Better Advice – Better Lives
Better Advice – Better Lives is a benefits take-up campaign, funded by Welsh Government. It includes the provision of advice ‘surgeries’ within GP and healthcare settings, access to advice on benefits and other issues and to providing help for families with a disabled or chronically ill child or children.
Through the Better Advice: Better Lives project, Citizens Advice Ceredigion can help you claim benefits to help with your council tax, housing benefit, and with sickness and disability benefits like Personal Independence Payments (PIP), Attendance Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). We also check Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit entitlement.
We can assess whether you’re in receipt of their full entitlement – sometimes claimants are getting the correct benefits, but not in receipt of the correct rate.
We can also help with benefits if your child has a disability or long-term health need (including mental health and learning difficulties), e.g. Disability Living Allowance (DLA) queries (see below). And we help with Pension Credit, Universal Credit, Carers’ Allowance and many other benefits.
We will deal with your issues in a ‘holistic’ way and offer advice on your other problems, such as housing or employment and it is completely free of charge. We can even help you challenge the decisions made on your benefits and advise you on how to go about this.
You can access this advice by first calling the national Citizens Advice Adviceline Cymru on 03444 77 20 20 , who can take your details and information about your advice needs and put you in the Ceredigion ‘work queue’ for our advisers to get in touch with you direct. Or you can call into our offices at Aberystwyth or Cardigan (see our ‘locations’ page). Home visits are available in some circumstances. We can also take referrals from health professionals and other agencies or carers/friends/relatives on your behalf, if you give your permission for this to happen.
Please note – if you don’t have a Ceredigion postcode, but want to be seen at our outreaches in Newcastle Emlyn, Llandysul, Lampeter or our Cardigan or Aberystwyth office, do let Adviceline know that you want to be seen there.
Why provide advice through health care settings?
GPs have to deal with many clinical problems where the solution is not medical but depends on improving the patients quality of life. GPs often deal with patients who have nowhere else to go for a sympathetic ear to listen to their problems. Healthcare workers cannot be expected to possess knowledge of the very complex system of welfare services.
The initiative benefits the most vulnerable people in our society. Experience has shown that the elderly, people with a disability and those with mental health problems find it difficult to ask for assistance and seek help. Making the services available in a GP surgery has resulted in them being more likely to ask for this help and advice.
Welfare benefit take-up for disabled children’s families
Families with disabled children are more likely to live in poverty because of the higher costs involved in bringing up their child. This can include the loss of income associated with one or both parents (including lone parents, grandparent carers and foster carers) in giving up work, or taking lower-paid or part-time work.
There are approximately 46,500 disabled children in Wales and around 29,000 families with disabled children do not receive their entitlement to Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and many do not receive the linked benefits they could get. 62% of families with disabled children, therefore, do not receive a potential £109.50 per week in financial support, which they may be entitled to. It isn’t necessary to have a ‘diagnosis’ to be eligible for disability benefits, so if your child has additional needs, including educational or learning difficulties, or behavioural problems, you could qualify for financial help.