In April the impact of Coronavirus on jobs and household income became clearer and patients have raised questions about what kind of financial assistance and support is available. To meet this need, Kidney Wales teamed up with Citizens Advice and the specialist Renal Social Workers across Wales to host a Facebook live Q&A session on welfare and benefits advice.

On 28 April, Julie Ann Riseborough, Advice Services Manager at Rhondda Cynon Taff Citizens Advice, hosted the Facebook Live session and gave clear and thorough guidance for people with kidney disease and their families about how household income can be maximised at this difficult time.

The key messages from the session were:

• There are a wide range of benefits and financial assistance available, depending on individual circumstances. To find out what you’re entitled to, please contact Advice Line Cymru on 0344 772 020.
• Take a look at the advice on ‘help if you are struggling with living costs’.
• Use a benefits calculator to get an estimate of what you’re entitled to.
Citizens Advice ‘Help to Claim’ Advisors, can help you complete your application for Universal Credit.
• Once you have claimed Universal Credit, you cannot go back to claiming the old type of ‘legacy’ benefits (housing, income related employment and support allowance, income related job seekers allowance, working tax credit, child tax credit and income support).
• There is a moratorium on disconnections for customers with credit meters so no customer with an energy meter will lose supply during COVID-19.

View the full report here:  Full Report Welfare Q&A

Kidney Wales makes available discretionary financial assistance for kidney patients and their carers, based on applications made by Renal Social Workers on behalf of patients. The aim is to relieve urgent financial pressures, to enable patients to focus on their health and well-being. Recent financial assistance has been provided to patients to purchase a fridge-freezer to enable them to store food for longer while they are shielding; for a lap top to enable a young adult patient to do school work at home; to replace a broken washing machine, and for a bed and wardrobe to enable a young adult to shield safely in the house of a family member etc. This funding makes a real difference at difficult times in people’s lives:

“Since diagnosis we have been struggling to make ends meet since losing one full time wage, so thank you again for such help”
“Thank you for the grant you paid today towards our fuel bill, this is a big weight off our minds”

Renal Social Workers across Wales continue to support individuals and families:

Andrew (Drew) Barnett Renal Social Worker (Ysbyty Maelor Wrexham)
Andrew.Barnett@wales.nhs.uk; 01978 727296/ 07583 069908

Caron Jones Renal Social Worker (Ysbyty Maelor Wrexham)
CARON.JONES@wales.nhs.uk; 01978 727296

Jayne Davis Renal Social Worker (Ysbyty Glan Clwyd)
Jayne.Davis@wales.nhs.uk; 01745 448778 ext. 2508/ 07773 107444

Alison Richards Renal Social Worker (Ysbyty Gwynedd)
Alison.Richards3@wales.nhs.uk; 01248 363469

Laura McGuiness Renal Social Worker (University Hospital of Wales)
02921 843772 – ask to speak to Laura

Morriston hospital is currently without dedicated renal social work support, please contact Paul Popham Fund or Kidney Care UK Advocate for advice/support.