Benefits Advice in Dorset
Personal Independent Payments (PIP)
This has replaced DLA (Disabled Living Allowance). Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a tax-free benefit for disabled people who need help with mobility or care costs. You can claim if you are under 16, or were born after 8 April 1948 and make a claim in the same year you stopped receiving DLA.
If you’re not eligible, and you’re aged 65 or older and haven’t received DLA or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in the last year, you may be able to claim Attendance Allowance instead.
If you’re already claiming, you’ll continue to get DLA until the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) writes to tell you when your DLA will end and invites you to apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
This is financial support for people who cannot work because of illness or disability. It also provides personalised help so that you can work if you’re able to. You can apply for ESA if you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed. You might be transferred to ESA if you’ve been claiming other benefits like Income Support or Incapacity Benefit. You must have a Work Capability Assessment while your ESA claim is being assessed. This is to see to what extent your illness or disability affects your ability to work. You’ll then be placed in one of 2 groups if you’re entitled to ESA: work-related activity group, where you’ll have regular interviews with an adviser or a support group, where you don’t have interviews.
Attendance Allowance helps pay for your personal care if you’re older or disabled.
Other benefits include: Pension Credit (eg discounts on water rates – individual applications should be made to relevant companies), Housing Benefit, Universal Credit
In Dorset we know of the following organisations that offer advice and help.
Recommended for those aged under 50:
CAB (Citizens Advice Bureau)
They offer Free, Confidential, Impartial, and Independent Advice both online and face to face (www.dorsetforyou.gov.uk/citizens-advice-bureau ).
- Bridport and District CAB: 45 South Street, Bridport DT6 3NY tel: 03442 451 291
- Christchurch CAB: 2 Sopers Lane, Christchurch BH23 1JG tel: 03442 451 291
- Dorchester and District CAB: 1 Acland Road, Dorchester DT1 1JW tel: 03442 451 29 (also offering advice sessions in some villages such as Maiden Newton, Cerne Abbas, Bere Regis, Puddletown and Crossways).
- East Dorset Wimborne office: Hanham Road, Wimborne BH21 1AS tel: 03442 451 291 (also offering advice in Cranborne and Verwood GP surgeries, Verwood Library, and Heatherlands Community Centre).
- Ferndown office: 1A Princes Court, Princes Road, Ferndown BH22 9JG
- North Dorset CAB: 4-7 Newbury Court, High St, Gillingham SP8 4QX tel: 03442 451 291 (also offering advice at Blandford, Shaftesbury, and Sturminster Newton)
- Sherborne CAB: Manor House, Newland, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3JL tel: 03442 451 291
- Purbeck CAB: Mill Lane, Wareham, BH20 4RA tel: 03442 451 291
- Weymouth and Portland CAB: Mulberry Terrace, Great George Street, Weymouth DT4 8NQ tel: 03442 451 291
Recommended for those aged 50+:
Age UK (previously known as Age Concern)
Information and advice on claiming benefits and entitlements, including pension credit, attendance allowance, council tax benefit and carers allowance. They have contacts in Lytchett Minster and Upton (tel: 01202 622744), Bournemouth (tel: 01202 530530), Blandford Forum (tel: 01258 458250), Dorchester (tel: 01305 269444), Christchurch (tel: 01202 488311) (www.ageuk.org.uk/money-matters/claiming-benefits )
For all ages:
Action for ME
Free Welfare Advice and Support Service open to all, every weekday 10:30am to 2pm Telephone support given on 0800 138 6544 (this number is free to call from landlines and some mobile phone networks). However, this welcome service is not coping with the current demand.
For children and young people: there is lots of useful advice and links on their “https://www.actionforme.org.uk/children-and-young-people/introduction” page.
DiverseAbility (previously known as Disability Wessex and now based in Parkstone)
Do you need help to fill out an application form to apply for or renew a disability or sickness benefit?
Do you need help to challenge a disability benefit decision that you believe is wrong?
The Advice Team can provide support with personal independent payments, employment and support allowance, attendance allowance, disability living allowance and carer’s allowance. The service is also on hand to talk with clients and give advice when going through the assessment process, for both adults and children with a disability or heath condition. (www.diverseabilities.org.uk/advice/disabilitybenefits or tel: 0300 330 5514).
Access Dorset (bases in Bournemouth and Weymouth)
Tel 01202 430113 http://www.accessdorset.org.uk/dial-information-and-advice/
They give Benefits Information, Advice and Crisis Advocacy. Some of the staff have first-hand knowledge of DMESG and have helped our members in the past.
Additional help and advice:
Disability Benefits Helpline
Tel 0800 88 22 00 Provides information and advice about disability and carers benefits, their qualifying conditions and procedures. They can provide application forms, advice about form-filling and information about other organisations that may be able to help.
This site pulls together a huge amount of information about public services, and the section on Disability Living Allowance is a good place to start.
Contact a Family
This is a charity for families with disabled children. They have two welfare rights specialists who can give advice on DLA and other benefits. Telephone the free helpline on 0808 808 3555.
Benefits and Work
Provides information and links about welfare benefits and employment law for people with long-term physical or mental health conditions, their carers and support workers. Basic info about PIP, DLA and ESA (and regular Email updates) is free. To get the most detailed guides to the qualifying criteria for ESA, PIP and PIP, plus step-by-step guide to the appeals process, then you need to join. Costs about £16 a year but well worth it, according to one DMESG member. www.benefitsandwork.co.uk 8-10 Queen Street, Seaton, Devon EX12 2NY
Dial is an independent network of local disability information and advice services run by and for disabled people. To find your local office, call the national helpline number 01302 310123 or visit the website for details http://www.scope.org.uk/dial
Disabled Persons Tax Credit
The information line can give advice about claims, form-filling, estimates of entitlement and help with queries about existing claims. 0345 300 3900
Disability Rights UK
There is a useful section on their website offering help if you are claiming benefits. You can write to them at 12 City Forum, 250 City Road, London, EC1V 8AF or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
General guidance providers include: Citizens Advice, Advice UK, Age UK, and Law Centres. Macmillan provides assistance for cancer sufferers and their families, Gingerbread helps single parents, while Shelter advises on housing issues.
Scope/Dial Network helps those with disabilities with benefits enquiries. IncomeMAX, Turn2us, Disability Rights UK, all offer internet resources. Information on claiming is available from Gov.uk, the Department for Work and Pensions, HM Revenue & Customs, and your local council.
You could also try speaking to the relevant government departments that administer the benefits system.
One last point – do not be afraid to seek a second opinion.
(Department for Work and Pensions: Benefit GOV.UK)
Posted on Tuesday, October 25th, 2016