CHESTERFIELD: M.E. Group raises concerns about benefit changes

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Chesterfield

ME

The seventh anniversary network meeting of Chesterfield members of Sheffield M.E. Group (S.M.E.G.) was held at Chesterfield Library.There was a record attendance of 21 members who came to listen to Chris, the Outreach and Welfare Advisor from S.M.E.G., talk about the changes in the benefits system which came into force on April 1. Many members are particularly concerned about the change from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independent Payment (PIP) which could affect their entitlement as they rely on this benefit to help towards some of the extra costs arising from living with a disabling, ongoing illness like ME/CFS. This support can enable people affected by ME/CFS live fuller, more active and independent lives. Unfortunately the media frequently portrays people on benefits as fraudulent cheats and this can cause members a great deal of stress whereas only about 0.1% of claims are in fact false. Chris gave an informative presentation clearly explaining the key points about the new PIP benefit and members expressed how helpful his talk was.

During the meeting members also filled in a questionnaire to assess their wellbeing which can be defined as how people feel and how they function, both on a personal and social level and how they evaluate their lives as a whole. This questionnaire has been developed by nef (the new economic foundation) for the purpose of voluntary organisations being able to deliver and evaluate the work they do.

Future events include: Saturday, May 11, 1.30pm-4.30pm, The Circle 33 Rockingham Lane, S1 4FW - Sheffield M.E.Group Social & AGM featuring guest speakers, physiotherapist and nutritional advisor Norah Wickerson and entertainment by story-tellers and musicains Penny Bun,light refreshments and information stalls; Thursday, June 27, 1.30pm-3.30pm - summer network gathering at Frederick’s, Queen’s Park Cafe, Chesterfield.

For further information call 0114 253 6700 or visit www.sheffieldMEGroup.co.uk