“My name is Julia and I manage Regard’s benefits team. Along with my colleagues Jake, Yvonne, Nicole and Sophie I provide disability benefits advice to 470 of our Service Users.
We want our Service Users to be more independent and to have more control of their money.
During a day at the office we would help with the following:
• Checking that our service users are receiving the correct benefits
• Work with service users in our supported living services to set up their own bank accounts, pay bills and rent and purchase large items
• Access funding streams and apply for grants for service users
• Notifying changes of circumstances to the Department of Work and Pensions
• Help service users to pay any agreed contributions towards their care
Sometimes we get unusual requests – recently we assisted our Bay Lodge service to plan for a new arrival – a goat!
At the moment we are very busy ensuring that everyone’s benefits are updated correctly for the end of the financial year. We have also been assessing the housing benefit situation and rent levels currently charged.
The job is particularly rewarding when we assist a service user to buy their first property. We may help them to set up a bank account, pay bills and purchase new furniture. It is important to ensure that their benefits remain in place to enable the payment of rent or a mortgage.
We enjoy the opportunity to meet service users and often attend meetings about their finances in order to offer advice and support. It helps us to get to know service users, which is important as we have to understand their complex needs to ensure their benefits are assessed correctly.”