Diverse Cymru has been offering Welfare Benefits Advice since 2010, initially taking on a few new clients every month.
Over the next four years the number of clients reached one thousand and as the number of referrals began to increase rapidly, the team expanded, taking on a Families First project. In just the last year this number has climbed to two thousand clients, showing the extraordinary success the Advice Team has had in sustaining the expansion of the services they offer.
The 2,000th client, Sophie Katzi, lives in the Canton area of Cardiff and doesn’t know how she would have coped without the support of Diverse Cymru’s Advice Team.
I was assessed by Atos and found fit to work, but upon reporting to the Jobcentre it was clear that this was not the case. I was referred to Diverse Cymru who helped me decipher the forms which I had not found at all user-friendly. We appealed the decision and their support led to the decision being overturned.
The most common work for the team is assisting with filling in forms for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payments (PIP), both of which are vital benefits paid to those who need extra support due to an illness or disability. Despite their eligibility people are often anxious about applying for these benefits, both for fear of having their claim unjustly rejected or because so much media coverage unfairly labels them as ‘scroungers’.
The Diverse Cymru Advice Team has empowered and supported hundreds of people to challenge unfair decisions about the benefits that they are entitled to. They regularly attend tribunals to challenge decisions about benefits, which often can be made with poor evidence and little scrutiny, and win the vast majority of these cases.
Diverse Cymru has recently partnered with Cardiff and Vale Citizen’s Advice Bureau and Speakeasy Advice to form the Cardiff Advice Service, giving comprehensive specialist advice on housing, debt, employment law, and consumer issues on behalf on Cardiff Council.
Diverse Cymru Advice Team Manager, Anna Worgan, has seen a huge rise in the demand for this service over the past 5 years.
When I started I had only a handful of cases, although the numbers were growing steadily with the rate of referrals gaining pace all the time. A wide range of changes to welfare benefits resulted in an unprecedented increase in demand for our services and we began to employ more staff so that we could continue to help as many people as possible.
Even if you have already started the process of making your claim you can come to us for help. We know that with support you stand a much higher chance to receive the benefits you’re entitled to at the rates you need and that this can make a huge difference to your health, wellbeing and quality of life.
If you live in Cardiff or the Vale of Glamorgan and would like advice on welfare benefits please contact Diverse Cymru’s Advice Team:
Phone: 029 2036 8888