to people using public services.
  • Secondly, we can often only really identify discrimination issues if we know the context in which they are happening. For example if we understand the impact of the ‘bedroom tax’ on disabled people, or the problems that disabled people face with Job Centre Plus processes, or the problems with how care resources are allocated to older people.
  • Thirdly, we want to take a practical approach to helping our clients take action and use their rights in a way that will best solve their problems. This may mean combining rights such as discrimination rights and welfare benefits advice. For example, by raising the issue of discrimination in a mandatory reconsideration request.

Question: Isn’t discrimination just a social policy issue?

Answer: Discrimination can be challenged through advice as well as by advocacy and social policy actions. Our clients may have rights under the Equality Act which they can use to tackle and stop the discrimination. If we use those rights in negotiation and local advocacy we can gain the best outcomes for our clients. Or we can use those rights to help clients take legal action when that is the best route for them.

If clients face lawful discrimination or other kinds of inequality that is unfair, we can help them resolve their situation through advice, negotiation and court action, and also by local advocacy or contributing evidence to national campaigning work.

When our welfare benefits clients experience unlawful discrimination, a clear well-reasoned letter raising discrimination issues as well as welfare benefits issues, can be very effective. Case studies one, two and three provide examples of this approach.


Question: Most of our clients can’t afford to go to court so what is the point of talking to them about discrimination issues?

Answer: Most caseworkers and specialists will tell you that most of their casework is resolved by negotiation.

Legal arguments work best if you can clearly explain how your client’s legal rights have been breached and give a good reasoned argument for their preferred outcome.

Remember, clients will often ask for an ‘outcome’, like an apology or a change in policy, that a court cannot or will not order. However, this might be achieved by negotiation.

It is important to check and advise clients about time limits for court action – you might need this as a back-up. If you are challenging the DWP about discrimination and the issue has not been resolved, then you should consider if you need to signpost or refer your client to a specialist solicitor or barrister. They can advise your client about taking court action for discrimination or judicial review. Legal Aid is available for judicial review claims.


Question: Can you get legal aid for discrimination?

Answer: Yes, your client can get legal aid for an Equality Act discrimination issue about welfare benefits if they are client financially eligible. It is primarily a telephone service.

This section contains an outline template letter to make a complaint to the DWP and raise Equality Act issues.

You may also want to see our discrimination interview checklist.


An outline template letter to make a complaint and raise Equality Act issues

Download this template letter (Word doc.).

Dear [name],

Re: [name of client]

We are instructed by the above named in relation to her claim for [benefit].

We are writing to ask you to [summary of main purpose of letter].

Request for [anytime revision/ mandatory reconsideration etc]/ complaint

We wish you to look again at the decisions [dates, type of decisions].  We would ask that the decisions are [revised etc].  The decisions are [in error/ wrong etc] because…

What has happened

  • [Summary of relevant events, decisions, dates, letters or other communications etc]
  • Our client has already provided to you the following information about her [circumstances/ health condition]
  • [Set out summary of the impact on your client]
  • [Request any information you need about any decision or policy guidance that the DWP will rely on].

Issues of concern

  • [Refer to any relevant policy of DWP and their providers, particularly if it has been disregarded]
  • [Set out any failures to investigate, failure to take account of relevant information, error of law etc].

Breach of Equality Act 2010

[Set out brief details of breaches of Equality Act, including any relevant protected characteristic, which kind of discrimination, impact on your client (e.g. substantial disadvantage), and why there is no justification defence if relevant.

Refer to any relevant guidance in EHRC Code of Practice].

How to put things right

[Set out what your client is asking for.  For example: change to decision, apology, what reasonable adjustments should be made (if relevant), change to policy or procedure, any vulnerable markers to be added, or complex needs to be flagged up, training for staff, compensation for distress].

Documents enclosed

[Form of authority/ consent etc].

Response

[Give realistic time limit for when you expect a response, and what if any action you will take if no response is received. Give details about how and when they can contact you].

Yours,

[Name].

Our handbook contains nine Case Studies. The case studies show:

  • how to identify discrimination issues in welfare benefits advice
  • how equality rights can help to solve problems in welfare benefits advice
  • how to take further action and get more help.

These case studies illustrate how you can identify discrimination issues in welfare benefits, and how you can use the tools in this handbook to help you do that.

