Chinese Community Centre – Birmingham Summer Bulletin 2022

Welcome to our Summer Bulletin. In our Spring Bulletin, we set out Government help with fuel costs. Since then, the Government has announced a wider set of measures to hep with the cost of living. These are set out below.

Help with fuel bills:

April – Council Tax Rebate: £150 Council Tax rebate for people living in band A-D properties. Those paying Council Tax by direct debit should have had the money paid into their bank accounts. If you pay your Council Tax some other way, your council should have contacted you.

October – Energy Bills Support Scheme: every domestic energy customer in England, Scotland & Wales will receive a £400 reduction on their energy bills from October. If you live in rented accommodation and your rent includes energy bills, your landlord is required to pass the discount on to you. If you have old style gas or electricity meters, you will receive vouchers towards paying for your fuel.

The Council Tax Rebate and Energy Bills Support Scheme payments do not have to be repaid. There is no opt-out mechanism if you do not wish to receive help because the Government wanted to keep administration simple and low cost.

Cost of Living Payments [COLP]

With 9% inflation on top of rising fuel costs and many people struggling to make ends meet, the Government announced further measure to help with the cost of living:

1) Low income benefits & Tax Credits

You may get a payment of £650 [£326 + £324] if you receive any of the benefits listed below in the qualifying period:

  • Universal Credit (UC)
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)*
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

* ‘new style’ benefits only included if you also receive Universal Credit

To get the £326 COLP, you must have been entitled to receive a payment of UC during an assessment period ending 26 April 2022 – 25 May 2022. The qualifying period for the £324 COLP are still to be announced.

The £326 COLP should be received in July for people in receipt of benefits and Pension Credit; the £324 COLP is due in Autumn. People receiving Tax Credits should receive their £326 COLP in Autumn, and the £324 COLP in winter.

2) Disability COLP

You may get a payment of £150 if you receive any of the benefits listed below for 25 May 2022:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance for adults
  • Disability Living Allowance for children
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Adult Disability Payment (in Scotland)
  • Child Disability Payment (in Scotland)
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • War Pension Mobility Supplement

Disability COLP will be paid in September 2022.

3) Pensioner COLP

If you are entitled to a Winter Fuel Payment for winter 2022 to 2023, you will get an extra £300 for your household paid with your normal payment from November 2022. This is in addition to any COLP you get with other qualifying benefits or Tax Credits. The total amount you will receive will depend on your circumstances, see table below. The extra £300 will be paid with your winter fuel payment in November. This is a one-off payment for the 2022-23 winter payment only.

Don’t miss out on the Pensioner’s COLP!

You may not have been receiving Pension Credit in the qualifying period because you hadn’t claimed it. As it is a ‘passport’ benefit for the Pensioner’s COLP, it is worth checking whether you were entitled. Pension Credit can be backdated by 3 months – if you were entitled and claim by 18th August, you will qualify for the Pensioner’s COLP. Even 1p Pension Credit will give you the right to receive the COLP.

What to do now:

1. Check your entitlement to Pension Credit in the qualifying period 26 April 2022 – 25 May 2022

2. If you were entitled, make your claim no later than 18th August

3. Make sure you ask for backdating – backdating is not automatic so you must ask for it

Discretionary Support Fund

Some citizens are liable to pay energy bills and/or Council Tax but do not qualify for any of the grants above. The Government has funded a discretionary support fund to be administered by local councils. The amount of payment and claim process varies. We have put the website links below for Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull councils (the areas where most of our Members live)

Birmingham https://bit.ly/3BlMGPK
Sandwell https://bit.ly/3vg0OWY
Solihull https://bit.ly/3BmsygD

Sources:

Energy Bills Support Scheme explainer

Cost of Living Payment

Grants and benefits to help you pay your energy bills

 

Beware the scammers!

COLP will be paid automatically if you qualify -there is no need to claim. Ignore any text messages or emails purporting to come from a DWP, HMRC or other Government Department asking for your details so they can pay you OR offers to help for a fee -these are scams.

If you need help to check your entitlements, you can book an appointment with our Information, Advice & Guidance IAG Service. Call Chloe Yip 0121 685 8510.

Health Matters

Covid

Covid cases have increased over the last few months as new variants appeared. Although a rise in cases has been followed by increased hospitalisations, the incidence of hospital cases and deaths has not been at the levels seen in 2020 and 2021. Vaccination has played a huge part in this improved situation but Public Health Birmingham has expressed concern about the lower numbers of citizens who have had the booster jab including in the Chinese community, especially among older people. Vaccines do not necessarily stop you catching viruses – they reduce the severity of disease and chance of dying. The effect is not permanent which is why it is important to have the booster when offered.

Dept for Health & Social Care [DHSC] has published the priority list for the Autumn booster. It is possible that you will be offered a combined Covid/flu vaccine. No need to call your GP – you will be contacted.

CCC-B News

Annual General Meeting (AGM)

During lockdown we were legally excused from holding our annual general meeting. Our AGM in April was the first face-to-face AGM for 2 years. Old and new Members gave their views about the activities and services they would like CCC-B to provide. Our Board Chair Dr Yeow Poon made the sad announcement of his terminal illness. Dr Poon has given CCC-B many years of dedicated service but is now stepping back as Vice Chair James Tseng takes on more of the role. We are very grateful to both for their commitment and hard work.

Tribute video

We plan to make a video paying tribute to Dr Poon and invite CCC-B Members to contribute their memories and thoughts. If you would like to do this, please call Chloe Yip 0121 685 8510 to register your interest.

We raised £80.00 through the raffle which will go towards purchasing a new projector and screen.

Tuesday Club

Tuesday Club started in June. It’s a social club targeting people aged 50+ that will normally meet on the second Tuesday of each month. The club is supported by volunteers as part of our Winter’s Spring project. A variety of activities will be offered including walks and visits to places of interest during the warmer months. Membership is free to people 50+; £6 for 6 months for people under 50. In July, a group of 21 members visited Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, and afterwards the Council’s award-winning Chelsea Flower Show display in Pigeon Park

August Tuesday Club

Common Wealth Table & Perry Trail – 9th August

The next Tuesday Club will take place 9th August.

St Philips Cathedral have invited Tuesday Club members to ‘Common Wealth Table’ – food & sharing stories in Cathedral Square (Pigeon Park).

Only 10 places available – for over-50s only

Booking essential, first come first served.

Afterwards, we will go on a mini Perry Trail – weather dependent.

Perry is the Commonwealth Games mascot. There are 17 giant Perry statues + 8 digital avatars around the city – we will look for statutes and avatars between Pigeon Park and CCC-B.

 

August Wellbeing Forum – Tuesday 23rd August

In August, Paul Wiltshire, Project Manager at Warmer Homes West Midlands, will return to give an update on Government help with fuel cost, energy capping with tips on fuel efficiency including grants. The event will be held in our community hall with the option of joining via Zoom.

Call Chloe 0121 6858510 to sign up to Tuesday Club or book places at Wellbeing Forum.

We’re looking at dance programmes. Please complete our survey to help us make decisions.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/YRBR9P6

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