Welfare Benefits Service
As claiming benefits and filling in the relevant paperwork can be a daunting prospect, Regard has created a unique welfare Benefits Service that is available to our Service Users.
We want our Service Users to be more independent and to have more control of their money.
What is an appointee?
An appointee is allowed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to manage someone’s benefit money for them, if they do not have the capacity to manage their own affairs.
Regard is a registered Corporate Appointee and is recognised as a responsible party to deal with claims to all DWP benefits, in cases where the Secretary of State has deemed that someone is unable to manage their own affairs for benefit purposes.
If Regard is your appointee, we will:
Case study: Mr D is a tenant at one of Regard’s supported living schemes. The Service Manager informed the team that Mr D’s care needs had increased and asked that his claim to Disability Living Allowance be reviewed. The team completed the review form and we were confident that the highest rate of care and mobility allowance was applicable, but after submitting the changes Mr D was awarded the highest rate of Disability Living Allowance for care and yet only the lower rate for mobility.
The Benefits Team entered an appeal to the Tribunal Service, arguing that Mr D was entitled to the highest rate due to severe mental impairment. The Team successfully presented his case at a live hearing and Mr D has now been awarded the highest rate for both care and mobility. He was also entitled to arrears of £1600 and has received a further £200 in compensation. The significant increase in income has enabled Mr D to buy a new television and book a holiday with his Key Worker.
Case study: Mr P arrived as an emergency placement into one of the Regard Partnership’s homes; his previous placement had broken down and he had very few personal possessions and no money. The team quickly established through the help of the Support Staff, that Mr P was not receiving his full entitlement in benefits. Mr P was over 60 years old and a claim to Pension Credit should have been made when he turned 60. It was also apparent that Mr P had severe mobility problems. The Team filled out all the necessary forms to the DWP to advise them of his change in circumstance and also undertook a review on his Disability Living Allowance. The Team achieved a substantial increase in his weekly benefit payments; Mr P received £3000 arrears in Pension Credit and his Disability Living Allowance was increased to the higher rate of mobility. His rent liability was also covered in full by Housing Benefit, following the award of Pension credit. He also received a Community Care Grant to purchase furniture for his new flat. With the increase in Disability Living Allowance Mr P has taken advantage of the Motability Scheme and now has a car which enables Mr P to access the community. We have also assisted Mr P in opening a bank account of his own.
Case study: Mr K has an acquired brain injury through alcohol misuse. After a long spell in hospital he was discharged into one of Regard’s supported living placements. Mr K had no possessions or money. The benefits team took on the management of his benefits and liaised with the care manager. They applied for Employment and Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payment, the benefits Mr K was entitled to. He was awarded the highest rate of daily living component and mobility, he was also placed in the Support Group of Employment and Support Allowance and his income now equates to £326.65 a week. With the care and support of the support staff Mr K is now helped to budget his money. He has a passion for painting and photography and with the extra income recently enrolled on courses at a local college to help him fulfil his passion for art and film. He is also able to visit his family regularly and enjoy a more active life.
Our Benefits Team comprises former employees of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), who are able to navigate the complex claims system. They use their experience and years of knowledge to demystify the complex processes, as well as keeping themselves fully up to date with government policy and changes in the law.
The team is keen to help our service users maximise the money they can claim, while enabling Care Managers, Support Workers and family members to concentrate on more important things.
‘My experience in Welfare Rights emanates from working within varies departments within Department for Work and Pensions and Jobcentre Plus for over 10 years. I have assessed and processed Income Support claims, investigated fraud claims, calculated Child Maintenance for the Child Support Agency and worked also as a Personal Advisor frontline in Jobcentre Plus. My experience is varied but this broad range experience has given me the knowledge on how to negotiate around the complexities of the benefit system i.e. I know who to contact, when and how in order to get the matter resolved.’
I joined the Benefits Team in November 2012 as Admin Support whilst I completed my N.V.Q in Business Administration. Once my contract ended I was given the opportunity to train as a Client Benefits Caseworker and went on to complete my NVQ Level 3 in Advice & Guidance. I am now part-way through completing a degree in Social Welfare Law, Policy and Advice Practice BA (Hons). Qualifications aside, my real education has come from practical on-the-job experience; the ability to adapt and solve problems thrown up by the welfare reforms is an essential skill that has been tried and tested over the years.
I joined the Regard Benefits Team in April 2018. My previous employment has included managing an acute mental health residential care service and satellite supported living services. I have been involved with client benefits for over 25 years including working with organisations in the voluntary care sector. One of these roles involved working with The Pension Service (now the DWP) as part of a Joint Team. On a personal level I have previously had the responsibility of being a carer whilst juggling a full-time job so understand the day to day pressures of being a carer for both the service users and their families.
‘I am the Apprentice Client Benefits Administrator Apprentice for the Benefits Team. I am currently doing an apprenticeship in Business Administration, working towards a Level 2 Business Administration NVQ with Kingston Adult Education. As part of my role, I deal with organising boarder payments for service users, processing client contribution invoices, and providing general admin support for the Benefits Team.’