The first six case studies are arranged in three parts:

  • Is it discrimination? What happened? What went wrong?
  • How can equality rights help to solve problems in welfare benefits advice? Why did it go wrong?
  • Taking action about discrimination and finding more help. What can you do?

What the case studies are about

Using equality rights when giving welfare benefits advice

Six case studies are examples of everyday welfare benefit issues affecting individual clients. They show how to identify discrimination, how advice on equality rights can help to solve welfare benefit problems, and how to take action.

The first six case studies, looking at using equality rights when giving advice, are:

One: Bella and Employment Support Allowance.  Client did not attend Work Capability Assessment and is asking for another appointment. This example includes correspondence with DWP Complaints Resolution Team

  • Discrimination because of something arising in consequence of disability (section 15 Equality Act 2010)
  • A failure to make reasonable adjustments (section 20 Equality Act 2010)
  • Breach of public sector equality duty (section 149 Equality Act 2010).

Two: Alice and Employment Support Allowance.  Client did not attend Work Capability Assessment and is asking for a scrutiny decision. This example includes correspondence with DWP Complaints Resolution Team.

  • Discrimination because of something arising in consequence of disability (section 15 Equality Act 2010)
  • Failure to make a reasonable adjustment (section 20 Equality Act 2010).

Three: Elsa and Employment Support Allowance.  A request for home-based work capability assessment. This example includes correspondence with the Centre for Health and Disability Assessments.

  •  A failure to make reasonable adjustments (section 20 Equality Act 2010).

Four: Pat and Tony and a refusal of Discretionary Housing Payment, after taking Personal Independence Payment into account.

  • Breach of public sector equality duty (section 149 Equality Act 2010).

Five: John and Making and managing a Universal Credit claim.  Understanding the Claimant Commitment.

  • A failure to make reasonable adjustments (section 20 Equality Act 2010)
  • Breach of public sector equality duty (section 149 Equality Act 2010).

Six: Florence and Employment Support Allowance sanctions. Client is sanctioned for failure to take part in work related activity.

  • A failure to make reasonable adjustments (section 20 Equality Act 2010)
  • Discrimination because of something arising in consequence of a disability in breach of Section 15 / Section 29.

Case studies: equality policy issues in welfare benefits

Three case studies are short discussions of equality issues in welfare benefits that can affect individual clients. They also show how wider equality social policy issues can be identified in welfare benefits work.

Seven: Universal Credit and support for mortgage interest.

  • Disproportionate impact on disabled people, women and single parents.

Eight: Universal Credit and work allowances.

  • Disproportionate impact on disabled parents.

Nine: Universal Credit assessment periods and payments.

  • Disproportionate impact on disabled people and women.

These equality resources will assist advisers who want to use equality rights to help them solve problems when they are advising clients about welfare benefits.

The Aire Centre (Advice on Individual Rights in Europe)

The AIRE Centre is a specialist charity whose mission is to promote awareness of European law rights and assist marginalised individuals and those in vulnerable circumstances to assert those rights. They:

  • take cases to the European Court of Human Rights
  • provide legal advice to other lawyers and advisers in the voluntary sector
  • provide legal advice to individuals directly
  • carry out training and drafting reports and other publications.

Bar Pro Bono Unit

The Bar Pro Bono Unit is a charity which helps to find pro bono (free) legal assistance from volunteer barristers. It can assist with:

  • advice, representation and help at mediation
  • cases in all legal areas (including discrimination)
  • cases where proceedings have not yet been started
  • cases in all tribunals and courts in England and Wales.

Pro bono assistance is only available to those who cannot afford to pay and who cannot obtain public funding (Legal Aid). An application can only be made by an advice agency or a lawyer, not by an individual seeking help.

British and Irish Legal Information Institute

This comprehensive website offers free case reports and legislation on all areas of law.

Note that if you search for this site, and cases on this site, using the Google search engine, it often does not appear in the list of results. However, it does appear if you search for it using other search engines.

British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR)

The British Institute of Human Rights provides a range of information, resources, training and consultancy around human rights issues.

Civil Legal Aid

Civil Legal Aid is available to provide legal advice on discrimination issues. It is primarily a telephone based service. Access to the service is through a call centre gateway. The CLA Gateway number is
Telephone: 0345 345 4 345
Minicom: 0345 609 6677
Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm
Saturday, 9am to 12:30pm.

