Maximising Income - Benefits

Published: | Money Advice

A new campaign to raise awareness of how people can claim the benefits that they are entitled to has been launched by the South Locality of Glasgow City HSCP. Working with third sector providers and Money Matters, events were held in February outside of Silverburn shopping centre in Pollok where people could discuss benefits available with Welfare Rights Officers.

The Scottish Government estimates that as many as half a million Scots are missing out on benefits payments, and evidence from highly successful campaigns such as Healthier Wealthier Children and the Financial Inclusion in Primary Care Initiative tell us that often many people are simply not aware of the benefits available.

It is estimated that a one in five eligible families do not receive child tax credit or housing benefit, while more than two out of every five eligible people do not claim working tax credits. The charity Independent Age estimates that 60% of those eligible for Pension Credit do not claim, meaning that in excess of £300 million is left unclaimed by those pensioners who could benefit.

Parents claiming the benefits that they are entitled to will have a direct impact on child poverty and help maximise family incomes. For older people, claiming pension tax credit will reduce pensioner poverty and support from trained Welfare Rights staff can mitigate the negative impact of sanctions.

Cathy Rice, Health Improvement Senior said: “The benefits system is complex, and application forms are confusing so this campaign is taking information to our communities with trained Welfare Rights Officers on hand to discuss the benefits available.  A simple benefit check can lead to an increase in income whether it is a few pounds or a substantial amount.”

Help and advice is on the Money Matters website. Money Matters offer a free service. Phone 0141 445 5221.

The Money Matters FAB (Free Access to Bankrupcy and FAT Free Access to Fuel Top Ups) Fund in conjunction with British Gas Energy Trust is available until 31 March 2020. The FAB and FAT Fund responds to the needs of people within our communities so they can live their lives free from the worries of being in debt and can avert an emergency crisis when heating their homes this winter.

Money matters cannot accept applications direct from individuals but can from any advice agency, housing officer, foodbank or health professional. Forms are available from the Money Matters website under grant applications.