03/12/2012

Older People Urged To Inquire Over Benefits

Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland has urged older people to find out whether or not they are missing out on benefits to which they are entitled.

The 'Make the Call' campaign, which includes television, newspaper and outdoor advertisements, encourages older people to ring the telephone advice Line on 0800 232 1271.

Minister McCausland said: "Last year’s 'Make the Call' campaign was a great success with over 14,000 calls to the free advice line, resulting in £3m in additional benefit payments and arrears to people across Northern Ireland. I am concerned that many older people may still be missing out on much needed money when this need not be the case and I hope that this year’s campaign will see many more people benefiting."

"This year we have introduced a new service for mobile users who can text CHECK to 66101 and an experienced advisor will ring them back. While not all callers will receive an increase in benefits, they may be entitled to other services and support such as Warm Homes, Boiler Replacement and Blue Badge Schemes, free television licences, help with healthcare costs and concessionary transport."

The Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland, Claire Keatinge, is supporting the campaign.

She said: "Too many older people do not claim all the benefits to which they are entitled and I would therefore encourage all people over 60 to make the call to the Benefits Advice Line to find out if they are eligible for additional benefits. With winter upon us any extra help could make a difference especially to the older members of our society."

Information about the campaign and other unclaimed benefits can be found at www.nidirect.gov.uk/unclaimed-benefits

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