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Posted: 13th December 2016 by
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London Marathon 2017- seAp Disability Advocacy Benefits Service #TransformingLives

 

‘Supporting disabled people to get the right decision - first time’ 

About three years ago anyone claiming Disability Benefit were told that they would have to undergo a medical assessment to claim either PIP or ESA.  The assessment is notoriously difficult.  Most people use the same to word to describe the prospect.  They said they were terrified.  They were terrified at losing what little they had, their independence, their homes, their families.  They felt incredibly vulnerable.

Some of the most vulnerable and excluded people in our community were faced with the biggest hurdles.  Those suffering severe anxiety were unable to speak clearly on the impact of their illness or indeed get the assessment in the first place.  People with autism, learning difficulties or acquired brain injury might have poor insight into their condition and downplay its impact. 

What is advocacy?

Advocates are Independent professionals who understand the health, welfare and social care systems; they work for the individual, they explore options so people can make informed choices, they don’t tell you what to do, they amplify your voice. 

Why Advocacy helps?

 “We (advocates) ensure that our clients’ needs, views, wishes and aspirations are articulated in the clearest way so that they are heard by those with power to effect changes for them and with them.”

“To give vulnerable people a voice to empower themselves is very rewarding when times are tough and challenging”.

“An advocate finds clarity for people often in situations where there is no clarity.”

We help with:

  • Arrangements
  • Preparation
  • Information
  • Moral Support
  • Empowering
  • Facilitating Communication

Why is it important?

Its about fairness and social justice.  Whatever walk of life you are from - we could all require advocacy in the future.  Disability benefits are a safety net for those unable to work or who need additional support to live independently.  The system is complex and confusing. 

Everyone should get the right decision, the first time no matter who they are or how well they can communicate.  Advocates break down the barriers.  Here is Jennifer’s story.

Digital support via our c-App - Thanks to funding from Comic Relief and digital support from Neon Tribe, we have also developed a user-friendly  web app to help people navigate through their PIP and ESA application forms.  Please check it out. c-App - SEAP

Why support our runner?

We are thrilled that Microsoft Accelerator are supporting seAp Disability Benefits Advocacy Service to get the right decision first time and that their Chief Technology Officer, John Donnelly, is running the 2017 Virgin London Marathon for us.  Currently this service is only funded in Hastings and so far we have had a 100% success rate when supporting people. We want to provide advocacy to all disability benefit claimants across the South of England.  Help us do it.

Client Feedback:

“I had the confidence to speak up at my assessment with my advocate by my side”

“My advocate saved me from suicide.  She was a godsend”

“It was such a long process and reliving my disease was awful.  Without the help of my advocate I might have given in”

“There was someone to listen to the truth … they restored my self confidence”


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