The STEPS service, which offers short term support to older people and those over 18 with long term health conditions in East Sussex, has been successful in supporting older people to generate over £600,000 for its clients in Hastings and Rother since the beginning of December 2016.

This figure represents a range of different things; unclaimed benefits, one off grant payments, benefit rebates, utility savings and successful Attendance Allowance applications.

One customer who benefitted from the service was 85 year old Simon* from Bexhill. Simon had a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and was living alone in his own home. STEPS received a referral from Adult Social Care to help Simon complete an Attendance Allowance (AA) claim form.

Initially Simon felt reluctant to share personal information with his support worker Mike, but as Simon already had the Attendance Allowance claim form and Mike explained it would only be a short piece of work, he agreed to let him help.

On his next visit, Mike realised that the claim pack that Simon had was dated 2015. Simon explained that someone from the Parkinson’s Society had previously tried to help him with the form but Simon had felt overwhelmed by all the questions and decided not to make the claim.

Mike reassured Simon that they could break the form down into small chunks and take their time completing it so he didn’t feel pressured. This approach worked well and they were able to work their way through the information required. During these sessions Simon also explained that he had never claimed his state pension so Mike offered to help with this too.

After completing the Attendance Allowance form and contacting the pension service and, Simon was awarded the high rate of AA at £83.00 a week along with a backdated state pension which totalled over £55,000.00!

Simon is really grateful for the help he received from STEPS:

Mike was very helpful in obtaining backdated pension plus Assistance Allowance that I didn’t know I was entitled to.

STEPS Service Manager for Hastings and Rother, Andrea McNally, recognises the importance of the service for the local community:

STEPS has helped so many older people deal with a wide variety of issues ranging from avoiding eviction to getting extra help with their heating. Our staff have a wealth of experience to draw upon to help people live independently and this amazing figure demonstrate what an enormous difference the service has made to our clients.

The service, commissioned by East Sussex Supporting People partnership, has worked with over 1457 cases in Hastings and Rother since December last year.  Along with the financial work, they also provided help with a variety of support issues such as finding out about local groups or activities within the area where people live to other issues that prevent someone from living a healthy, active and independent life.

For more information about the STEPS service, click here.

*Not his real name