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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Housing group helps tenants claim back £5m

 

Benefits advisors have helped more than 3,600 tenants

Social housing group Wheatley has helped tenants claim back more than £5 million in benefits in the past six months.

The group’s 24 welfare benefits advisors have helped more than 3,600 tenants of Wheatley Homes Glasgow, Wheatley Homes East, Wheatley Homes South and Loretto Housing, claim back the money since April.

In that time, the group’s nine fuel advisors also helped 2,620 tenants with their energy bills as well as to access more than £120,000 in external funding to help tackle fuel poverty.

Benefits advisors help tenants with claims for Universal Credit and other benefits and can help appeal decisions taken by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). 

Fuel advisors help tenants with energy advice, advocating on tenants’ behalf with their supplier, negotiating debt repayment plans and making sure bills are correct.

Support from advisors is a key part of Wheatley’s ‘Here for You’ campaign. The campaign, which launched in August, brings together the wide range of support services Wheatley offers tenants struggling to make ends meet. It aims to support more than 20,000 tenants during the cost-of-living crisis.

Wheatley Homes Glasgow tenant Gail Clark, from Milton, praised the way her benefits advisor supported her during a difficult time.

Gail, 54, who has three grown-up children and six grandchildren, said: “I had two jobs but was paid off due to ill health.

“My benefits advisor Lucy did a benefit check and I was due more than I was getting. I now receive Employment Support Allowance and I’m about £70 a fortnight better off.

“Lucy was brilliant. I can’t thank her enough. She kept in touch, spoke to me on the phone, collected all my paperwork, got all the details and took up my case with the DWP.

“I was getting worked up, making myself ill, but she always put me at ease.

“I’d advise any tenant to get in touch. Go and speak to you housing officer. They can really help.”

Wheatley Homes East tenant Tam Conway, 65, from West Calder, added: “I was laid off from my job and welfare benefits advisors Sean and Mairi gave me great help. As well as sorting out my Universal Credit, and getting it backdated, they helped me claim other benefits I didn’t know I was due.

“When you’ve worked all your days it can be hard dealing with the benefits system, but they were very good and always kept in touch.”

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Wheatley Group has helped tenants claim £20m in welfare benefits and distributed almost £2.5m in fuel vouchers and top-ups.

Hazel Young, Wheatley Group director of housing and property management, said: “We’re doing all we can to support our tenants in these difficult times.

“Helping people claim all the benefits and tax credits they’re entitled to is an important part of that

“Welfare benefits are a vital safety net for many people on low incomes and our advisors can help tenants claim everything they’re due. It’s important people don’t miss out.” 

 

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