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I have no idea if my benefits are right or if I should claim something else – can you help me?

Probably. If you phone us up we will talk it through on the phone and explain the options. If you can tell us exactly what you are getting we can probably tell you if it is right.

I want someone to sit down with me and do a check of my benefits. Will you do this?

Probably not. Health and Social Services staff in the Resource Centres can do benefit checks and if necessary they can ask us for advice.

Someone I know is getting Disability Living Allowance and he thinks I should be entitled as well. Can you tell me if this is right?

Up to a point. If you call us we can probably advise you whether it is worth claiming or not and how to get the forms if so. We will not be able to tell you for certain if you are entitled.

I have got the DLA forms. Now will you help me fill them in?

Probably not. Care Managers and other health and social services staff who know you are usually the best people to help fill in forms. We can advise them on what needs to be included if they ask.

I have been turned down for DLA, or I do not think I have been given enough. Will you help me appeal?

Yes. If you need to go to appeal we will help you all the way through the process. This includes writing to doctors and other professionals for evidence, putting arguments in writing to a Tribunal and accompanying you to Tribunal hearings.

I have got an appeal coming up next week. Will you help me?

Yes, but it would be a lot easier if you had contacted us earlier. In these circumstances we will take the case on but we will probably have to ask for an adjournment.

I have been called up for an examination to see if I am still too ill to work. Will you go with me?

Yes, but it would be better if you had contacted us earlier when the Benefits Agency sent you the forms as we might have been able to avoid you having to go for an examination at all.

They have just told me that I am well enough to work and that I have to sign on. I do not feel well enough to work and my doctor does not think so either. What should I do?

You need to appeal. We can help you do this and also advise you on what to claim while you are waiting for the appeal to be heard.

I have been on Incapacity Benefit for years but now I have got the chance of doing some work. Could you advise me what the effect would be on my benefits?

Yes, if you can give us details of the type and the amount of work and the amount of money. We will also advise you that going back to work is an important decision and that the effect on your benefits is only one of the things to consider.

They have told me that I have been overpaid a lot of benefit and that I have to pay it back. Will you help me?

Yes. This is not the sort of thing that we would expect Care Managers to take on.

I have been on Income Support and Housing Benefit for years but they have suddenly stopped my Housing Benefit and now they are taking me to court for a possession order. What should I do?

We deal with people in your situation quite often. We will be able to help you, if the situation is as you describe, but it may take some time to fully resolve the situation.

This sounds great. How can I get taken on by your service?

Preferably by a referral from a professional such as a doctor, nurse or social worker or by another Voluntary Agency. You can refer yourself if you need the sort of help we offer but we would prefer you not to unless it is an emergency.

Where can I see you?

Normally at our offices in Purley but we also occasionally do sessions at the Resource Centres (Tamworth Road, Purley and the Crescent).

This is all very well, but are you actually any good at what you do?

Yes. Almost everyone we help ends up better off and almost all the appeals we are involved in are successful. We do not offer miracles however. If we think you are already getting all you are entitled to we will tell you so.

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