Citizens Advice Esher & District has just won a much welcomed £5,000 donation from the Community Foundation for Surrey to provide specialist disability benefits advice to Elmbridge residents.
The grant, which comes from the Community Foundation for Surrey Dancer Fund, will go towards training a small specialist team to give comprehensive advice and support on complex disability benefits. It will also be used to cover the cost of recruiting and training new advisers to replace the specialists in the pool of generalist volunteer advisers who are based at the Citizens Advice office in Esher.
Linda Wheatley, Chief Executive at Citizens Advice Esher & District is delighted with the news: “Over the last few months we have experienced a steady flow of often distressed and frightened residents with disabilities come to see us having been told their Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is about to come to an end and they now have to apply for Personal Independent Payment (PIP) and undergo an assessment. Others have applied and found that their disability benefits have been cut or even removed, often affecting their access to mobility help, effectively trapping them in their homes.
We have found that we can dramatically improve the success rate of an application, and an appeal, if we provide a high level of personal and specialist help. A pilot of this service saw a 75% success rate in appealing the decision. We also believe that if we can help the client make their initial application then a lot of this distress can be avoided.”