‘Make the call’ to check benefit entitlement, urges Minister

Communities Minister Paul Givan is encouraging people to 'Make the Call' to check if they are missing out on unclaimed benefits.  Carers and older people are among the key vulnerable groups being targeted.  The Minister is pictured at the launch of the campaign with Eddie Lynch, Commissioner for Older People.  Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrison Photography  INCT 37-731-CON
Communities Minister Paul Givan is encouraging people to 'Make the Call' to check if they are missing out on unclaimed benefits. Carers and older people are among the key vulnerable groups being targeted. The Minister is pictured at the launch of the campaign with Eddie Lynch, Commissioner for Older People. Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrison Photography INCT 37-731-CON

Communities Minister Paul Givan has urged people in the east Antrim area to check if they are missing out on unclaimed benefits.

Speaking as he launched the Department for Communities’ three year plan for improving benefit uptake, the Minister said: “The benefits system exists to protect the most vulnerable in society.

“For those unable to work due to disability, ill health or age, maximising benefit uptake can offer that safety net and help tackle poverty. However, people can miss out on claiming their entitlement for a range of reasons; they may not believe they are eligible, feel they have enough to get by on or are uncomfortable or overwhelmed by the process.

“Improving benefit uptake is a long term vision and a key part of my Department’s social inclusion agenda. In 2015 / 16 alone, £18 million has been generated in additional annual benefits for over 4,000 people across Northern Ireland. This also boosts our local economy, by providing for increased spending on goods and services.”

Commissioner for Older People, Eddie Lynch, added: “I hear all too often about older people who struggle to get by and how this impacts on their wellbeing. Many older people tell me that even a small increase in their income makes a big difference to their quality of life. It is important that older people receive the financial support that they are entitled to, allowing them to be comfortable at home, get out and about in their local communities and connect with family and friends.”

The ‘Make the Call’ Benefits Advice Line number is 0800 232 1271. Further information is available at nidirect.gov.uk/makethecall