The RAF Benevolent Fund has launched a new Advice and Advocacy Service providing the RAF Family with benefits advice and acting on their behalf if they feel they are not receiving the support they are entitled to from the Government, their local NHS or Local Authority.
During these difficult times we realise that many people in the RAF Family have questions about their rights. Whether it be a question on your employment rights or whether you are entitled to a full refund on your holiday, we are here to support you.
To help answer some of your questions we are working partnership with the legal advice company, Law Express. Law Express provides confidential, impartial and practical telephone legal advice on a wide range of issues, including employment, housing, consumers issues, family law as well as wills and probate.
If you are a member of the RAF Family we can provide a free call to talk directly with the legal advisors at Law Express.
What is the RAF Benevolent Fund's Advice and Advocacy Service?
Changes to the welfare and benefits system often leave people confused as to the benefits they are entitled to from the Government. Or they are simply not aware that they are eligible to receive further support.
Our Advice and Advocacy Service was launched in February 2015 to support the RAF Family through the sometimes complicated benefits system and to help ensure they are receiving the services they are entitled to from the NHS and their local authority.
There are two ways we can help you. We can advise you on the benefits you may be entitled to. And we can advocate on your behalf if you are struggling to get the correct services from the NHS or your Local Authority.
Who is eligible to use this new service?
If you are eligible for help from the RAF Benevolent Fund then you are eligible for help from our new service. You do not have to need our financial support; we will be pleased to help and support you whether you are above or below our capital threshold.
We are happy to speak to the children or grandchildren of people who are in care, providing that you have their consent to speak to us or you have Power of Attorney or Deputeeship.
Why have you launched this service?
The benefits and care system can be confusing. Our newly appointed Benefits and Advocacy advisors can help you through the maze and can even act on your behalf if you feel you are not receiving the welfare support and benefits you are entitled to.
We want to:
- Provide former and serving RAF personnel and their families with the information they need to make informed choices about their care and welfare benefits.
- Advise and represent former and serving RAF personnel and their families so that they receive the support they are entitled to.
- Help former and serving RAF personnel make complaints or appeal when they do not receive the support they are entitled to.
What is Advocacy?
Advocacy is provided by an advocate. An advocate is someone who acts on your behalf and argues in your favour if there is a dispute about the care or benefits you receive.
What sort of things does the RAF Benevolent Fund provide advocacy for?
Advocates can provide all sorts of support, depending on your situation. However, the RAF Benevolent Fund specialises in providing advocacy on care services issues. These include problems with:
- Domiciliary care
- Getting a care assessment
- Continuing Heath Care (CHC) Funding
- Care home top-up fees
- Other care related issues
- Disabled Facility Grants (DFGs)
Our advocacy team will provide support and assistance as quickly as possible, but please note we cannot respond immediately, if you have an immediate concern (especially around safeguarding) you should engage directly with your local authority (Adult Services or Children's Service's) or the Police who have a statutory responsibility to help.
What is Advice?
Advice is providing guidance and recommendations on what to do in a particular situation.
What sort of things do you provide advice on?
We are able to provide specialist advice on welfare benefits, community care and care services.
What if I need advice and advocacy support and I am currently serving in the RAF?
If you are currently serving in the RAF you may find it more convenient to access support on your station, through welfare staff or your local Citizens Advice Bureau. However, we can also advise you on welfare benefits, community care and care services.
How our Benefits and Advocacy Service may be able to help you
Often changes in circumstances can mean people become entitled to financial help from the Government, for example, due to ill health, disability, bereavement, caring responsibilities or childcare costs. If you are on a low income or have a change in your circumstances then we can provide advice on the support that may be available to you.
Disabled Facility Grants
Some people who need adaptations to their home can apply to their Local Authority for a Disabled Facility Grant (DFG). The grant can be used to modify the home so it is more suitable. A common modification is to fit a level access shower. If you are having difficulties with a DFG we may be able to help.
Care home top-up fees
When people go into care homes, their relatives sometimes have to contribute to the cost of care. This is fair when relatives want the person to go into a home that more than meets their needs. However, sometimes relatives are asked to pay top-up fees when they should not have to. If this is the case, we may be able to help.
Continuing Health Care (CHC) Funding
The NHS has a responsibility to fund people who have nursing care needs. Sometimes the NHS refuses to give CHC funding or unfairly withdraw it. If this is the case, we may be able to help.
Sometimes people need to be cared for in their homes. Local authorities can refuse domiciliary care funding or not provide enough care. If this is the case, we may be able to help.
Will you also help financially?
The purpose of the advice and advocacy service is to ensure that the Government, NHS and local authorities pay what they should to support those members of the RAF Family who are in need.
However, we do recognise that even when they have helped to the maximum extent possible, that for some people there might still be a shortfall. If your capital level is below our threshold, then we will be pleased to consider additional financial support to help you in your time of need.
Examples of our work and how we can help
Jean is 85 years old and has vascular dementia. She lives in a care home. The NHS were paying for her care but this was recently withdrawn. Jean's family disagreed with the decision and contacted us for advice. We are able to help by appealing the decision to withdraw funding and by representing Jean's family at hearings to decide her case.
Alfred is 90 years old and receives care in his home (known as domiciliary care). Alfred's family felt that he was not getting enough care to meet his needs. We are able to help by negotiating with the Local Authority on Alfred's behalf to arrange a new care assessment that reflects his current needs, so that he can get more help and support to allow him to continue living independently in his own home.
Income Maximisation booklet
Are you making the most of your income? Have a look through our booklet on income maximisation. This provides advice on a number of ways you may be able to reduce your outgoings or make more of your income.
Get in touch with us
If you or a family member would like further information about our free benefits service then contact firstname.lastname@example.org or if you or a family member would like further information about our advocacy service then contact email@example.com.