Almost £4 million of additional benefits generated for Derry people
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The service, which helps people access entitlements they have not been claiming, generated almost £50 million in additional benefits across the north over the past year.
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey welcomed the ‘Make the Call’ results which saw people across the north become £88 a week better off on average and almost 900 people in Derry City and Strabane supported.
Minister Hargey said, “It is vital that people are put in touch with all the services and benefits to which they are entitled especially given the current cost-of-living pressures.
“My Department’s ‘Make the Call’ service helps put money in the pockets of those who need it most; an average of £88 a week will make a massive difference to those struggling with soaring costs. “
The overall figure for additional benefits generated during 2021/22 was £49.7 million for nearly 11,000 people. This represented an increase of £7.8million in additional benefits from the previous year.
Minister Hargey acknowledged the service’s results, highlighting its success in reaching people of pension age with an additional £16 million in State Pension Credit and Attendance Allowance generated.
“The Make the Call team’s efforts in reaching those of pension age, in particular, are to be applauded,” she said. “Across the north, over 1,700 people were supported in accessing State Pension Credit totalling an additional £6 million in benefits, whilst almost 2,500 people were able to claim Attendance Allowance, resulting in an additional £10 million.
“Often people don’t realise there is support out there to assist them. With ‘Make the Call’ we are actively reaching out to those thousands of people who find themselves in situations where every pound generated, and every assistance offered, can help improve lives.”
As well as supporting people in accessing benefits, the Make the Call service can direct people to additional supports including: blue badges for car parking or free bus passes; access to local groups to help maintain community connections and social independence; help with health costs; home safety checks; assistance with reducing energy costs.
Minister Hargey said: “These results are especially notable given that much of the outreach work took place whilst Covid restrictions were still in place.
“I am determined to support those who need financial assistance the most and I would urge everyone to Make the Call. One phone call could make a massive difference to someone’s financial position.”
To 'Make the Call', phone 0800 232 1271; text ADVICE to 079 8440 5248; visit nidirect.gov.uk/makethecall or email [email protected].