Derbyshire County Council team fights for your welfare rights

Stock image - Money

Stock image - Money

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Hundreds of disabled people have been able to access the benefits they are entitled to thanks to a council service.

Last year, Derbyshire County Council’s Welfare Rights Service helped 1,024 people to claim Personal Independence Payments (PIP) totalling almost £5million.

The Personal Independence Payments system was introduced in 2013 to eventually replace the Disability Living Allowance.

Since then many people have expressed concern with the new system and have struggled to access the benefits they are entitled to.

Deputy cabinet member for adult social care Councillor Rob Davison said: “Our Welfare Rights Team do a brilliant job of listening to local people and supporting them through these often complex processes.

“We’ll continue to do our best to make sure that vulnerable residents are looked after and getting the benefits that they should, by all rights, be getting.”

In the last 12 months the welfare rights service has helped Derbyshire people claim almost £19million in benefits

The Government has appointed an independent reviewer to consider certain aspects of the new PIP benefit. As part of the review, the council has given evidence outlining people’s experiences with the PIP assessment process.

The council’s evidence found the following -

• Claimants found it hard to understand what other information would help their claim and some GPs don’t provide this information without a fee

• The decision maker doesn’t consider other available evidence provided by a healthcare professional

• When a claimant is sent to Atos/Capita for a medical assessment, the reports do not always take account of a claimant’s circumstances

• The mandatory reconsideration and appeal process can be very stressful

Contact the Welfare Rights Team at welfarebenefits@derbyshire.gov.uk or calling the Benefits Helpline on 01629 531535.