Benefits Service

Autism Berkshire’s Benefits Advice Service is available to people living with autism in the county, whether or not they are members of Autism Berkshire.

Kevin Jackson, our highly-qualified Benefits Adviser, has many years of experience working in the fields of autism and benefits/access to work.

He can help autistic adults and the parents and carers of children with autism spectrum conditions on an individual basis and through our Understanding your Rights workshops (see below).

Support is also available to people with related conditions including severe dyslexia, dyspraxia, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), subject to payment of a fee.

Kevin can help people to understand eligibility and assist with completing application forms for benefits, including:

  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Employment & Support Allowance
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Universal Credit

He is also able to assist with appeals against decisions made under the Department for Work and Pensions assessment process and to represent people at benefit assessment hearings and appeal tribunals.

Kevin is available for one-to-one daytime appointments booked in advance at our office in Reading on Mondays and at the Shelter office, at 27 Church Street, Slough, SL1 1PL, on Fridays.

  • Please note that appointments in Slough are only available to residents of the Borough of Slough, as part of the SPACE project, led by Slough Council for Voluntary Services.

Due to high levels of demand for support with benefits applications and appeals, we have revised the way we operate the service to better reflect the workload involved in particular cases.

Advice will be available free of charge at daytime appointments in Reading and Slough for new clients who need help completing initial application forms for benefits and for existing clients who need support with mandatory reconsiderations of applications and appeals to tribunals.

Please note that we strongly advise people to contact us when they start to prepare to make a benefit application, so that Kevin can ensure the forms contain as much relevant information as possible for the initial assessment by the Department for Work and Pensions.

People who have made initial applications themselves, then contact us for help with mandatory reconsiderations or appeals to tribunals, will be asked to pay a fee of £40 for advice. Appointments for advice in these circumstances are available in Reading. Contact the office for details.

Advice on benefit claims involving people with severe dyslexia, dyspraxia, OCD and ADHD is also available for a fee of £60 per appointment.

Kevin is also available for advice appointments in the evening at our office in Reading and to represent people in person at PIP and Universal Credit assessment hearings and tribunals. All these services are subject to a fee of £40 per meeting or hearing, plus travel expenses for hearings and tribunals.

We also run Understanding Your Rights workshops at our office in Reading, looking at applying for benefits including DLA and PIP and related issues. These workshops run from 10am to noon on Mondays.

Some are for parents and carers of children aged up to 15, looking at how to complete the application form for DLA and what supporting evidence to include.

Forthcoming workshops are on Monday, September 16 (click here to book places) and Monday, November 18.

The other workshops are intended for autistic teenagers (16+) and adults and their parents and carers, looking at Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Universal Credit, completing the application forms, what supporting evidence to include when making a claim. They also look at the appeals process, what employment advice and support is available and disabled people’s rights in the workplace.

Forthcoming workshops are on Monday, October 21 (click here to book places) and Monday, December 16.

For more information about the Benefits Service and to book an appointment with Kevin Jackson, call the office on 01189 594 594 or email admin@autismberkshire.org.uk

Click here to download our Benefits Service leaflet.

  • The Benefits Service is supported by Reading Borough Council’s New Directions service and the Slough CVS SPACE project.