An additional £44.1 million of benefits has been claimed by over 9,500 people through the Department for Communities ‘Make the Call’ campaign this year.
The figure for 2019-20 brings the total for additional entitlements claimed to over a quarter of a billion pounds since 2005.
The ‘Make the Call’ service supports people in accessing benefits and services to which they are entitled but have not been claiming.
The additional £262 million claimed over the last 15 years has been generated for people here, many of whom are vulnerable through age or disability, illness or adverse circumstances.
Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said: “The aim of ‘Make the Call’ is to support people when they need it most. Major life changes such as taking on caring responsibilities, illness or disability, retirement or bereavement can mean people become entitled to a range of different benefits and supports or services.
“Often people don’t realise that there is support out there to assist them during such difficult times, which have increased now due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With ‘Make the Call’ we are actively reaching out to those thousands of people each year in situations where every pound generated can help improve someone’s life.”
In addition to supporting the uptake of unclaimed benefit, the ‘Make the Call’ campaign connects people to other services and supports available across the wider government, voluntary and community sectors.
This can include support such as:
- a blue badge for car parking or a free bus pass;
- access to local groups to help maintain community connections and social independence;
- free school meals;
- home safety checks;
- assistance with reducing energy costs;
The Minister continued: “Our intervention has helped people who ‘Made the Call’ become, on average, £88 better off per week. In addition during 2019/20, a total of 665 people have been referred to our partner organisations which help with non-benefit supports and services that can also make a real difference to their lives.”
To 'Make the Call' you can phone 0800 232 1271; text ADVICE to 67300; Visit nidirect.gov.uk/makethecall or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors:
1. The £44.1 million in additional annualised benefits represents an increase of £900,000 from 2018/2019 year.
2. The number of people benefiting increased by 280 to 9,620
3. The average weekly amount that customers are better off by is £88.10 per person
4. As part of the service, the ‘Make the Call’ team carry out a needs assessment to ascertain whether an individual is receiving all the benefits, supports and services they may be entitled to. See nidirect.gov.uk/makethecall for further information.
5. Media enquiries to DfC Press Office via email.
6. The Executive Information Service operates an out-of-hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The Duty Press Officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
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