Welfare & Benefits Advice

The Ely Centre Welfare and Advice service was established over 10 years ago and is one of the most important approaches we use to improve the immediate difficulties and obstacles many victims and survivors are experiencing.

Service Overview: Lead Partner in delivery of Benefit Advice/ Specialist War Pension & Military Benefits to ease uncertainty surrounding welfare reform, increase access and improve the financial/ welfare needs to victims and survivors from Co Fermanagh, Tyrone and Armagh

When an individual experiences bereavement, loss and is living with the physical /psychological effects of troubles related trauma, it can be difficult to engage in counselling if there are immediate financial or other concerns.

Welfare Review 2019-2020 Snapshot

  • Financial Income from April – March 2020 Approximately 545 K  
  • Project has supported a total of 633 beneficiaries throughout the year
  • 514 In house welfare assessments
  • 119 outreach welfare assessments
  • 8 outreach welfare clinics delivered across the target areas.

The Welfare Staffing Team

Mr Ben Higgins BEM          Ben@elycentre.co.uk

Mr Ivan Bingham              Ivan@elycentre.co.uk

Mr Danny Kennedy            Danny@elycentre.co.uk

Mr David Taylor                David@elycentre.co.uk

Aims of the Ely Centres Welfare Service

  1. To provide free, impartial, confidential advice and information by a trained and experienced adviser who has knowledge and experience of the welfare and benefits process and policy and the effects of grief & trauma on an individual.
  2. To identify social policy issues which may affect our client group and lobby for change.
  3. To maximise household income


 Information, Advice & Assistance on all welfare advice issues including:

  • Social Security benefits ( PIP/ESA/Universal Credit)
  • Welfare Health Checks and Calculations
  • Completion of Welfare Application forms
  • Housing benefit/ Attendance Allowance
  • War Disablement Pension and Military Financial Support / SSAFA
  • Injury on Duty Claims
  • Preparation of Mandatory Reconsiderations
  • Appeal Preparation and Representation
  • Miscellaneous Benefit Support


Outreach Support

The Ely Centre partner with a wide range of voluntary and community organisations across our target areas to educate potential claimants through welfare information roadshows on the benefit system and provide referral pathways for them to access our services.

We currently deliver welfare outreach clinics to the following organisations:

  • The Castlehill Foundation ( Portadown)
  • Ulster Human Rights Watch ( Lurgan)
  • Royal British Legions
  • UDR/RIR Associations
  • Church Groups
  • Retired Police Officer Support Groups
  • Orange Lodges & Other Cultural Groups.


Social Policy work

We report on issues or changes which may have an effect on victims/survivors and lobby for change by:

  • Raising issues with relevant bodies & government to effect change
  • Reporting issues to Advice NI
  • Providing feedback to relevant government Consultations ( ie. Troubles Permanent Disablement Payment Scheme.


Skills and experience to help you

All Advisers have completed:

  • Accredited Adviser Training Programme with Advice NI/ CAB/ SSAFA or LAW Centre NI or equivalent. Or
  • Successfully completed Tribunal Representation Course or
  • Many years’ experience in the field of Benefit Advice and information within The Social Security Agency


Memberships and Partnerships

The Ely Centre is a member of Advice NI & the Law Centre NI.

In recent years we have established a highly effective and beneficial working partnerships with the Victims and Survivors Service, Veterans UK and the UDR Aftercare Service - Enniskillen Branch, along with a wide range of Military Charities to ensure eligible individuals are kept informed of any assistance & support they are entitled to receive.

If you would like to refer to this service please drop into the centre, give us a call, or fill in the service referral form which should only take a few minutes.