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Welfare team helps tenants claim £2 million in benefits and grants

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Welfare team helps tenants claim £2 million in benefits and grants

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Published by Craig Downs for Derwentside Homes Ltd in Housing and also in Communities, Universal Credit

The Welfare Rights Team at Derwentside Homes has helped tenants access more than £2 million of unclaimed benefits and grants The Welfare Rights Team at Derwentside Homes has helped tenants access more than £2 million of unclaimed benefits and grants

Financial advice from Derwentside Homes’ Welfare Rights Team has helped tenants access more than £2 million in unclaimed benefits and grants.

Residents struggling to cope with changes to the welfare system, including the introduction of the bedroom tax, have been accessing advice and support from the team which was set up in 2011.

Since it was established, the team has helped 869 tenants to claim an average of £2,314.54 in additional benefits. Together, these previously unclaimed benefits now add up to £2,011,335.26.

Among those to receive advice and support from the team is Mr Lax of Annfield Plain who was referred due to arrears that occurred after he took ill and could not work.

The team helped him claim for Housing Benefit and Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) from the council and was successful in renegotiating the payments he made to creditors.  The DHP was backdated which helped him to reduce his arrears.

Without the help of the team, Mr Lax would have been evicted from his home as he is a new tenant within the first twelve months of his tenancy.

The team provides a complete package of financial support - including helping people claim benefits they are entitled to but unaware of, applying for discretionary housing payments and appealing against benefits decisions. Help is also available on issues including employment, fuel poverty, managing debt, avoiding illegal moneylenders, and setting up bank accounts.

Derwentside Homes’ Head of Housing Services Shelagh McGinn, said: “The Welfare Rights Team does a fantastic job helping our tenants to cope with the impact government’s changes to the benefits system which can leave many people confused and unsure of what they are entitled to claim. The fact we have now helped our tenants to access £2 million in unclaimed benefits is a significant milestone and is testament to the hard work and commitment of the team.

“The team provides clear advice and guidance which aims to help our tenants make informed choices and claim what they are fairly entitled to. Our advice is targeted at tenants most at risk of falling into financial difficulty.”

Shelagh added: “It makes sense for Derwentside Homes to invest in this kind of advice and support. Of course we want to help our tenants to avoid getting into financial difficulties for their own sake but it also helps us to continue to invest in local communities if we have fewer tenants falling into rent arrears.”

Derwentside’s Welfare Rights Team can be contacted on 01207 521 100, freephone 0800 783 9295 or email welfare.rights@derwentsidehomes.co.uk

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