The service is only available to those who are eligible.  If you check your eligibility on the Civil Legal Aid website pages, at the page asking ‘where did the discrimination occur’ if the query is about discrimination in welfare benefits, your answer should be ‘while you were using a service’ or ‘someone was carrying out a public function.’ The next page will check financial eligibility. If the financial eligibility check is satisfactory, there is an option for you to call the CLA Gateway direct, or to ask for them to call you back.

Child Poverty Action Group

The Child Poverty Action Group campaigns on poverty and publishes an extensive range of books and resources on social security and welfare benefits issues. It also has a help for advisers section, giving information about telephone and email advice for advisers.

AskCPAG

A series of web pages from the Child Poverty Action Group giving information on frequently asked questions about welfare rights, including the 2-child limit and Discretionary Housing Payments.

Children’s Legal Centre

The Children’s Legal Centre provides legal advice, information and representation on a wide range of issues affecting children’s rights.

Court Service

The official site for the court service providing access to Supreme Court judgments, and selected judgments of the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

DWP Decision makers guidance

The DWP publishes its decision makers guidance for DWP staff who make decisions about benefits and pensions.

The DWP also publishes the guidance it provides for decisions about UC, PIP, and contribution-based ESA and JSA. This is known as ‘advice for decision making.’

Disability Law Service

The Disability Law Service provides advice and training on disability discrimination law. The website includes useful factsheets to download.

Disability Rights UK

Disability Rights UK is led by people with diverse experiences of disability and health conditions. It campaigns to strengthen and protect disabled people’s rights.

Discrimination Law Association (DLA)

DLA is a membership organisation which brings together a broad range of people and organisations interested in preventing and opposing discrimination. Its activities include responding to government consultations, practitioner group meetings (London, Birmingham and Manchester), briefings, email updates, conferences and seminars.

Equality and Advisory Support Service (EASS)

The Equality and Advisory Support Service (EASS) advises and assists individuals on issues relating to equality and human rights, across England, Scotland and Wales. It can support people who wish to resolve their issue using alternative informal dispute resolution. The EASS helpline does not provide legal advice.

Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

EHRC Advisers Support Helpline

This EHRC also provides an Advisers Support Helpline. The Advisers Support Helpline can provide telephone-based advice on discrimination and human rights issues and cases, for advisers in the advice sector and solicitors.

It is staffed by lawyers. The Advisers Support Helpline is open in core office hours, Monday to Friday. If staff are engaged, there is an option to leave a message and they will call you back.

The telephone numbers are:

England: 0161 829 8190
Wales: 029 2044 7790

Note: the Advisers Support Helpline is not for individual members of the public. Individual members of the public should contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS).

EHRC Legal Support Project

The EHRC’s Legal Support Project for social security discrimination claims.

EHRC resources for advisers

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has a useful page on its website which brings together some of their most useful resources for advisers, in one place.

EHRC Reading Lists

A selection of reading lists on equality themes.

EHRC Codes of Practice and Technical Guidance

This page contains the Codes of Practice and Technical Guidance produced by the EHRC on the Equality Act 2010. They contain many useful examples showing how the Equality Act applies and can be used.  The Code of Practice is statutory guidance which should be taken into account by a Court in any case where it appears to be relevant (section 15 Equality Act 2006). Technical Guidance is non statutory guidance.

Equal Treatment Bench Book

The Equal Treatment Bench Book is produced by the Judicial College. The most recent version was published in February 2018, with online navigation and a pdf version.

Equality and Diversity Forum (EDF)

The host of this resource, and  a national network of organisations working across all areas of equality and human rights.  Find out more about us.

Equality and Human Rights Commission

The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s website includes resources on all strands of discrimination law, across all areas.

European Court of Human Rights

Information about the historical background of the court, procedure and judgments.

European

Access to judgments, Advocate Generals Opinions and advice on procedure.

European Union Law Portal

A portal to European Union law resources.

Fawcett Society

The Fawcett Society campaigns for gender equality and women’s rights. In 2015 it published a report called ‘Where’s the Benefit’ on the impact of Job Seekers Allowance on women.

Free Representation Unit (FRU)

FRU provides representation in employment and social security hearings. They only take cases from eferral agencies and cannot guarantee representation. They help people who are not eligible for legal aid and cannot afford lawyers. Their work is done by volunteers, mostly law students and legal professionals in the early stages of their career.

