News: £1m Benefit For Lancashire Residents
Wednesday, 23rd June 2004
Lancashire residents are celebrating a windfall of more than £1 million thanks to County Council welfare rights experts.
The Welfare Rights Service has been carrying out benefit checks across Lancashire helping the over-60's to claim what they're entitled to.
Government funding has allowed the service to expand its normal activities for a special project targeting harder-to-reach groups, including those people who would not normally visit a Welfare Rights office.
During the last ten months, this has resulted in over £1 million in extra benefits for the county's residents. The majority of claims involve the new Pension Credit and Attendance Allowance, with many pensioners gaining around £100 week in extra benefits.
Benefit checks were offered initially to people receiving assistance from the Social Services department. The next stage of the project will target GP's surgeries and sheltered housing complexes.
The Welfare Rights Service is offering free benefit checks to anyone aged over 60, either by telephone or post, to identify any benefit underclaiming. People will then get help to fill in the necessary claim forms and afterwards, claims are followed up to make sure that people obtain their full entitlement.
Lancashire County Councilor Marcus Johnstone, Cabinet Member for Cultural Services and Communications said:
"The Welfare Rights Service already provides help to anyone in the County who has a problem with benefits or who needs help and advice. Extra funding has allowed us to reach those people who would not normally contact our local Welfare Rights offices.
"The large amount of money generated for people in such a short time shows how much underclaiming there still is in the county. However the project still has another 2 years to run so we hope that many more residents will be able to benefit in the future."
Anyone aged 60 or over living in the Lancashire County Council area not getting Pension Credit or Attendance Allowance can get a free benefit check by writing to: Lancashire County Council Welfare Rights Service, Freepost, Preston, PR1 8BR.
Notes for Editors
The Welfare Rights Service helps people to claim the benefits they are entitled to - whether they are unemployed, sick, disabled or on low wages.
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