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The working life of a welfare benefits lead

Author: St Joseph's Hospice
03 November 2017

Shamim is the Welfare Benefits Lead at St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney, East London, where he provides financial advice and advocacy to patients, their carers and their families. Here he explains the enjoyment he gets from helping people with his work.

With the diagnosis of a terminal illness, many patients face a huge financial burden. As a Welfare Benefits Service, we try our best to alleviate financial hardship faced by patients, carers and families by carrying out assessments and advising clients on their entitlement to benefits and helping them make appropriate applications. My role also includes helping patients and families to access appropriate sources of charitable help and apply for financial grants on their behalf.

Another important part of my role includes signposting patients and families to relevant services in areas where we cannot provide advice and support. These can include Adult Social Care in the local boroughs, Down to Earth for funeral planning, Shelter for housing advice, Citizen Advice Bureau for benefit appeals, and many more.

I enjoy being able to work in a role that enables me to support and advise people in need, as well as working within a multi-disciplinary team to find ways to resolve their issues. I enjoy the challenge of being able to provide advice of welfare benefits as well as exploring different grants and charities that provide help.  I find pleasure in being able to make a positive impact on the lives of the patients and families, knowing that I have made a positive contribution towards their wellbeing.

One proud moment that comes to my mind is when I worked with a patient I will call Annette to protect her identity. She lived alone, and her daughter and grandchildren lived in Ireland. Annette was going through financial hardship, and she had a strong wish to travel to Ireland to see her family, as she knew that her prognosis was short.

However, she could not afford the cost of the holiday. I sourced and applied to different charities and grants that helped cover the costs of the flight as well as some extra money to buy gifts for her grandchildren.

Annette travelled to Ireland with her sister and was able to spend her last days with her family. She passed away with her loved ones by her side. I spoke to her sister after her death and she said that Annette was the happiest she had seen in a long time. Although it was sad to hear about her death, at the same time it gave me great satisfaction and happiness to know that I was able to help her follow her wishes to see her family.

For more information visit St Joseph’s Hospice

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