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  • Disability Benefits Advisory Service

Disability Benefits Advisory Service

Further to our extensive Welfare Benefits advice we've listened to our members and in response your feedback, Shine has launched a new service to help more members access key disability benefits.

Whether you're a new parent looking after children with multiple needs at home and at school, a young adult at college, work or setting up a home, or someone coping with later in life issues, the new Disability Benefits Advisory Service, open to all members will offer specialist advice and one-to-one support.

We will:

Work with members on a one to one basis to resolve specific benefit related issues.

  • Support members to claim appropriate entitlement to benefits
  • Assist members who've been refused applications for benefits
  • Provide information and tools to help members better understand their rights and entitlement
  • Keep up to date with the latest developments in welfare policy and practice
  • Represent the needs and views of our members at regional and national level

Exclusive to Shine members, you'll be referred by your Support and Development Worker but if it's been some time since you've needed our help, you can register your interest in the service by calling us on 01733 555988 or emailing:  and we'll arrange for someone to call you back.

You can download a copy of the new service specification below. 

  • Disability Benefits Advisory Service Specification
  • Download file

UPDATED 29.09.2017 - The Work Capability Assessment criteria has changed for some Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit (UC) claimants.

ESA claimants in the support group and UC claimants with limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA) attending a Work Capability Assessment from 29 September 2017 will no longer need to be reassessed if it finds that they:

“Have a severe, lifelong disability, illness or health condition and are unlikely to ever be able to move into work.”

Claimants will be told if they will not be reassessed following their WCA.

In order to meet the criteria claimants will have to be placed in the ESA Support Group or, for Universal Credit claimants found to have "Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity".

Secondly, the assessment will have to demonstrate that:

1. The level of function will always meet Limited Capability for Work Related Activity criteria;

2. The condition will always be present.

3. No realistic prospect of recovery of function.

4. Unambiguous condition (i.e. following all relevant clinical investigations a recognised medical diagnosis has been made)

This change does not affect:

• ESA claimants placed in the work-related activity group

• UC claimants who are found to have limited capability for work"

• Personal Independence Payment claimants.

The new criteria only apply to assessments carried out after 29th September 2017. Claimants already in the Support Group or with claimants with limited capability for work and work-related activity will still have to attend their next reassessment whenever that might be.

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Did You Know?

Some babies with spina bifida are now operated on before they are born, via keyhole surgery.

Hydrocephalus can be congenital or acquired.

NPH (Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus) is an excessive build-up of fluid in the head.

Hydrocephalus is a build up of excess fluid in the brain.

Some 11 - 35% of people with Intracranial Hypertension recover spontaneously.

Most babies with spina bifida undergo surgery within 48 hours of birth.

“Every effort should be made to ensure that all children are immunized, no opportunity to immunize should be missed.”

If you have spina bifida +/or hydrocephalus you should receive the same vaccinations as any others, when going abroad.

Hydrocephalus comes from the Greek "hydro" meaning water and "cephalie", meaning brain.

Some forms of hydrocephalus require no specific treatment.

Medical advice should always be sought if shunt infection is suspected.

Shunt: a device that diverts accumulated cerebro-spinal fluid around the obstructed pathways back to the bloodstream.

Possible signs of chronic shunt blockage include: fatigue, general malaise or behavioural changes.

A shunt alert card should be carried at all times by people with hydrocephalus treated by a shunt.

Possible signs of acute shunt blockage may include: visual disturbances, drowsiness and seizures.

Symptoms of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus are similar to Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease or simply increasing age.

NPH (Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus) occurs most often in people aged over 60.

Benign Intracranial Hypertension aka Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension affects about one or two in every 100,000 people!

Symptoms associated with raised intracranial pressure; headache, visual disturbances, photophobia, vomiting, problems with balance...

Diagnosis of Intracranial Hypertension is by scan + measurement of the CSF pressure.

Babies born prematurely are at increased risk of developing hydrocephalus.

Shine can raise money by recycling your used inkjet cartridges, toners or CDs and DVDs.

Para-athletes with spina bifida and hydrocephalus compete in sports ranging from cycling to dressage.

Hydrocephalus may affect memory, concentration and behaviour.

The usual treatment for hydrocephalus is to insert a shunt into the brain.

CSF stands for cerebro-spinal fluid.

Benny Bear is a teddy with hydrocephalus who helps children understand the condition.

Shine is always looking for Marathon Runners to help with fundraising.

Spina bifida occulta is a hidden form of spina bifida.

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