We are very experienced in dealing with the many different benefits that people can claim
Very experienced in dealing with the many different benefits that people can claim in England and Wales
At M2M Community Solicitors LLP we are very experienced in dealing with the many different benefits that people can claim in England and Wales. Which benefits you will be entitled to is dependent upon your personal and financial circumstance. There are many free agencies and even the Government website will inform you of which benefits you may be entitled to claim based on your circumstance.
M2M Community Solicitors LLP are here to assist if you have been refused a benefit or you have been awarded a benefit at a certain rate and you believe that you are entitled to a higher rate.
We will obtain your instructions and assess whether we think you fulfil the criteria for that benefit.
Free legal assistance provided by the Legal Aid Agency for welfare benefit cases at the lower stages was taken away in April 2013 but is still available for the higher stage.
Our clients tend to approach us at the lower stage where a decision has just been made. Dependent upon which benefit you have claimed will depend on whether you need to send a request for a Mandatory Reconsideration, you need to appeal a decision or request a review or supersession. We also assist clients with appealing the decision at a slightly later point to the Independent Tribunal and if unsuccessful, can take the matter to the Upper Tribunal.
This is the point where you may still be able to receive free legal assistance and in such circumstances we will advise clients to obtain the free legal help (provided they fulfil the criteria of the Legal Aid Agency for free legal help). If not, we can of course assist with that.
Examples of types of cases we deal with are as follows:
These can be as follows:
Benefit Appeals in relation to medical assessments. We assist with the whole process in relation to the appeals and can prepare written submissions to assist at a hearing if the matter is not resolved at the point of the mandatory reconsideration decision. Each case has to be decided on its own merit. This means that just because for example client A knows someone else who has the same condition and receives a particular benefit, it will not mean that client B will be entitled to and receive the same benefit. The case would need to be assessed. We have been very successful in appealing decisions with a positive outcome for our clients. We have found for many years that the medical assessor has not taken into consideration all of the information that our client’s had informed them of and based on the accounts by our clients, the information contained within their medical report is inaccurate or incomplete. In addition, the assessor must have the ability to be able to assess a person’s medical condition and in our opinion not all assessors are able to do this. There are currently cases at the Upper Tribunal on this point of law. This information must be flagged up
Overpayment Decisions. A person can be informed at any time that they have an overpayment of a particular benefit. The reason must be given. It can be quite easy for someone to say that the overpayment decision is valid however this is not a simple and straight forward decision to make. There have been many errors as it appears that those who make the overpayment decisions do not fully understand the relevant legislation and therefore we have been successful in challenging a large number of overpayment decisions. Some decisions can be overturned at an early stage of the appeals process whereas other decision will be made by a First tier Tribunal.
Benefit Fraud Cases. We can only assist in respect of the civil side to a benefit fraud allegation as we do not deal with criminal law matters. This is a very common problem for people and does need to be addressed and dealt with rather than it being left. If a person fails to deal with this type of case not only will they end up paying money back, which they may not need to do but it can affect the rest of their life including being open to criminal prosecution and problems with their current job and/or any future employment.
We can assist with all stages on the civil side
We can assist with all stages on the civil side from attendance at a meeting with the relevant benefit agency to dealing with the matter at the Tribunal.
The main benefits clients approach us for assistance with are below although there are many more:
Bereavement related benefits
Council Tax Benefit (we also advise on exemptions and discounts to council tax)
Disability Living Allowance
Employment and Support Allowance
Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
Frequently Asked Questions
Pension Credit – savings and guarantee credit
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
Statutory Sick Pay
There are many strict deadlines for claims and appeals for welfare benefits, therefore it is essential to obtain clear advice sooner rather than later. If you miss a deadline, you can miss out on what you are entitled to.
Can I get Legal Aid to help with my case?
Legal Aid is not available for bankruptcy cases. We do charge for our services and the amount will depend on what work is required. There are many places providing bankruptcy advice and some of those are free services however, they are not all specialist bankruptcy advisors and based on our experience and feedback from other client’s incorrect advice has been given by others on whether a person should be declared bankrupt. All matters should be fully assessed prior to any advice being given so that advisors are aware of all correct information, most commonly whether clients are home owners. Seeking advice from a person experienced in dealing with bankruptcy is the safer option.
What does the beneficial interest in another person’s property mean?
When a person owns a property, there is legal ownership and equitable ownership through a person’s beneficial ownership. This is a complex argument to make in many cases but is relevant in cases where the property is owned by one person but another person has contributed money to the property but is not the legal owner. This can be by paying the deposit or towards the deposit, making mortgage payments, carrying out work in the property to increase the value of the property. We have successfully established a person’s beneficial interest in a property by negotiation which is cheaper than if the matter proceeded to Court where the amounts achieved have ranged dependent on the amount of evidence clients have been able to produce.
What do I need to bring to a meeting?
We will need you to bring photographic identification such as a valid driving licence or passport, a utility bill with your name and address dated within 3 months of the meeting and proof of your income for example a payslip or bank statement showing income being paid into your account.
You should also bring a copy of any Court papers you have if you are already bankrupt and any correspondence from the Insolvency Service, Official Receiver and/or Trustee in Bankruptcy. If you are not yet bankrupt but have received a Statutory Demand then a copy of the Statutory Demand and a list of all debts that you have with the last correspondence from each creditor showing who you owe, the amount you owe and the type of debt, whether that is a loan, catalogue, credit card, utility bill or other debt.
You should also bring with you a list of your income with proof such as payslips, benefit letters and bank account statements showing all of your income being paid into your account(s) and a list of your expenditure with proof so for each utility bills, a copy of the bills, a copy of your Council Tax letter, receipts if you have them from your shopping and such alike.
If you believe that you have a beneficial interest in a property owned by another person, which could be your husband/wife, mother/father, partner, son/daughter or friend then bring in proof of what you believe you contributed towards the property. This could be proof that you paid towards the deposit for the property, proof you have paid the mortgage or paid for works in the property which has led to the value of the property increasing such as a house extension.