£50 million in additional benefits welcomed by Communities Minister

Date published: 19 October 2022

A Department for Communities’ service which helps people access entitlements they have not been claiming has generated £50 million in additional benefits over the last year.

Minister Hargey sitting at her desk

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey welcomed the ‘Make the Call’ results which saw nearly 11,000 people become, on average, £88 a week better off.

The £49.7 million figure for 2021/22 represented an increase of £7.8million in additional benefits from the previous year.

Minister Hargey acknowledged the service’s results, highlighting its success in reaching people of pension age with an additional £16 million in Pension Credit and Attendance Allowance generated.

Minister Hargey said,

“It is vital that people are put in touch with all the services and benefits to which they are entitled especially given the current cost-of-living pressures.

“My Department’s ‘Make the Call’ service helps put money in the pockets of those who need it most; an average of £88 a week will make a massive difference to those struggling with soaring costs.

“The Make the Call team’s efforts in reaching those of pension age, in particular, are to be applauded.

“Over 1,700 people were supported in accessing Pension Credit totaling an additional £6 million in benefits, whilst almost 2,500 people were able to claim Attendance Allowance, resulting in an additional £10 million.”

The Make the Call Wraparound Service works in conjunction with a range of partner organisations such as the Housing Executive , Housing Rights, Dementia NI and Carers NI.

Since 2005, almost £354 million in additional annual benefits has been generated for people across the north, many of whom are vulnerable through age, disability, illness, or adverse circumstances.

Minister Hargey continued,

“Often people don’t realise there is support out there to assist them. With ‘Make the Call’ we are actively reaching out to those thousands of people who find themselves in situations where every pound generated, and every assistance offered, can help improve lives.”

As well as supporting people in accessing benefits, the Make the Call service can direct people to additional supports including:

blue badges for car parking or free bus passes;

access to local groups to help maintain community connections and social independence;

help with health costs

home safety checks;

assistance with reducing energy costs

Minister Hargey concluded,

““I am determined to support those who need financial assistance the most and I would urge everyone to Make the Call. One phone call could make a massive difference to someone’s financial position.”

To 'Make the Call' you can phone 0800 232 1271;

text ADVICE to 079 8440 5248       

Visit nidirect.gov.uk/makethecall or email makethecall@dfcni.gov.uk

Notes to editors: 

  1. 1,711 people were supported in successfully accessing State Pension Credit (SPC) with an additional £5.9m of annualised benefits being generated as a result. This represents an increase of 304 people and an additional £1 million in annualised benefits generated when compared to the previous year.
  2. MtC staff supported 2,491 people of pension age in claiming Attendance Allowance with an additional £9.9m of annualised benefits being generated as a result. This represents an increase of 735 people and an additional £2.8m in annualised benefits generated when compared to the previous year.
  3. For further information contact the Department for Communities’ press office on 028 9082 3516 or email.
  4. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
  5. Follow us on Twitter @CommunitiesNI

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