Improving the uptake of benefits and other Government supports and services by people who are entitled but not claiming is a key priority for the Department for Communities.

Since 2005, £174.1million in additional benefits has been generated for 46,144 people across Northern Ireland, many of whom are vulnerable through age, disability / illness, or adverse circumstances.

Our current 3 year Plan is entitled ‘Supporting People – Maximising Incomes through the Uptake of Benefits’ 

Vision and Related Aims

The plan’s vision is ‘To ensure that every individual and household across Northern Ireland is receiving all the social security benefits to which they and their families are entitled’.

The related aims ensure that within the framework of entitlements that exist at any given point, all those with potential entitlement:

  • are aware of the full range of social security benefits which exist to address their needs;
  • have access to the right information to help make an informed choice about making a claim;
  • are referred or signposted to a range of additional, relevant, benefits, services and supports; and
  • can make a claim easily (with encouragement and support, where required).

High Level Targets

The plan sets out the following high level targets:

That by 2019 we will –

  • Target a minimum of 100,000 people with the offer of a full Benefit Entitlement Check
  • Secure at least £40 million in additional benefits

Structure and Resources

The Department has a central benefit uptake base in Belfast where its Make the Call Telephony Unit is located, and also deploys 26 Community Outreach Officers who work from regional locations across Northern Ireland.

Approach

A multi- strand approach to delivering the benefit uptake programme has been adopted.

This includes:

  • The Make the Call 0800 232 1271* line.   Customers with are encouraged to call to receive a free and confidential needs assessment, and are also given advice on other government supports and services such as the Blue Badge scheme. 

    To generate calls, this service is advertised frequently throughout the year across all main media platforms, and customers also call following referrals from local benefit branches and offices, and through various partnership arrangements

*Network charges may apply

  • Community Outreach officers who conduct home visits with vulnerable people providing face to face assistance and support with benefit claim completion and providing information on other benefits, supports and services. Outreach officers also attend community events and redundancy clinics, supporting businesses and individuals, and taking referrals from a wide range of partners
  • Developing its effective Partnership Portfolio with Government, the wider public sector (including Health and Social Care Trusts), and the Voluntary and Community Sector.  Connecting people with Services and Organisations that can make a real difference to their lives.

Results Achieved

Most recent figures show that £37.1 million in additional annual benefits was generated for 7,765 people in 2018/19, which has made recipients better off on average by £92 per week.

Contact Us

Get in touch with us by making the call.

Freephone: 0800 232 1271*
*Network charges may apply

Request a callback from Make the Call

Text: CHECK to 67300
Or
Send a contact request using the Make the Call online form.

    Customers with hearing difficulties

    Text-phone: 028 9067 3591
    Email: makethecall@dfcni.gov.uk

    If you are transgender and have a query, you can email: knockbreda.makethecall.scr@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

    Opening Hours

    Phone lines are open Monday to Friday from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm (excluding public holidays).

    Contacting 08 and 03 numbers

    Unlike your home phone number, 08 and 03 telephone numbers are not linked to the location of the business. The cost of calling 084 and 087 numbers can vary depending on your provider, but 03 numbers cost no more than a national call from any type of phone or provider. 080 numbers are free to the caller.

    Further Information

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