ALMOST 4,000 locals in Barnsley will lose their benefits as part of a shake-up. Swathing changes to the Employment and Support Allowance (which provides financial help to people who are unable to work because of illness or disability) will mean the change will see over 3,700 locals lose their benefits entirely. The changes mean that Employment Support Allowance will only be paid for 12 months now - before it could be paid until they reached pension age. Peter Francis, head of Welfare Rights Service, said: “In Barnsley this change will affect 7,000 people, of who 3,700 will lose their entitlement to benefits all together. “People who are losing their Employment Support Allowance may be entitled to other benefits or help that they are not aware of.” Coun Alan Gardiner, cabinet spokesperson for Corporate Affairs, said: “The sudden loss of income can have a drastic effect on a family’s ability to budget which in turn could lead to other problems. Under these circumstances we would urge people affected by this change to contact one of the advice agencies to see if they or their partners are entitled to any other benefits.” If you'd like help, here are some useful numbers: Welfare Rights Service on 01226 772360 Citizens Advice Bureaux on 08444 111 444 Disabled Information Advice Line on 01226 240273 Age UK on 01226 776820