Welfare & Benefits Advice

The Ely Centre Welfare and Advice service was established over 15 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.

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.

Service Overview: The Ely Centre provides Advice, Support and Assistance to individuals seeking support from a range of Welfare Schemes including

  • The Troubles Permanent Disablement Payment Scheme (TDPDS)
  • Social Security Welfare Benefits (Including PIP, ESA, UC ) Advice
  • War Disablement Pension & Military Benefits
  • Injury on Duty Applications

Head of Ely Centre Welfare Service: Mr Ben Higgins BEM,  ben@elycentre.co.uk

The Ely Centre Welfare Service aims

  1. To provide free, impartial, confidential advice and information by a trained and experienced adviser who has knowledge and experience of the TDPDS , Social Security welfare and benefits System, 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 Provide Assistance and Advice to Victims and Survivors applying to the TDPDS Scheme.
  4. Inform clients of the various forms of Welfare Support they are entitled to apply to.
  5. Reduce client uncertainty and anxiety during the Application /Appeal Process
  6. Increase welfare support accessibility through a modern service delivery model
  7. Address the financial/ welfare needs to victims and survivors from Co Fermanagh, Tyrone and Armagh
  8. Maximise individual and Household Incomes

Welfare Review 2020 2021 Service Snapshot  

  • Welfare Advisors  supported a total of 863 beneficiaries throughout the year
  • 790 Online/ Telephone welfare assessments and interventions provided
  • 73 Essential Face to Face to Interventions provided

The Troubles Permanent Disablement Payment Scheme (TDPDS)

On the 1st September 2021 The TDPDS Scheme was launched to support Victims and Survivors living with a permanent physical or psychological injury. The Ely Centre will provide support to Victims and Survivors seeking to apply to the TDPDS Scheme. Our specially trained welfare officers are on hand to support you. If you would like an initial meeting to discuss applying to this scheme then please contact our

The Enniskillen Office on 02866320977 Ext 1 OR

The Markethill Office 02837552447.

Alternatively please email vpsenquiries@elycentre.co.uk and a member of the team will be in contact with you.

Purpose of the TDPDS Scheme

To provide those living with permanent disablement (either physical or psychological) caused by injury through no fault of their own in a Troubles -related incident with payments primarily in acknowledgement of the acute harm which they have suffered.

The Scheme will also provide a measure of recognition of the implications of living with a permanent disablement caused by a serious Troubles-related injury and the associated impact of such disablement on carers often family members) and recognition that in many cases coping with disablement caused by the serious injury had an adverse impact on individuals and their families.

To learn more of the TDPDS Scheme please contact one of our case officers, or please visit www.victimspaymentboard.org.uk to learn more on the application process.

Additional Support for TDPDS Applicants 

Talking & Complementary Therapy Support for Applicants 

The Ely Centre understand that the TDPDS application process may for some applicants raise additional emotional anxiety especially when applicants are asked to recall the details and impact of the most traumatic aspects of their lives. Funding has been secured to provide talking therapy and complementary therapy to applicants requiring this support throughout the Application Process. 

Information Gathering Support for Applicants 

The Ely Centre have partnered with Ulster Human Rights Watch, who can provide assitance to TDPDS applicants who require additional support in collating and gathering documentation to support their TDPDS application. Further details on this partnership will be made aware to applicants during their initial appointment with a case officer. 

Please follow the link to learn more of Ulster Human Rights Watch

Pre Appointment Considerations

In advance of your appointment to the Ely Centre Welfare Team, we have developed a client questionnaire to assist us in ensuring a more effective and beneficial client journey. Please download the attached client questionnaire and try as best to possible to complete this before your first appointment with your case officer. Forms can be returned via post or emailed to your case officer. TDPDS Pre Appointment Client Questionnaire


The Welfare Staffing Team

Head of Welfare Services                                               Mr Ben Higgins BEM          Ben@elycentre.co.uk

Welfare Officer Co Fermanagh                                        Mr Ivan Bingham              Ivan@elycentre.co.uk

Welfare Officer Co Armagh                                             Mr Danny Kennedy            Danny@elycentre.co.uk

Welfare Officer Co Armagh                                             Mr David Taylor                David@elycentre.co.uk


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

  • The Troubles Permanent Disablement Payment Scheme (TDPDS)
  • 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, SSAFA 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 one of our centres, email us, give us a call, or fill in the service referral form