Advice in Mind
‘‘Advice in Mind’’ aims to provide accessible and personalised advice to those affected by mental health issues, Our work is varied, providing people advice on welfare rights issues, income maximisation and support in ensuring they can improve their quality of life.
According to research carried out by the University of Glasgow, mental health problems and GP consultations are more than twice as prevalent in deprived areas as in affluent areas and the prevalence of mental health problems is directly proportionate to the number of other problems patients experience.
The project operates across Lanarkshire, advice workers placed in Airdrie, Coatbridge, Cumbernauld and the North Corridor. We also have a peer support worker, offering practical, support beyond advice – accompanying clients to attend Employment Support Allowance medicals or appointments with their local housing office.
How we helped Mary
Client names have been changed to protect their identity.
Mary was referred to the project via the bureau’s In-Court Adviser as she was in rent arrears and her Employment and Support Allowance had been ceased.
An appointment was arranged for Mary to come into the bureau. Mary attended advising that she has been suffering from both physical and mental health issues. Mary was advised of the appeal process and that we would be sending a mandatory reconsideration on their behalf. Mary was advised they could claim JSA in the interim and a referral to a local food bank was made due to the reduction in income. Mary was also advised to contact Housing Benefit as she had not been claiming this and had built up rent arrears. Advised Mary to tell the Housing Benefit department they were appealing their ESA decision and that JSA would be claimed to ensure Housing Benefit was reinstated and that Mary would not fall into further arrears.
Mary contacted us around two weeks later to advise they received a letter stating the decision was unchanged, an appointment was given to complete an SSCS1 (appeal form). At this appointment the form was completed and the Mary was advised of the Tribunal process.
A final appointment was given to prepare for the case and to reassure Mary.
On the day of the tribunal, we presented our case. Mary was successful and the benefit and placed in the Work Related Activity Group. The award was for a closed period as Mary had managed to find a part time job since there mental health had improved since.