Trio win back right to benefits books

Two people with learning difficulties who had their benefits books
ripped up in front of them by a Jobcentre Plus officer have had
them reinstated.

The officer took the action after deciding that the pair could not
manage their finances. A third person with learning difficulties
living in the same flat in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, has also had
the book replaced after it was removed.

The trio received new books after Gateshead Council asked Jobcentre
Plus to reassess their cases. Agency staff are now to go on
awareness training in light of the incidents.

A council spokesperson said: “Employees are keen to take up
awareness training from Advocacy Gateshead and current procedures
are to be reviewed in September.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said it was
standard practice to destroy benefits books immediately if it was
felt their safety could not be assured.

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