CAB will use facebook to boost benefits take-up

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LARNE Citizens’ Advice Bureau will use facebook and twitter to encourage more local people to take up benefits.

A £60,000 funding boost announced by Social Security Minister Nelson McCausland last week will also enable the bureau to use mobile phones, texts and emails to make more people aware of benefits to which they may be entitled but are not claiming.

The DSD’s £375,000 Innovation Fund is for voluntary and community organisations steering seven pilot projects across Northern Ireland aimed at finding new ways to in crease benefit uptake.

Larne CAB is testing modern access channels locally to reach out to more young people, householders, disabled and older people.

Mr McCausland said: “With the increase in household bills, there is no better time to help ensure that benefits are reaching those who need them most. This partnership with the voluntary and community sector will help us reach young people, those living with a disability and older people to claim benefits they are entitled to.

“Offering financial help from the Innovation Fund to local organisations helps my Department in its daily business. It is an excellent way of harnessing valuable skills and knowledge from these organisations who work day-to-day with the people we are trying to reach.

“I congratulate the successful organisations and look forward to seeing the outcomes of the new approaches. It is a further step in ensuring that the most vulnerable in our society are protected from falling into poverty.”

Other pilot projects include a Northern Ireland cancer-specific uptake programme driven by MacMillan Cancer Support. It will offer face-to-face benefits advice in hospitals. Advice NI is to liaise with the HR departments in some of the Northern Ireland’s top employing companies to ensure employees are getting their full entitlement.

In addition, the DSD’s Benefit Uptake Programme includes writing to 25,000 customers to encourage them to make contact for a full, confidential benefit entitlement check.