Here, another client of ours - 'Mrs T' voices her own concerns over the cost and consequences of Legal Aid cuts, here's what she says in her own words:
"I have been to CAB quite a few times over the years. I have always found the staff at CAB very helpful with full knowledge of any situation. My last visit was to once again try to get Disability Living Allowance. I have severe osteoarthritis and could hardly walk. I was in extreme pain and was on 2 crutches, it was costing an absolute fortune in taxis. I spoke to one of their Advisors and we filled the forms in together. I was this time awarded Disability Living Allowance thanks to the advisor and CAB. I have also, in the past, found myself in debt and once again they took over and sorted it all out for me. I am now straight again and can sleep at nights.
If I had not received help from CAB I would definitely have finished up in hospital with a nervous breakdown, that is no lie, I was at breaking point with both of the above issues. I wouldn't say suicidal but very very close.
I think the government are barking up the wrong tree. With all these cuts people will need more help not less. If there is nowhere to go for help like CAB people will become ill and need hospitals which will cost the NHS more and more problems. They are hitting the vulnerable at a great cost. Typical conservative government."
Last Edit: Mar 2, 2011 15:13:36 GMT 1 by kbricknell
It's a valid observation you make Kbricknell over the broader saving to the state.
In the above example the costs of an appeal were avoided as the claim was allowed from the outset. Specialist help provides the client with skilled knowledge of what to include in and with the form - a proper application helps the decision maker make the right decision. These claim forms are far from straightforward, the questions may appear simple enough in places; but the skill is in probing the extent and variability of the client's mobility restriction and the need of help with personal care.
It requires a proper knowledge of the legislation and case law to help the client highlight areas they normally wouldn't think of as relevant. Equally, if the above client had not met the conditions for a successful claim, this would have been explained to them, resulting in a claim which the client decides not to further - avoiding all the costs associated with progressing it.
Your client also highlights the accompanying stress, it's a condition which can take up a lot of time and expense of the health authorities, not to mention how it can exacerbate other conditions; thus prolonging recovery time. Clients suffer from stress for all sorts of reasons, that they are able to seek professional help from proper advice agencies does a great deal to lessen the load by reducing stress. The accompanying advice would no doubt have included a check on whether the client was getting the right amount, advice on getting other benefits such as carer's allowance; as well as the usual holistic probing of other issues - such as debt & housing - the cost of leaving these unearthed is always greater in the long run.
Not to mention other advice on the the effects on other benefits, reducing utility costs by making effective representations to suppliers and perhaps advice on free road tax exemption and the client's possible entitlement to a vehicle from the Motability scheme.
Government has said nothing over how people remain in work by servicing the Disability industry, or how disabled clients put more back into the community as a result of their lawful enhancement in income in recognition of their severe conditions.
Research conducted by Citizens Advice has shown that for every £1 spent on Welfare Benefits advice, the state is saved £8.80. When you think about it, it's not hard to see why.
The popularity of Government includes genuinely disabled people like Mrs T, they have the absolute right to voice their discontent at the way they feel about the way they are being treated. Politicians should remember this, disabled people will not vote for those they feel badly treated by. Nor will other people like to see people like Mrs T get a raw deal, they too can tell government what they think come polling day.