Financial Help

 Finance

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Having arthritis often means extra expense. You may be able to get state benefits to help with the extra costs of having arthritis or if you’re unable to work. It’s worth checking that you’re claiming everything that you are entitled to.

Over the next few years significant changes are being made to the benefits and tax credits system in England. The picture is quite complicated. The Turn2us website has useful information on the changes to benefits and a calendar if when these changes are to occur.

Turn2us

For those with disabilities one of the major changes is the discontinuation of the Disability Living Allowance and its replacement with the Personal Independence Payment PIP). This is a new benefit for people who need help taking part in everyday life or who find it difficult to get around. It replaces disability living allowance for people between the ages of 16 and 64 inclusive. Disability Rights UK has produced this guide to help you through the claiming process:

DisabilityRightsUK

 

Universal Credit is a new benefit that has started to replace 6 existing benefits with a single monthly payment. It will eventually replace:

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit

At this time, your eligibility to claim Universal Credit depends on where you live and your personal circumstances. For more information see:

https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit/overview

Other benefits for which you may be entitled to are listed below:

Attendance Allowance
Attendance Allowance (AA) is a benefit for people aged 65 or over with an illness or a disability who need help with personal care.
Access to Work
Access to Work provides practical advice and grants to help overcome work-related obstacles resulting from disability.
Carer's Allowance
Carer’s Allowance is a weekly taxable benefit paid if you are aged 16 or over and regularly spend at least 35 hours a week caring for a severely disabled person.
Council Tax Benefit
If you are on a low income and paying council tax you can claim Council Tax Benefit.
Help with health costs
If you or your partner are on Income Support or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, you can get help with your health costs. These include free NHS prescriptions, free NHS sight tests, and repayment of necessary travel costs to and from hospital for NHS treatment. For more information go to:

http://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/792.aspx

Pension Credit
Pension Credit is a means-tested benefit for people aged 60 or over. The qualifying age from which you can get the Guarantee Credit is gradually increasing from 60 to 65 between April 2010 and 2020.
The Social Fund
The Social Fund makes payments (called Crisis Loans) to people for an emergency or disaster, such as funeral payments, cold weather payments and winter fuel payments.

Disability Rights UK produce a very useful checklist of benefits:

http://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/benefits-checklist

This is an interactive factsheet designed to give you an idea which benefits, tax credits, housing grants or other help you might be able to get, including help provided by your council/local authority. Select the category which applies to you (you may fit into more than one category). Each category has a list of the help available. These link to further information or a factsheet on the subject.

Where to get advice in Cornwall?

If you are looking for support or advice about benefits Cornwall Council have a 2 person Welfare Rights Team which is part of Cornwall Council’s Adult Care, Health and Wellbeing Service. They provide support and advice to enable people to deal with all aspects of the Welfare Benefits system. The Welfare Team are very knowledgeable and experienced and provide accurate advice and information to people so they understand what benefits they are entitled to claim. They are a small team to cover the whole county so they do not have the resources for home visits to assist people to complete applications.

The Welfare Rights Team are able to provide extensive support to people wanting help to complete forms by providing information and explanations by telephone, e-mail and post to help people understand the qualifying criteria and the application and assessment processes.

For advice, help and support with regard to any Welfare Rights issues, please contact:

The Welfare Rights Team
Adult Care, Health and Wellbeing
Cornwall Council
1st Floor
East Wing
New County Hall
Treyew Road
Truro
TR1 3AY

Email: welfarerightsteam@cornwall.gov.uk

Peter Carey
01872 324470

Sue Lovell
01872 324457

Other sources of advice in Cornwall

One Stop Shops

Our One Stop Shops offer advice and information on all Council services including housing and benefits. In any One Stop Shop you can get help to fill in forms, hand in documents and speak to a council specialist either in person or by phone.

Benefits and housing specialists visit a number of the One Stop Shops regularly, as do advisors from a range of non-council help organisations.

For contact details for all the One Stop Shops go to:

http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=2106

Citizen Advice Bureaus

Free financial advice can be obtained from the Citizens Advice Bureau which has local offices in towns throughout Cornwall. For information on the locations and services available call  08444 99 41 88 or go to:

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/

Jobcentre Plus

Jobcentre Plus offer a combined jobsearch and benefits service for people of working age. Personal advisers assist with jobsearch activities and benefits claims. This service is aimed at people of working age who are looking for work or claiming benefits. The location of these centres can be found at:

http://www.yell.com/s/jobcentreplus-cornwall.html

Disabled Facilities Grants

If you are disabled you may find moving around your own home and undertaking day to day activities difficult. In most cases some alterations to your home will help you to access all of your rooms and move around your property more freely. These changes will also help your carers look after you. Your quality of life will be improved.

Work that can be funded by a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG)

  • Ramps, rails and step lifts to get in and out of your property
  • Door widening to allow for wheelchair access
  • Level access showers and other bathroom alterations
  • Improvement of an existing heating system in the dwelling to meet the disabled occupant’s needs or to enable a disabled person to have full use of heating controls in the dwelling
  • Stairlifts and through floor lifts

For smaller alterations such as grab and hand rails your Occupational Therapist may be able to arrange through Adult Social Care.

Cornwall Council must check that all works are necessary and appropriate for you and will only approve grant works that are reasonable and practicable. Funding is limited and we have a responsibility to be careful with the limited pot of money available so that as many people as possible can take some advantage from this Grant.

How to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant:

To find out information on how to apply for a disabled facilities grant click here:

http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=2842