Benefits and Entitlements Top Tips
Benefit claims can sometimes be confusing and very time consuming. Each benefit brings its own rules, regulations and potential pitfalls. Some are means tested so entitlement depends on your income, savings/capital; some are available to all and others aren’t; some depend on PRSI Contributions; some depend on your age; some depend on your earnings; others depend on you having children.
Below is some general advice to help you and the person who you are caring for get what you are both entitled to.
- Many agencies will give you support when applying for benefits and offer assistance with filling out application forms. They will also help to ensure that you provide all necessary documentary evidence which may avoid unnecessary delays.
- People of all ages can be entitled to benefits, even children, so make sure you mention them in any benefits discussions.
- Different benefits are dealt with by separate bodies and separate departments – If you inform one department of a change in your circumstances do not assume that they will pass on this information to any other department. You must inform all of the offices you get benefits from. It is best to do this in writing.
- Photocopy everything and keep all photocopies and important letters together in a file. If you receive any letters that you don’t understand phone the benefits office for an explanation or go to an advice agency.
- When you phone a benefits office, Revenue, or the council, always write down the name of person you spoke to, the date, the time, and what was agreed in case the problem is not sorted out straight away.
- Get a receipt when you hand in forms or evidence and keep it safe. If you are asked for the same information again you will be able to prove that you have already supplied it.
- If you do receive a letter asking for information you have already supplied don’t assume that the benefits office will realise their mistake and continue processing your claim. You must respond, if only to show them your receipt, otherwise you may find that they have closed your claim.
- If you or a family member is turned down for benefits such as Carers Allowance it’s not necessarily the end of the matter. Many specialist advice agencies have a very high success rate when appealing against such decisions.
- Be wary of taking advice from friends, neighbours, relatives or anyone else – everyone’s circumstances are different; always seek specialist welfare rights advice.
- Benefit rules continually change, as may your personal circumstances – you should seek regular assessments of your benefit entitlements to ensure you receive everything you are entitled to. The following are a good starting point:
West Cork Carers Support Groups Support-Line Tel: 027 51731
Wednesday And Thursday Mornings From 10am To 1pm.
Bantry Citizens Information Centre Bantry
Tel: 0761 07 8390