Last year, Alice was deemed fit for work by the Department for Work and Pensions, despite her physical and learning disabilities. The process of signing on for Job Seekers Allowance and being liable for sanctions was causing Alice immense stress, so she sought support from GOLD.
GOLD, which stands for Getting On with Learning Difficulties, is a lottery funded project set up to support adults with a learning disability in Thanet. Following the change in her situation, Alice was supported by Project Worker Helen Scott-Cooper to visit the Citizens Advice Bureau. Here, Alice explained why she felt that she was unable to consider paid employment at this time.
Alice’s visit to the Citizens Advice Bureau led to a tribunal at Margate Magistrates Court, where she was supported by the GOLD team to provide a statement. After the hearing, the Tribunal Secretary informed Alice that her Employment and Support Allowance would be reinstated. Alice was relieved by the outcome, and now feels that she can continue getting on with her life.
“The whole process was really stressful, and without the support of GOLD, I don’t know where I’d be,” commented Alice.
Helen said: “GOLD are finding more & more people having difficulties with their benefits. Letters and forms are difficult to understand. Hopefully some of the work we are doing with people will ensure they receive the right entitlement .”[Siobhan Rose O’Gorman]