I’m Tom, the Online Centre Benefits Advisor. I’ve been an advisor since the 1980s and currently combine working part time in the Online Centre, with training and writing on - yes, you guessed it - benefits. :-)
The benefits system can seem a bit of maze, especially as it goes through a period of cuts, change and confusion, with differences emerging according to where you live. The problem with benefits is not the fraud of popular myth and lurid headlines, but the much bigger issue of underclaiming by those fully entitled.
Benefits may not be that bountiful, but they can make a real difference, so please don't leave your entitlement unchecked nor your benefits unclaimed.
It can feel hard, lonely and disheartening, at times: most people don't like to have to claim and the paperwork and DWP silos can put you off at a time when you may not be feeling at your best. There's quite a range of benefits support available in the Online Centre. Please see my blog outlining the full range - here.
Speaking of blogs, you can see the my Benefit Blogs below. Please click on "View All Blog Entries " - on the red bar - to see the full back catalogue :-).
But if in any doubt, just message me at any time day or night. You won't get an answer at 3.00am, but you will get either a brief acknowledgement or a full reply usually within 24 hours.
We can check which benefits might apply in your specific situation and how to go about claiming them. We can do this entirely privately by swapping messages and/or set up a Booked Benefits Session. Other times you might want to just read up a bit or let off steam or post a more general query and experience, to share in the wisdom and support of fellow Centre members :-).
I can be with you every step of the way until the benefits are sorted or suggest local sources of face to face advice in your area.
I look forward to hearing from you, but for have now an Online Centre (((hug))) until we next meet about the place.
A look at latest progress on the the two big rolling - or stumbling - benefit changes of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Universal Credit U...
In Part 2, a look at changes coming in this April to benefits uprating, ESA, help for childen and other changes to Universal Credit and the new sys...
A three- part look at the impact of different DWP New Years, changes in mood music, changes ahead this April and beyond , with talk of blogs to com...
Tombenefits doesn't have any public galleries.