welfare rightsThe Coronavirus crisis hasn’t stopped the Age Connects Cardiff & the Vale Welfare Rights service from carrying out its vital work. The service has continued to operate, albeit remotely, with our adviser completing application forms with clients by telephone before sending completed forms to them for signature and submission to the Department of Work and Pensions.

For over 40 years, Age Connects Cardiff & the Vale has been supporting local older people and is committed to tackling loneliness, isolation and poverty while striving to create a society in which older people are respected, valued and heard. The charity’s Welfare Rights Service is an important element in this. Thousands of pounds go unclaimed in benefits each year and many older people are either simply unaware of what is available or daunted by the application process itself. 

This is where the Age Connects Cardiff & the Vale Welfare Rights Service is vital. By explaining what benefits are available, advising on eligibility and assisting with completion and processing of the relevant forms, the charity’s Welfare Rights team has helped so many older, vulnerable people access benefits that improve the quality of their lives in so many ways. 

Age Connects Welfare Rights Adviser Dawn explains: ‘During this time of lockdown I am completing Attendance Allowance forms over the telephone, sending completed forms to clients to sign and post on to the DWP.  Although I miss visiting clients in their homes and the face-to-face contact that brings, the priority has obviously been to ensure that this vital assistance continues during these difficult times and the remote system has worked well’.

Dawn continues: ‘For example, following a referral at the end of February, I completed an Attendance Allowance form over the phone with the daughter of a Vale client on 8th April.  On 6th May I received a call from the client’s daughter to advise that her mother had been awarded the high attendance rate. They were over the moon and delightfully surprised that it had been processed and confirmed so quickly’. 

Dawn was also able to advise the client’s daughter to apply for the Carers’ Allowance for which she is eligible as she works very limited hours each week. She had been unaware of the availability of this allowance and so was very grateful for the charity’s advice. 

‘Naturally, such responses and results provide a great sense of satisfaction for me personally and for the charity as a whole. Whilst the way in which this vital service is delivered has had to be adapted to meet current circumstances, we really do continue to make a difference’.