Just a reminder of the counselling service that we offer through former members of the Security Forces who served through The Troubles - and their families.  We have two Volunteer counsellors - one Male and one Female - who are trained/under training and who are fully legitimate and working under BACP guidelines - similar to what you will receive anywhere else.  Confidentiality, insurance and a safe place to air your issues are all amongst our priorities and if you need to talk to them about anything at all that you are concerned about, then please give me a call.  Issues dealt with range from - depression, debt, bereavement, bullying etc etc.  The counsellors are trained to assess in the first instance and if they feel they are not able to deal with your issues, then they will ensure you will be signposted to the help you require.
Phone the Office for more details.
Should you need support outside of hours, some of these organisations may be able to help you:

Forcesline 0800 7314880 (Monday - Friday 10.30 - 19.30) or by email
Free and 100% confidential helpline that provides a supportive, listening and signposting service for serving personnel, former members of the Armed Forces and their families.

Samaritans 0845 7909090 ROI 1850 609090. (available 24 hours) or by email
Available 24 hours a day to provide confidential emotional support for people who are experiencing feelings of distress, despair or suicidal thoughts.

Combat Stress 0800138 1619 (available 24 hours) or by email
Confidential and safe help and advice about Service-related mental health issues for the whole military community.

Big White Wall (available 24 hours)
Share what's troubling you anonymously 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - join the Big White Wall network. Free for serving personnel, veterans, family members and carers.

Veterans UK Welfare Service 0808 1914 2 18
As you may or may not know, DLA is being replaced with PIP (Personal Independence Payments) https://www.gov.uk/pip/overview .   

I attended a seminar recently and took down a few bullet points that may interest some of you.  I have also got someone from the Department who will come along and speak to a group of you if it is something you are interested in.  So, if you are, please let me know ASAP:

u  DLA has been in place since 1992 and is now unsustainable and it was felt that benefits need to be more targeted to those in need.

u   PIP replaced DLA on 20th June 2016.

u   There will be no automatic passport from DLA to PIP for anyone.

u  PIP does not affect children under 16 or those over 65 from 20th June 2016.

u  Application form is simpler than DLA.

u   Entitlement to PIPs is Points based and reviews will take place at various times depending on disability.

u   The Daily Living Component requires 12 points and there is a table to follow.

u   There are 120,000 (16-64) to be assessed and assessments will be phased and made randomly by computer.

u  When your current DLA is up you will be ‘invited’ to apply for PIP and have 4 weeks to get your application in.  If you do not return the form, someone will visit you. 

u   DLA will be continued until a decision is made.

u   Capita Business Services have been contracted by the Government to carry out assessments. www.capita-pip.co.uk

u  Most assessments will be paper-based from your application and some may be face-to-face.

u  The Department make the decision on your entitlement and not Capita.

u   Victims & Survivors seriously injured will not be expected to have to re-tell their whole story if permission is given to use existing evidence.

u   Information from DLA or other means will not be transferred to PIP unless you give permission.

u  If you appeal, your current DLA will be paid until a decision is made.

u   All 100 Assessors are Health Professionals and assessment by stealth will not be allowed.

u   So far in NI, 200 assessments have been completed.

u   There are 6 dedicated Consultation Centres across NI for those called for a face-to-face assessment and you will be asked to attend the closest. 

u   You may ask for a home-visit if there is a good reason why you cannot attend a Consultation Centre. 

This is just some highlights in a simplified form which I hope will help those interested!

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