Stories from our Advice Centre

Stories from our Advice Centre is our new report which highlights difficulties city’s disabled people face

A new report launched today by Brighton charity, Possability People, describes issues faced by disabled people who come to its Advice Centre for help. The Advice Centre deals with over 400 enquiries each month, of which 80% are about welfare benefits.

Joan’s story
Joan is 68 years old. With widespread arthritis, respiratory disease and a hearing impairment, she is reliant on a range of aids and appliances in her home to manage day to day life. She has support from her daughter (who is herself disabled), a carer and a Motability car, which means she can get out and about.

She came to the Advice Centre when she needed help to complete a Personal Independence Payment application. But after her benefits assessment, she was awarded a much lower amount than she had received under Disability Living Allowance, with nothing for the mobility component. This meant she could no longer afford her carer, whilst the prospect of losing her car (her lifeline) loomed. Possability People helped her to appeal this decision, and supported her at the subsequent tribunal. The tribunal found in her favour, awarding PIP at the enhanced rate for both daily living and mobility. But it took over three and a half months from the appealed decision to the tribunal.

Possability People’s Chief Officer, Geraldine Des Moulins said:

“Disabled people continue to be marginalised in our society. They are asked to jump through hoop after hoop in order to access the allowances and benefits they need to survive, a process which can often take many months during which time they have no money.”

While the Advice Centre supports hundreds of people each year who face losing the benefits and allowances that enable them to manage, for clients, the difficulties and stresses of their conditions are compounded not only by the fear of losing their income, but also the process of dealing with a system which can often feel as though it is set up to discourage them.

This can impact on other health and care services; 50% of Advice Centre clients went to their GP more often while waiting for mandatory reconsideration of benefit decisions. For disabled people who rely on a Motability car, its loss can lead to loneliness and isolation, which in turn often exacerbates people’s conditions.

Geraldine continued:

“Possability People’s Advice Centre hears stories like this day after day, and works tirelessly to do what it can to help. But it’s a sad reality that the cases in this report are the tip of the iceberg; we see hundreds of people every year and the picture is the same in towns and cities all over the country”.

Download the report: Stories from our Advice Centre

Possability People’s Advice Centre provides advice and help with welfare benefits and a range of other issues such as equipment or assistive technology, money, housing or how to deal with debt, holidays or other local groups and services in the community. They have The Advice Quality Standard and work in partnership with other agencies to provide specialist knowledge when needed.

The telephone helpline is available 10am – 4pm, on Monday – Friday. Telephone 01273 894050. Drop ins and appointments are also available; phone to check times.