Amaze

Independent Volunteer Disability Living Allowance Project

The Volunteer Disability Living Allowance Project aims to tackle poverty and social exclusion informing families with disabled children of the disability related benefits they are entitled to, increasing the incomes of families by assisting them to complete the DLA applciations and successfully involves community volunteers to work alongside parents.

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    Category

  • Community Support & DevelopmentCommunity Support & Development
  • Education/Training/EmploymentEducation/Training/Employment
  • Health/WellbeingHealth/Wellbeing

    Helping

  • Children (3-18)Children (3-18)
  • Women & GirlsWomen & Girls
  • Young People (18-30)Young People (18-30)
  • OtherOther

Location

Situation

Despite the changes to disability benefits and other services, many of Britain’s disabled children and young people still live in poverty. One of the main financial benefits for families with disabled children is Disability Living Allowance but only 40-60% of eligible families receive it even though it is tax free and not means tested. The take up rate is low because claiming it is a complex and demanding task. However, DLA can contribute to several thousand pounds per year to a family’s income, and DLA is a passport to applying for several other child disability related benefits. When money is tight and families are struggling to make ends meet it’s inevitable that everyday life opportunities become more limited. Then disabled children and their families, who are already at greater risk of social exclusion than other families, become more isolated. Amaze successfully applied to The Big Lottery Fund in 2005 to recruit and train volunteers to support families of disabled children in applying for DLA. The project is very successful and at the end of the second year it had helped with over 350 claims, involved 20 volunteers and brought nearly £950,000 in additional income to the families it had supported. We are now approaching the end of that funding and are seeking new sources that will allow us to continue this invaluable work and to expand it further to areas where there are gaps in support to particular groups of families/community and where take up of the advice and help we can provide is very low. As more and more parents are coming to Amaze for support we need to make the post of DLA project coordinator a full time post (currently 21 hours/wk). Latest figures of prevalence of disabilities in children in the UK is 7%. Brighton and Hove’s last census identified 52,800 0-19 year olds which would mean about 3696 disabled children in the city. As only 40-60% of children who are entitled to DLA actually receive it there are about 1800 families who are missing out. We have worked with over 350 since 2005 to successfully complete and claim their DLA entitlement so there is still so much to do. Plus many are now coming back asking for help with renewing original claims! To fund a full time DLA project coordinator we are looking for around £50,000 per annum to cover the salary (£33,735), NI contributions (£3674) , pension contribution (£1687) training (£2,000) general running costs of project (£3,000) and contribution to organisational overheads (£5,000).

Solution