I have been working for Hull Council of Disabled People (HCDP) now for over 6 years, as a Welfare Rights Advisor.
Most of my clients need help with filling in forms for things like Disability Living Allowance - Carers Allowance - ESA and other DWP benefits.
Many people simply don't realise that they could be entitled to more money because they have disabilities, and sometimes just gaining the right rate of DLA can also increase their Income Support, as well as often providing them with a much needed lump sum in backdated benefits.
But as a charity HCDP has to rely largely on volunteers, and those of us with the necessary knowledge and experience to do the work are few and far between.
In 2013 we face probably one of our most challenging times, with so many changes resulting from the Welfare Reform Act. Hull is already a city with high unemployment and few jobs. It is not getting the funding it needs - nor the new businesses - to turn it's economy around. Any extra benefits we can gain for our clients go straight back into the local economy, but it is going to get tougher next April.
We need to work longer hours to cope with increasing demand, and to do that we need funding. Not a lot. Just enough to continue to make a difference to the many people who rely on us for help.
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