A quick overview of benefits resources and advice in the Online community and links through to Maggie's Benefit Advisors in the times of coronavirus restrictions.
Just a quick mini-blog to summarise the help available with benefits, financial support and money worries, here in the Online Community and across Maggie's. Things carry on very much as normal here online, but it is still very much there in a different way at most of the Maggie's centres. at help.
Many more people's incomes are being affected by the Covid-19 lock-down, whether or not you may face the turmoil of cancer crashing into your life.
The existing benefits system is having to adapt and change its usual admin ways to cope with record rises in claims for the established benefits. And that can make knowing what to do - or just just getting through to the agencies that run the benefits system - more difficult.
There are also the two big, new, temporary schemes for 80% help during the coronavirus pandemic. The Job Retention Scheme (for employees being "furloughed") and the Self Employment Income Support Scheme, are both developing as details are worked out, to clarify who is covered, when and how.
Traditional face to face sessions - whether with:
- the DWP at local JobCentre Plus offices and health assessment centres or
- with independent advisers in local advice organisations or at your nearest Maggie's centre
are also interrupted.
However, Maggie's Benefits Advisors are still working to support you, even if you can't just drop in to your nearest Maggie's centre to see them, just or the time being. Many advisors - and others in each Maggie's Centre team - are still there for you, but now offer their support from working from home in creative new ways. The Centre buildings are finding a temporary use in the meantime to support the NHS.
The online Community remains open 24/7, so I can offer you both support within the community and also pass you on to a colleague nearer where you live for further help. In the future, you will be able to meet up with them in your nearest Maggie's centre, as doors re-open.
So here within the Online Community, you can:
- read a wide range of Benefits Blogs . I would suggest starting with Benefits after a Cancer Diagnosis and Money worries and Coronavirus
- you can join Money, Work and Benefits Conversations to post general queries and share experiences around particular benefits and entitlements
- you can message me, so we can swap one to one private messages about your specific situation
For some a mix of private message discussions with me and information in the blogs and conversations, may be enough for you - or a trusted friend/family member to sort out your benefits. But always remembering that you can get back to me if you get stuck, have a query or just need to check something. And as different benefits kick in at different times along the way.
For others, an initial chat and some info helps, but you might really prefer to be able to have that face to face support when you can sit down together and go through and fill in that form or look over that bundle of appeal papers. We can have a go at that too but often you might want details of your nearest Maggie's centre or another local advice service, where in the future you can meet face to face. For now, though, sessions will usually be via telephone or skype etc, until you can meet in person.
Please feel free to message me at any time. If you have a burning question on Wednesday morning, 3.am, please feel free to log on and fire away, knowing you have done what you can and you can maybe sigh, roll over and get some sleep. But please don't expect an answer at that time ... I work part time, while keeping a daily eye on my in-box. Please bear with me if you first get a holding reply until I am next , when I will be back with a fuller answer.
Stay safe in these strange times.
Online Benefits Advisor