Funding keeps Uttlesford’s disability benefits team afloat
- Credit: Archant
The district’s disability benefits team has secured funding for another year – after fears the service would have to close to its hundreds of users.
In October, the Reporter highlighted the importance of the team at the Uttlesford’s Citizens Advice Bureau, which helps hundreds of people with disabilities receive the benefits they are entitled to, free of charge.
Now funding has been secured thanks to Seabright Fund, administered by Essex Community Foundation – and the team of volunteers are set to be extra busy too, with changes affecting benefits claimants coming into place.
Around 1,2000 working age people currently receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in the district are likely to be affected, as the government replaces the scheme with the new Personel Independence Payment (PIP).
The new benefit will require an independent medical assessment and last for a fixed time – which may be a struggle for those needing to claim.
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Lyndie Taylor of the disability benefits team said:
“We are obviously concerned that people will struggle with the new assessments – or perhaps even ignore requests to reapply as they had thought that their benefit lasted indefinitely.”
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“Since we know from our experience that people use these benefits to support their additional needs with home help, heating and getting about, any change can have a significant impact on their health and welfare.”
“If you get a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions about change to the way your benefit is assessed please don’t worry. One of our team of friendly experienced volunteers can come and see you and help you with your application. We can also help with applications for Attendance Allowance, Employment Support Allowance and with DLA applications for children. Please call us on 01799 618840 to arrange an appointment.”
As well as the change to existing benefits, the disability benefits team can help with getting additional support when it is needed. In 2014, they helped 354 people with benefits advice, resulting in payments of benefits worth a total of £987,378 per year as well as referrals for support on many other matters such as transport, safety, household adaptations, energy bills, befriending schemes, carers, and respite care.
To find out more go about the service go to uttlesfordcab.org.uk, or email email@example.com. The Saffron Walden office is open from 9.30am to 3.30pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The Great Dunmow branch is open from 9.30am to 3.30pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.