Uttlesford CAB team targets benefits maze

PUBLISHED: 10:03 24 July 2009 | UPDATED: 21:51 31 May 2010

DISABLED people are missing out on thousands of pounds worth of benefits because of difficulty filling in complex forms, the Uttlesford Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has revealed. Now, a disability take-up project run by Uttlesford CAB has been awarded fu

DISABLED people are missing out on thousands of pounds worth of benefits because of difficulty filling in complex forms, the Uttlesford Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has revealed.

Now, a disability take-up project run by Uttlesford CAB has been awarded funding by Essex County Council and Nationwide to help tackle the problem in the region.

Manager of Uttlesford CAB Kate Robson said: "We are acting as a pilot for linking financial advice to disability benefit take-up work and if the project is successful it could be a model that is replicated by other CABs over the country."

A team of nine volunteers work across the district to help people with disabilities and caring requirements by checking their benefit entitlements and helping them fill in applications.

A supervisor at the Uttlesford CAB said: "Many people with disabilities miss out on the benefits they are entitled to because they can't fill out the complex forms themselves.

"Often quite intimate questions are asked on the forms and people cover things up which they should really disclose. Specialist advice is often needed so that people don't get turned down.

"The forms can be the biggest obstacle in the way of people with genuine disabilities from getting the help that they need."

The project's volunteers have been trained to provide advice on purchasing large items (like mobility scooters), income maximisation and minimising outgoings - for example looking at fuel bills.

The funding has been used by the team to increase their knowledge on financial awareness.

Uttlesford CAB's financial capability coordinator, Julie Haines, said: "People living with disabilities or caring needs should not need to be worrying about money - by linking financial advice and benefit take-up work we hope to really target advice where and when it is needed."

Anyone who needs advice on benefits or financial matters can contact Uttlesford CAB on 0844 477 5986.


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