Students help secure vital benefits for some of Leeds most vulnerable people

Students in the School of Law have helped people living with long-term health conditions or disabilities get access to vital benefits payments.

The Welfare Rights Project, which has been run by the School of Law in conjunction with Leeds City Council’s Welfare Rights Unit since 2016, provides one-to-one support from undergraduate volunteers to applicants for the Personal Independent Payment (PIP) scheme. PIP is a benefit which helps with the costs of long-term health conditions or disabilities for people aged 16-64.

PIP applicants are not entitled to any legal aid to complete the complicated forms meaning clients either have to complete the form independently, or seek assistance from organisations such as charities. Many are often unable to fill in the form independently due to language barriers or learning difficulties. Support with completing the form is therefore of great importance to many clients, and the student volunteers have been able to help a large number of clients in one of the most economically deprived areas of Leeds.

Between October 2017 and March 2018 our students have seen over 100 applicants. Of these, 84 have already received a decision about their claim and 51 of those have been successful. This equates to a weekly benefit gain of £4,593.15 or £238,843.80 annually.