Benefits and Advocacy support

Personal Independence Payment

As you may already know Disability Living Allowance (DLA), for people between the ages of 16 and 64, is being replaced by the Personal Independence Payment (PIP). This is a new benefit and the qualifying criteria is different to that for DLA.

Over the next 2 years everyone, in the relevant age group who is receiving DLA, will be sent a letter inviting them to make a claim for PIP. When you receive your letter it is important that you act as soon as possible, as making a claim can take some time and your DLA could stop. If you don’t make a claim for PIP your DLA will stop.

You need not do anything until the Department of Works and Pensions contact you unless your current award of DLA runs out.

We have specialist welfare rights workers who can assist with you application, and advocates who can support you through the process.

This is something that many people are worried about but we will do everything we can to help you through it. We can help by filling in the application form on your behalf, preparing you for and attending the medical assessment with you and being there to answer any questions you may have.

If you have any queries or require any further information please contact Gordon Moody on 0191 456 0546

Welfare Rights and Advocacy Support

Our Welfare Rights and Advocacy Support Service is funded by the Big Lottery. It provides essential advice and assistance to visually impaired people.

Welfare Rights

All of our service users are given a Benefits Health Check to make sure they are receiving the benefits they are entitled to.

Where people are not getting the right benefits our specialist welfare rights workers will help them to make a claim. The team are experts when it comes to helping visually impaired people with disability benefits such as Attendance Allowance, Personal Independence Payments, Disability Living Allowance and Employment Support Allowance.

It is essential that visually impaired people get the right help when applying for disability benefits. There is often little understanding amongst generalist advice workers of the difficulties faced by visually impaired people. Most of the questions on the application forms are slanted towards physical disabilities and it isn’t always apparent how they are relevant to people with sight loss.

A welfare rights worker will visit you at home to help you complete the application form. They will prepare you for and support you to attend any medical assessments. They will request a reconsideration of your case if the initial application is unsuccessful. They will help you with the appeal process where necessary.

Advocacy

Our Advocacy service is all about helping visually impaired people have their voices heard on matters that are important to them.

If you need any help sorting out matters which you feel unable to handle on your own an advocate may be the answer.
Your advocate will only do what you want them to do. They can support and assist you:

To express your views and concerns

By being with you when you meet with professionals including health and social care staff

By getting you the information that you need so that you know all the options open to you

By consulting you and keeping you informed during the advocacy process

By sticking to your brief, however difficult, until you have achieved what you can

By referring you to additional support services, if appropriate

For more information or to talk to an advocate or welfare rights worker contact:

Gateshead - Pauline Kemp on 0191 478 5959 or email pauline.kemp@sightservice.co.uk
South Tyneside - Gordon Moody on 0191 456 0546 or email gordon.moody@sightservice.co.uk