A NEW joint service aims to provide more support and advocacy for Redditch people with disabilities.
Disability Action Redditch (DAR) has joined with the Disability Support Project (DSR) to open a new combined office in the Ecumenical Centre.
At its heart is helping people with their ESA – Employment Support Allowance – guiding claimants through all the forms and acting on their behalf.
“We have set up this office and we will be helping people with everything to do with disability,” said Anita Clayton, who chairs DAR and herself has been through an appeals tribunal.
“We already have 300 people on the books and the need is massive what with the problems with tribunals and appeals with people trying to claim ESA.”
Advocacy will be handled by Alex Powell, the chair of DSR, who has an outstanding 98 per cent success rate in the courts when handling cases.
“We want to let people know that there is help out there and it is good help,” said Anita who added that backing was also coming from the action group Redditch Together.
“The aim is to get all these different groups together so we can help others,” she added.
The new office at the Ecumenical Centre is being officially opened by local MP Rachel Maclean next Friday, August 31, but the service is already up and running – for more details call 01527 351019.
ESA is an allowance payable by the Department for Work and Pensions for those who cannot work due to illness or disability.
Would-be recipients are assessed on their level of disability and ability to work and are then, often controversially, ‘scored’ on whether they should receive any benefits.
This has resulted in thousands of appeals against ESA judgments leading Neil Heslop, the chief executive of the disability charity Leonard Cheshire, to say: “Thousands of disabled individuals have had to fight to receive support to which they are legally entitled.”