Autism Berkshire’s Benefits Advice Service is available to autistic people and their families throughout the county, whether or not they are members of Autism Berkshire.
We can also assist Berkshire residents with conditions related to autism, including severe dyslexia, dyspraxia, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autistic people from neighbouring counties, on a fee-paying basis.
Our benefits service manager Kevin Jackson has many years of experience helping people with benefit applications. See below for details of how to contact him.
Please note that we strongly advise people to get in touch with us before they start to prepare to make a benefit application, so that our team can ensure the forms contain as much relevant information and evidence as possible for the initial assessment by the Department for Work and Pensions.
For more information about the Benefits Service and to book an appointment, call on 01189 594 594 (option 2) or email email@example.com – the service is supported by The Henry Smith Charity and a OneSlough grant from Slough Council for Voluntary Service and Slough Borough Council.
Our advisers can help people to understand their eligibility for welfare benefits and assist with completing application and reassessment forms, plus ongoing additional support if required, for the following benefits:
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children aged up to 15
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for over-16s
- Employment & Support Allowance (ESA)
- Universal Credit (UC)
- Carer’s Allowance
They are also able to assist with appeals against decisions made under the Department for Work & Pensions benefits assessment process, including mandatory reconsiderations, and to represent people at benefit assessment hearings and appeal tribunals, subject to payment of a fee and travel expenses.
Initial appointments with one of our advisers to complete a benefits application form (DLA, PIP, ESA, UC, Carer’s Allowance) are free of charge for Berkshire residents who are autistic or who are applying on behalf of an autistic person.
Slough residents who are autistic, or have learning disabilities or mental health conditions, will also get advice and representation free of charge for mandatory reconsiderations and appeals to tribunals – but we will require payment of our staff’s travel expenses to attend assessment and reconsideration meetings and tribunal hearings.
The charges outlined below (per advice appointment or hearing) apply in other cases. We require payment in advance of appointments or hearings.
We will consider waiving these fees in cases where someone can show that having to pay for support will cause them hardship. Please contact our benefits advisers for more information.
We also require our advisers’ travel expenses to be paid when they represent clients in person at assessments and at appeal hearings.
For autistic residents of Berkshire and their families (except Slough, see above), who have received initial free advice from our advisers about an application:
- Advice about mandatory reconsiderations and applications to a benefits appeal tribunal: £30
- Ongoing support appointments: £50 – this includes representation at Jobcentre Plus meetings, benefits assessments and mandatory reconsideration hearings.
- Representation at benefits appeal tribunals: £90
For autistic people and their families who live in adjacent areas of counties around Berkshire (ie Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey and Wiltshire) and for Berkshire residents who have ADHD, severe dyslexia, dyspraxia and OCD:
- Advice about an initial benefits application: £30
- Advice about mandatory reconsiderations and applications to a benefits appeal tribunal: £50
- Ongoing support appointments: £90 – this includes representation at Jobcentre Plus meetings, benefits assessments and mandatory reconsideration hearings.
- Representation at benefits appeal tribunals: £120