Shine news

Benefits Update - September 2019

16th September 2019


Shine’s Disability Benefits Advisory Service aims to help more members access key disability benefits.

The new service is open to all members and will offer specialist advice and one-to-one support.

Whether you are a parent looking after children with complex needs, a young adult at college, work or setting up home, or someone coping with later in life issues, the Disability Benefits Advisory Service is here to support you.

We will:

  • Work with members on a one to one basis to resolve specific benefit related issues
  • Support members to claim appropriate entitlement to benefits
  • Assist members who've been refused applications for benefits
  • Provide information and tools to help members better understand their rights and entitlement
  • Represent the needs and views of our members at regional and national level
  • Keep up to date with the latest developments in welfare policy and practice


Keep an eye out for our monthly Benefit updates!


This month we look at some issues you may encounter with Universal Credit:

Flexible Support Fund (FSF)

Universal Credit is paid monthly in arrears, which may cause issues for some claimants. Childcare costs are paid at 85% of fees up to a monthly maxmium of £646.35 for 1 child or £1108.04 for 2 or more children. Often people have to pay £100s in childcare costs to their childcare provider up front, and with Universal Credit being paid in arrears this has been shown to be a disincentive to work as it makes it very difficult to budget and pay rent.

The government have confirmed that help in advance is available from the Flexible Support Fund (FSF).  Clients should contact their work coach in the Job Centre to enquire about this.

The Flexible Support Fund is a discretionary fund that work coaches can use to support eligible claimants to get closer to or move into work. On 11th January 2019, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions announced that the FSF could also be used more widely to pay for upfront childcare costs, until the claimant receives their first wage. The availability of this fund is actively promoted in jobcentres and to all claimants who might benefit.

Mandatory Reconsideration

If you disagree with the outcome of a Universal Credit application, you can request a Mandatory Reconsideration. You can do this in a number of ways:

  • Call the number on the decision letter.
  • Write to the address on the letter.
  • Write the request in your Online Journal, remember to include why you disagree with the decision and provide your National Insurance Number.


If you have any questions, and/or need support please contact your local Support and Development Worker (SDW) directly or via Shine’s office by email or phone 01733 555988.

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