Being a Welfare Rights Officer for the Communities First Western Valleys area, I, Becky have worked closely with local residents, and have assisted them with advice and guidance on their benefits.
We assist all age groups with the service we provide.
I currently have 40 open cases for people in the area, and run two appointment based surgeries a week. The work included in surgery appointments or home visits could be:
- Completing benefit claim forms
- Benefit checks
- Giving benefit advice and guidance
- Assisting and representation with challenging decisions and in appeals
It’s a very rewarding role, and I enjoy helping people obtain the benefit awards they are entitled to.
In the last year, I have assisted 280 people, and 100% of these have felt supported and rated the service as very good or excellent.
In the coming year, I hope to set up a third fortnightly surgery in the Glynneath area. I am also aiming to plan a drop in event which will be carried out every 6 months a local hospital in order to raise the awareness of changes in Welfare benefits for patients of the hospital and their families.
The below case study is a recent case of mine, and shows just how much our Welfare Rights service impacts on the lives of local residents
Mr D lives alone, and has mental health problems, he lacks the motivation to read letters, complete claim forms, amongst other problems. He had recently turned 65 years old, and had been sent a letter regarding claiming his state pension. However, due to a lack of motivation, dismissed the letter and chucked it out in the rubbish thinking it was junk mail. This resulted in him not receiving any money for the past 2 months. Mr D attended a surgery appointment with myself, where I identified that he should be receiving his state pension plus pension credit. Mr D struggled with using the telephone, so I was able to make a phonecall on his behalf, with him being present to give consent for this. Mr D was immediately put on his state pension, and this was also backdated from the last 2 months. As his state pension was under the applicable amount for a single person, we also made a request claim for pension credit. This was put into place also with immediate effect, and also backdated for him. In the meantime, I was also able to issue Mr D with a foodbank voucher to tide him over untill he received his money.
Mr D received £1,152 backdated, and started receiving £145.40 per week made up of state pension and pension credit. I identified that Mr D also had care and mobility needs due to his health problems. We later made a claim for Attendance Allowance which was successful. This meant an extra weekly payment of £79.15 was awarded. This also meant that Mr D’s pension credit also increased by £59.50 due to a Severe Disability Premium being added to his entitlement.
Overall, Mr D’s means tested benefits now totalled £204.90 per week, and his non means tested benefits totalled £79.15 per week. Altogether, Mr D is now receiving £284.05 per week, and has full council tax and housing benefit. As you can imagine Mr D was delighted with this outcome, and his general health and wellbeing has now significantly improved.
I aim to continue raising awareness of Welfare Rights as much as possible in the Western Valleys areas, in order to assist people in claiming what they are entitled to.
Benefits Advice Surgeries
Seven Sisters Community Hall
Every Tuesday morning 9.30am – 12 Midday
by appointment only
Ystalyfera Health and Well Being Centre
Every Wednesday afternoon 1.00pm – 4.00pm
by appointment only
For more information or to book an appointment, please contact Welfare Rights on 01639 685225 or Becky Founds on 01639 685248.