Applying for benefits can be confusing especially if your children are transitioning from one to another. Some forms appear straightforward but filling them out correctly and providing the right evidence of need can be difficult to get right.
Do ask for advice. Professional information advisors or friends can both help identify relevant points to include in applications. As a family carer, it’s easy to forget just how much you do to support your children/YP day to day. This might include prompting, motivating or encouraging.
Don’t be tempted to exaggerate or bend the truth – it won’t stand up to scrutiny.
Don’t get side-tracked providing evidence of things that are not asked for. Do gather good evidence from various sources about your child/YP’s care needs and daily living/mobility challenges. EHCPs and recent assessments are good starting points.
Make a photocopy or scan any paperwork you send
Get proof of posting for any applications. Some applications can take up to 10 weeks to acknowledge**. It’s tempting to just use the freepost envelope provided and put in the postbox. But if you go to a Post Office to do it, you can ask for a Certificate of Posting. This is your proof that you have posted the item declared on the certificate into the Royal Mail network. The certificate needs to be date stamped and signed at a Post Office window to be valid. Note: **It can take DWP up to 10 working days to acknowledge that they have received an application. They will frequently send a text message to acknowledge if you have provided a mobile number, however do not rely on this as acknowledgement is not always sent. Following receipt applications are usually processed and a decision received within 6 to 8 weeks.
Calling the DWP or assessment company about a benefit? Keep a log of who you talk to and when.
Send in applications in good time. Delays can cause benefits to be withheld. And if you don’t meet specified deadlines, payments could stop.
If your young person cannot manage benefits themselves, apply to the DWP to become an Appointee so that you can look after applications and payments on their behalf. More information on DWP Appointees
You can search for and download PIP and ESA descriptors which show how applications are scored.