Having to hear bad news about your own or a loved one’s health can be difficult, and that news has a range of significant consequences that can have an enormous impact.
Support with the financial consequences of living with, and dying from, a life limiting illness, has always been an integral part of the holistic approach that our Family Support Team provides. This support also extends to any bereaved relatives that we support.
Overall Blaenau Gwent compares less favourably to most parts of the rest of Wales, and the UK in terms of health outcomes. This means that our Family Support Team are keen to inform, enable and empower the people that receive our service to identify what matters most to them, and provide a level and type of support that suits their circumstances.
During the year April 2018 – 19, we supported people referred to our service, including bereaved relatives, to access £650,000 in support. The rapport, trust and confidence in our service is something we work hard on. We want to remain recognised as a professional, conscientious and enabling service when supporting people to navigate the benefits system, and sourcing further support that have financial implications. This may involve liaising with other services, such as the Local Authority.
We support people with all kinds of benefits, and to date (September 2019) we have supported people with the following;
- Personal Independence Payments totalling £177,166
- Universal Credit claims of £170,718
- Attendance Allowance of £228,943
- Claims for bereaved relatives totalling £175,851
- State Pension claims of £69,635
- Pension Credit claims of £11,239
We also assist people to save money by ensuring that they are on the correct utility tariffs. We have supported over 100 Lasting Power of Attorney applications, saving people at least £36,764 (based on solicitors fees locally), and council tax reductions totalling £45,245, of which £14,877 due to the Severe Mental Impairment exemption.
This means that so far in 2019 the Family Support team have exceeded the MILLION POUND mark for income that patients,carers and bereaved relatives have been supported and enabled to rec
eive since April 2019!
We have been told that the impact of providing support with financial concerns has been invaluable, and we are keen to continue and develop our service, to meet the needs of people who need it most. This occurs in an area with a history of inequality, and a gap that continues to increase.
Family Support Team Lead