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Meet our Welfare Changes specialist advisers

Law Centre (NI) specialist legal advisers on welfare reform changes Ronald Vellem and Carolyn Rhodes

Law Centre (NI) specialist welfare reform legal advisers, Ronald Vellem and Carolyn Rhodes, can answer queries from frontline welfare reform advisers and advice centres on any complex welfare reform related issues affecting their clients.

The Law Centre provides specialist legal advice to both the public and to frontline advisers and takes cases to Tribunal where appropriate.

Issues arising in the initial months of operation include challenges to decisions to end Disability Living Allowance and in the awarding of Personal Independence Payment, particularly problems with: 

  • the new mandatory reconsideration of awards under initial challenge;
  • delays in the payment of benefits during the transfer; and
  • the administration of mitigating payments.

Further challenges will no doubt arise in the phased roll-out of Universal Credit.

The Law Centre’s Welfare Reform advisers form part ofthe wider Welfare Reform Project. 
The Project is funded by Department for Communities and also includes Advice NI and Citizen’s Advice frontline advisers.

The Welfare Reform Project was launched in November 2016 to provide advice and legal assistance to people affected by the government’s reform of social security provision and the roll out of Universal Credit.

The Project is funded by Department for Communities and also includes Advice NI and Citizen’s Advice frontline advisers.

The free, independent Welfare Changes Helpline is available on 0808 802 0020, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Face-to-face support is also available across the 11 council areas in local Citizens Advice and Advice NI offices.

Specialist legal advice is available from Law Centre (NI) who can arrange access to specialist legal services as required. 

These services are free for anyone who needs help or advice relating to any of the changes to the welfare system.

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