When you are worried about your health, the last thing that you need is extra worry about your finances.
At a time when most politicians seem proud to treat sick and disabled claimants with harshness and suspicion, independent and accurate information about how to claim and keep your benefits is vitally important.
I was first alerted to Benefits and Work via Vasculitis UK. They use the guides that this UK based organisation produces to help people with vasculitis get all of the the benefits they should be receiving.
Here are a list of just some the possible benefits Benefits and Work can help you claim for:
Council Tax Reduction
Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) in Higher Education
Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
Personal Independence Payments (PIPs)
Social Care and Support
Motability - Road Fund Licence - Blue Badge Scheme
Other Benefits and Enquiry Line
The purpose of Benefits and Work is to ensure that you get all of the government benefits that you are entitled to. Claiming for benefits, especially if you have suddenly become ill and have never claimed for them before, can be very stressful and confusing.
For one thing, they are complex; do you know what DLA stands for? ESA? PIP? And what if you aren't happy with the way your medical assessment is handled, and you feel that the wrong decision has been made?
For a subscription of £19.95 per year they provide guides to:
Employment and Support Allowance
Disability Living Allowance
Personal Independence Payment
You'll also be able to read all the DWP materials they've obtained using the Freedom of Information Act.
In addition, you'll get unlimited access to members only news stories and the chance to share worries, get support and make friends in their members only forum.
If you don't want to sign up directly to Benefits and Work you can approach Vasculitis UK for free using this link: Jann Landles, Hon Secretary
About Benefits and Work
Benefits and Work, was launched in 2002 (and became a limited company in October 2006) by advice worker turned barrister Holiday Whitehead and benefits writer and trainer Steve Donnison.
It is unique amongst benefits information providers in that it asks for no funding or support from the government, local authorities, grant making trusts or large companies. Every penny of Benefits and Work's revenue comes from its subscribing members.
This complete independence means that Benefits and Work is free to publish information that makes it deeply unpopular with the Department for Work and Pensions, multinationals with an interest in benefits - such as Atos Healthcare, Unum Provident and Capita - and even other advice providers whose dependence on state and corporate funding may have made them reluctant to tell the whole truth.
Before launching Benefits and Work Steve worked in the voluntary sector for over 25 years, mainly with disadvantaged children and homeless adults.
He has been a welfare rights worker for more than a decade and continues to represent clients at social security tribunals for a local advice agency. He also trains advice workers, social workers, housing workers, health professionals and others who deal with welfare benefits in the course of their work.
Steve has written about welfare benefits for a wide range of disability organisations, including: Disability Alliance; National Association for Colitis and Crohn's disease; Spinal Injuries Association; Multiple Sclerosis Society; Cerebra, the foundation for brain injured children; Parkinson's Disease Society.
Holiday began her working life as an ancillary worker in an NHS hospital, where she became involved in trade union work for NUPE (now part of UNISON). Following a diploma course at Ruskin College, Oxford sponsored by the TUC and her trade union, Holiday went on to do a law degree at the University of East Anglia. At the same time Holiday began volunteering for an advice centre and, following her degree, became a full-time welfare rights worker and then an employment law specialist.
In 1998 Holiday returned to university to undertake her Bar finals and was called to the Bar in 1999.
Holiday practised as a barrister until January 2004 when, entirely frustrated with the lack of progress towards direct access to barristers made by the Bar Council, she ceased practising and became a freelance employment law consultant. Holiday is the co-author of all the guides on the site.
I wouldn't normally recommend a commercial site such as this one, but most of the feedback I have seen from people using it has been positive. They say that they currently have 140,000 subscribers. They also have a 7 day money back offer, so you can sign up, have a look around and then get your money back if it isn't for you.
Why not give them a try?