Richmond AID Advisor Suzanne helping a deaf client Joesph to fill in an Income Support Form

Richmond AID boosts advice service to help more local people deal with changes affecting disabled people

Major changes affecting disabled people have seen calls to the Richmond AID advice service increase by over 40% in the last 12 months. Right now they are finding disabled people experiencing complex problems with the bedroom tax, housing difficulties, financial troubles and issues with disability benefits. This is expected to increase with Personal Independence Payments which will replace Disability Living Allowance this June. The Disability Action and Advice Centre has expanded with more advisors available every day to cope with the increased demand.

Operations Manager, Alex Brining says “We’ve seen a significant increase in the number of calls to our helpline and people dropping into the centre for advice and guidance. We have doubled the number of Volunteer Advisors to ensure we can help people who are experiencing real problems now, and to keep families out of crises. The on-going recession means many disabled people are struggling and in need of advice and information. Major changes in benefits and housing present even more of a challenge for people with a disability.”

Richmond AID provides an easily accessible and free service for disabled people and carers, families and friends in areas such as welfare rights, housing, employment, access to statutory services and entitlements and more. Experienced advisors can help disabled people by providing on-going support, including with issues that take a long time to resolve. This involves completing applications, appeals, grants forms and mediation with the DWP, council officers and social landlords.

Bob Caustick, a Volunteer Advisor with years of experience in social work adds: “Regularly people visit me to report complex and very difficult problems. These people can feel unable to discuss this with local social services or other statutory agencies. People believe they can trust Richmond AID irrespective of the severity of their problem to represent and work towards the needs and wishes they have.”

They are available between 11.00am and 4.00pm Monday to Friday at the Disability Action and Advice Centre, 4 Waldegrave Road, Teddington, TW11 8HT and via the advice line on 020 8831 6070 or email advice@richmondaid.org.uk.

— from a Richmond AID press release – 3 May 2013