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).

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.

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 and reassessment forms for benefits, including: 

  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Employment & Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit
  • Carer’s Allowance

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.

Assistance from our Benefits Service is linked to attendance at the Understanding Your Rights workshops.

Attendees at these workshops will then be entitled to a free one-to-one advice session, to help them complete relevant application forms.

Anyone who wants urgent or repeated support not linked to workshop attendance will be charged a one-off fee of £40 for either a daytime appointment on Mondays at our office at 40 Caversham Road, in Reading town centre, or an evening appointment (subject to availability).

Ongoing support, if required, will also be provided by appointment for a fee of £40. This includes support at Jobcentre meetings and benefits assessments and representation at appeal tribunals.

  • Kevin is also able to see clients for daytime appointments on Fridays at the Shelter office, at 27 Church Street, Slough, SL1 1PL, but these are only available to residents of the Borough of Slough, as part of the SPACE project, led by Slough Council for Voluntary Services.

People who have made initial applications by themselves, then contact us for help with mandatory reconsiderations or appeals to tribunals, will also be asked to pay a fee of £40 for advice at an appointment 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.

Understanding Your Rights workshops

These take place at our office in Reading and look at applying for benefits, including DLA and PIP, and related issues. These workshops all 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 DLA workshops: Monday, December 2 (click here to book places).

The other workshops are intended for autistic teenagers (aged 16+) and adults and their parents and carers, looking at Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Universal Credit, completing the application forms and 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 16+ benefits workshops: Monday, November 18 (click here to book places); Monday, December 16 (click here to book places)..

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.