Call for benefit appeals such as PIPs and Universal Credit be removed from courthouses

Posted by
editor@newrytimes.com
Friday, May 29th, 2020
Community

A member of Stormont’s Justice Committee has proposed that a reconfiguration of courthouses in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis is used as an opportunity to remove benefit appeals from what she described as “such an inappropriate environment”.

Local MLA Sinead Bradley said that people challenging decisions relating to social security awards are often vulnerable.

 

 

They should, she said, be supported rather than feeling like they have done something wrong.

Speaking to Newry Times, Sinead said, “The use of courthouses for Benefit Appeal Tribunals is, in my view, entirely inappropriate.

“It sends a damaging message to those who are seeking to challenge decisions about their entitlement to support.

 

 

“The people forced to challenge awards are often vulnerable and our focus should be on supporting them to get the right result rather than subjecting them to a criminal justice environment.

 

 

“Our Court Houses will undergo a reconfiguration process as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

“I have proposed that we use that process as the opportunity to remove benefit appeals from these formal environments.

 

 

She added, “The Justice Minister and the Minister for Communities must move on this issue to support vulnerable people.”

 

Keep up to date with all the latest Northern Ireland Coronavirus / Covid-19 news HERE

 

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