Ballymena’s most people vulnerable people are better off to the tune of £678,000 thanks to the Benefit Uptake Programme.
The programme led to more than 4,000 people, many of them elderly, gaining £14.2 million in new and additional benefits. In fact, since 2005, benefit uptake work has generated over £81 million in additional income for people in Northern Ireland.
Minister Mervyn Storey said: “I am committed to promoting the uptake of benefits in an effort to tackle poverty and improve lives for those most vulnerable. This extra money means more income for grocery shopping and help towards fuel bills for keeping homes warm in winter. This is additional money that is making a difference to people throughout Northern Ireland, including 197 people in the Ballymena area.
“There is no doubt that the challenges presented by the current economic climate are significant. That is why it is vital we ensure that all those who are entitled to benefits receive them. Local people, many aged 60 and over, who benefited from the uptake campaign, are better off by an average of £62 per week; that’s money which will help put food on the table and oil in the tank.”
He added: “I urge people in all circumstances to ‘Make the Call’, including older people and those caring for them, to find out if they are entitled to any additional benefits. The ‘Make the Call’ freephone* advice line is confidential and manned by experienced and friendly advisors who can provide information about what benefits people may be entitled to, and arrange help with making a claim for benefit where it is required. Make the Call on 0800 232 1271.”
For more information visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/unclaimed-benefits