Friends, Families and Travellers

Friends, Families and Travellers aims to end racism and discrimination against Gypsies Roma and Travellers.  They offer a helpline on 01273 234 777, open Monday-Friday, 10:00am-4:30pm, excluding Bank Holidays.

 Fundamental Rights Agency

The website of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights.

Its Handbook on European non-discrimination law (March 2018) is available to download for free.

Gov.uk

Homepage detailing the public information and services provided by the UK government.

Government Equalities Office

The Government Equalities Office (GEO) is responsible for:

  • improving equality and reducing discrimination and disadvantage for all in the UK; improving people’s life chances at work, and in public and political life
  • taking the lead on the Equality Act 2010
  • the lead government department on gender, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB&T) issues in government including the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, and Civil Partnership Act 2004
  • supporting and implementing international equality measures in the UK, including our international commitments to:
    • the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
    • the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action
    • the European Union strategic engagement for gender equality 2016 – 2019.

Information Commissioner’s Office

The Information Commissioner’s website has information about obtaining information from public bodies including:

Kalayaan – Justice for Migrant Workers

Kalayaan is a small London-based charity which provides practical advice and support to, as well as campaign with and for, the rights of migrant domestic workers in the UK. They give immigration advice and basic employment advice.

Law Centres Network

Law Centres offer legal advice, casework and representation to individuals and groups, and campaign on social welfare law and access to justice issues. They have a list of Law Centres with legal aid contracts for welfare benefits Upper Tribunal work.

LawWorks

LawWorks is a charity which connects volunteer lawyers with people in need of legal advice, who can’t afford to pay and are not eligible for legal aid.

Legal Action Group

Legal Action Group is a national, independent charity which promotes equal access to justice for all members of society who are socially, economically or otherwise disadvantaged.

Liberty

Liberty campaigns for civil liberties and human rights in the UK. They have an Advice Line, which provides advice and information to the public on human rights and other advice services.

Advice Line: 0845 123 2307 or 020 3145 0461

Maternity Action

Maternity Action campaigns to end inequality and improve the health and well-being of pregnant women, partners and young children. They publish information sheets and provide an Advice Line on maternity rights.

Michael Rubenstein Conferences Ltd (MRCL)

MRCL hosts an annual Discrimination Law conference with the TUC, and also publishes an annual Guide to Discrimination Case Law (mainly employment, but other areas too).

MIND

MIND have a legal team who can do a limited amount of casework. They provide a Legal Line to provide legal information and general advice on mental health related law covering including human rights and discrimination/equality related to mental health issues. You can call the Legal Line on 0300 466 6463, 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays) or email at legal@mind.org.uk

Public Law Project

A national legal charity which aims to improve access to public law remedies for those whose access is restricted by poverty, discrimination or other similar barriers.  They have an extensive resources page.

rightsnet

rightsnet provides daily news and caselaw updates across five areas of social welfare law, including welfare benefits. Its free online forums provide peer to peer case work support. It also publishes specific advice tools including universalcreditinfo.netpipinfo.net and wcainfo.net.  There is also a paid-for subscription service.

RNIB

RNIB provides a legal service for help with benefits appeals, community care issues and challenging discrimination for people who are blind or partially sighted.

They can provide with legal rights information, advice and, where possible, formal representation, including taking cases to court or tribunal. They advise on the Equality Act, community care and welfare benefits law relating to sight loss.

To use the Helpline, call 0303 123 9999 and select option seven. A Sight Loss Adviser who will discuss your case and agree on the appropriate course of action. If RNIB can help you, your case will be dealt with by the Sight Loss Adviser or referred into the Legal Rights Service.  You can also email directly at legalrights@rnib.org.uk.

Statutes

The official site of the primary legislation of the UK.

What do they know?

This site has a searchable database of Freedom of Information requests and the responses. If you are considering making a Freedom of Information request, it is useful to look at this website.

Z2K

Zacchaeus 2000 Trust (also known as Z2K) is an advice and campaigning charity working across London to solve problems within the social security and welfare benefits system Their website has a series of blogs about benefit issues.

Next Steps

The next section; ‘Managing discrimination advice’ includes guides and practical resources to help you challenge discrimination, as well as information about referring cases or finding more help for your client.

 

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