Benefits advice makes a £270,000-a-year difference

Warm Streets offers help to most vulnerable

5 September 2011

Since it began in mid-2008, CSE’s successful Warm Streets scheme has helped struggling households across Somerset to claim and receive more than a quarter of a million pounds annually that they didn’t know they were entitled to.

Just one small part of the Warm Streets scheme, CSE’s benefit advice team has helped to refer around 150 people to the Department for Work and Pensions for a full benefit application. This has resulted in the extra yearly income of around £272,039 for 65 households.

These figures have been released as CSE’s flagship advice scheme celebrates its third anniversary. And, as CSE’s benefit advisor Pauline Sandell explains, there’s no intention of stopping there.

“Every year, £4 billion worth of benefits is left unclaimed across the UK,” Pauline said. “That’s financial support which is intended to help people pay for basic things like energy bills. Millions of people, though, just aren’t aware they’re entitled to claim it – or aren’t sure what to do. We can help those people find out what they’re missing out on, whether it’s Attendance Allowance, Pension Credit or something else.”

The support works because many of those households our Warm Streets advisors come into contact with are struggling with high fuel bills, often because they’re not receiving all the help they’re entitled to – and usually because they’re not aware this help exists.

Pauline and the rest of the Warm Streets benefits team can offer advice on how to claim state benefits and can even carry out confidential benefits checks where requested.

“If you’ve never had an assessment to see if you are entitled to pension credit, or if your health isn’t as good as it used it be, then it’s definitely worth speaking to one of our trained advisors to make sure you’re not missing out on any essential benefits. There’s no need to struggle on and making life difficult when help is out there,” Pauline said.

You can find out about CSE’s benefits advice, and some of the people we’ve helped, here.

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