A benefit take-up campaign in Lancaster has left 170 people, aged 75 and over, better off by a total of over £1,183,586 a year in total.
The campaign was organised by Lancashire County Council’s Welfare Rights Service in partnership with Lancaster City Council.
Lancaster City Council contacted over-75s in their area. They then sent out a letter inviting people to apply for a free and confidential benefits check completed by Welfare Rights, and 605 requests were received.
With the help of welfare rights officers, those households who were missing out on benefits they were entitled to have secured an average of an extra £110 per week each.
County Councillor Azhar Ali, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “This is great news for some of our older residents in Lancaster, who have had a welcome boost to their incomes. The people that we have been able to help so far are better off by an average of £110 each week.
“As well as the hardworking staff of our Welfare Rights Service, I’d also like to thank our partners at Lancaster City Council, for their help in making this campaign such a success.
“I know that we’ve received some tremendous feedback from people telling us what a difference this extra money will make to them. Some older residents told us that they will now be able to afford the basics better, like heating their home and buying food that they were struggling to do before.
“I’ve been told of one case, dealt with by the team, involving an older couple who were trying to manage on the basic pension. We’ve got them an extra £353 per week in benefits that they didn’t even know they were entitled to have.
“The Welfare Rights Service has been running various benefit take-up campaigns very successfully for many years now. I would urge pensioners to get in touch and ask for a free and confidential benefits check.
“As we have seen with this campaign and with others, it really could make all the difference.”
Councillor Anne Whitehead, Lancaster City Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for revenues and benefits, said: “It is important that all people claim the benefits they are entitled to and this was a very good campaign. I am glad that Lancaster City Council was able to be part of it and that so many people have benefitted from this good work.
“I would urge pensioners to get in contact with the Welfare Rights Service and have their free confidential benefits check as they could be a lot better off.”
Anyone who would like a free and confidential benefit check can phone the Welfare Rights Service on 0300 123 6739 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.