With the help of the Benefit Uptake Programme some of Ballymoney’s most vulnerable benefited from an extra £463,000 in their pockets.
This is down to the success of the Minister for Social Development’s Benefit Uptake Programme which saw nearly 5,000 people across Northern Ireland, most of them older people, gain almost £16.9 million in new and additional social security benefits. This increased the outcomes from last year by nearly £4 million.
Speaking about the growing success of the Benefit Uptake Programme, Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland said: “Promoting the uptake of benefits is a component of my Department’s efforts in tackling poverty and improving lives for the most vulnerable. It ensures extra money for grocery shopping in local communities or towards fuel for keeping homes warm in winter. This is additional money that is making a difference to people in difficult economic times.
“It is always important that we ensure that people who are entitled to benefits receive them. The fact that we have managed to secure nearly an additional £17million this year for people in need in Northern Ireland, is very encouraging indeed. Local people mainly aged 60 and over who benefited from the benefit uptake programme last year, were better off by an average of £65 per week. I am committed to making sure that our efforts in this area continue and grow, and I am confident of even greater success going forward.”
The Minister also reminded the public that a refreshed Make the Call advertising campaign has been ongoing since January as part of the 2013-2014 benefit uptake programme. Nelson McCausland added: “I call on people, in any and all circumstances, to come forward and find out if they are entitled to any additional benefits. That is why I have reinvested in a fresh Make the Call advertising campaign to help people recognise their needs, check their potential entitlements and to make a claim for financial or other help.”
For more information on benefit uptake programmes, visit http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/unclaimed-benefits.
People can also contact the Make the Call benefit advice line on 0800 232 1271 if they want to get a benefit entitlement check today.