RNIB Cymru’s Rights, Advice and Information Service (RAISE) is a specialist welfare benefits and welfare rights service for people with sensory loss across Wales who face poverty and social exclusion.
The Big Lottery Fund provided three years’ funding of almost a million pounds enabling RNIB Cymru, in partnership with Action on Hearing Loss Cymru and the sensory loss sector in Wales, to establish RAISE and address the barriers faced by people with sensory loss in Wales when claiming their benefit entitlement.
It is estimated that, by the end of the project in December 2017, £13.5 million will have been secured in unclaimed benefits.
Ceri Jackson, Director of RNIB Cymru said, “This service has made a huge difference to the lives of people with sensory loss in Wales. Welfare Reform and cuts to services across the UK have resulted in people with sensory loss facing significant financial challenges. Customers tell us that receiving their correct benefit entitlement, and being financially better off, increases their independence and physical and emotional wellbeing.”
Rebecca Woolley, Director for Action on Hearing Loss Cymru said, “We know that many people with sensory loss do not claim the welfare benefits they are entitled to because of difficulties in the process, lack of awareness, lack of accessibility and fear of being labelled. RAISE has shown that these barriers can be overcome by providing a service and information which meets customers communication needs. such as large print, audio, email, Braille, British Sign Language (BSL), Skype, Facetime and text and by providing support to navigate the complexities of the Welfare benefits system.”