FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR PATIENTS AND CARERS – ELLENOR HOSPICE
ellenor hospice supports more than 3,000 families with terminal and life limiting conditions and their families in Kent and Bexley each year, also providing a dedicated financial support service. They can discuss your financial situation and give you guidance and help on Government benefits, as well as talking you through the process. They can also tell you about any other support or benefits you might qualify for.
Geoff Cousins volunteers as part of the Financial Support Service Team at ellenor hospice together with Jane Dixon and Anne Wilkinson.
“Jane, Anne and I are still doing all we can to meet the financial needs of ellenor patients, families and carers. We are a team of volunteers working from home during the current restrictions. It is estimated that since the start of lockdown we have assisted more than 200 patients and/or their carers.
“Due to varying levels of restriction during the recent months, we are still only able to provide our service remotely, usually over the telephone, which continues to provide its own challenges. Like ellenor, many other organisations such as Kent County Council and the Department for Work and Pensions, have had to adapt their ways of working during the pandemic, leading to staff working from home and reduced claim line opening hours.
“Our service could just be a reassuring phone call to say that a benefit claim is in hand, or could be a longer phone conversation to go through a Government form that can be quite daunting for a patient or carer, particularly when their load is already quite heavy, and they have never needed to do anything like this before. In certain circumstances we can liaise directly with the Department for Work and Pensions, but we will always let the patient or carer know what we can do for them, before making any calls on their behalf.
“Jane, Anne and I have a combined ellenor volunteer service of more than 10 years, so have gained lots of experience in helping patients and carers access benefits they may be entitled to. We are moving into our third Christmas together as a team.
“Christmas can be a wonderful period for many but can also be a difficult time for our patients or carers, adding extra worries on top of a life limiting condition. Illness can take away the ability to work and add concern over increased need for central heating and increased cost of hospital parking. Whilst some people may be thinking about how much to spend on Christmas gifts, some of our patients will be worried about whether than can feed themselves and stay warm over the winter.
Patients often say to us “I’ve never claimed anything in my life before” but this, of course, is not a reason why they should not claim now, particularly when their needs might be at their greatest.
“Christmas will, of course, be different this year, but we want to reassure you that the ellenor Financial Support Service continues to be here for you, spending much of our time working on maximising incomes for patients and carers. As a carer recently said “We could not have got the benefit without your help and support. The extra money has made so much difference and helped give Dave some peace of mind at this difficult time.”
Specific benefits that we can help with are:
- Attendance Allowance (AA) claim. AA is a benefit for people over state pension age to help with extra costs of their disability or condition
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claim. PIP is a benefit for people aged 16 or over and usually have not reached state pension age. PIP can help with some of the extra costs if you have long-term ill health or a disability.
- Blue Badge (BB) application. The BB scheme helps you park closer to your destination if you’re disabled or have certain medical conditions. ellenor patients may be eligible for a priority BB application.
- In addition, we can provide guidance and details for a range of other benefits, for example:
- Carer’s Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Bereavement support, including help with funeral costs
- Motability Scheme
- Universal Credit
- Warm Home Discount Scheme
If you think we can assist you, please do not hesitate to ask your nurse or other ellenor care professional for a referral to our service. We are here to help.