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Highland Council encourages people to claim benefits they're entitled to

29th September 2017

Highland Council is supporting the Scottish Government's campaign to raise awareness of how people can find out if they are eligible for benefits and to apply for them.

A week-long series of radio and press adverts are running to highlight the range of support available from social security, such as the Sure Start Maternity Grant, Carers Allowance and the Funeral Expenses Payment.

It is estimated that more than 500,000 cases of individuals or families in Scotland may not be claiming benefits they are entitled to.

Highland Council Leader Cllr Margaret Davidson who is Chair of the Council's Poverty and Inequalities Working Group says the social security system exists to help those in need and on low incomes and when their personal circumstances change, and that people should not be worried about claiming what they are entitled to. One of the key messages of the benefits campaign is that ‘It’s yours claim it.’

Cllr Davidson said:"Claiming the benefits that people are entitled to will help maximise family incomes and can reduce poverty levels. For example, around a third of pensioners are entitled to Pension Credit but do not claim it. We want to help people to know what financial support is available that could make a difference to their lives.

"We also know that personal circumstances can change very quickly - whether it’s losing a job, a family bereavement, becoming a carer for a family member, or having a child. But often we don’t realise that changes in our lives can mean we are entitled to additional support and that there is a range of benefits all of us are entitled to know about.

“Many of us will need that financial support at some point in our lives, whether we’re in work or not. So we all have stake in ensuring everyone is looked after properly and the social security system exists to help and support those who need it, when they need it."

The Scottish Government is working with the Citizens Advice service in Scotland, who is providing a dedicated web page with all available information on benefits and tax credits, eligibility and how to access them at:

• http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland/benefits

...as well as a freephone benefits helpline (0800 085 7145).

The campaign features Colette, who is registered blind and also cares for her son. She says there are several benefits available that people don’t realise they can receive, and urges people to contact Citizens Advice or their local council.

Colette said: “This support gives you the independent living that everybody is entitled to in the first place. For example, it can help you get the equipment you need that makes your life easier."

It is estimated that in 2014/15, for tax credits and the main income-related benefits, there could more over 500,000 cases of individuals and families not claiming the benefits they were entitled to.

The Scottish Government is taking over responsibility for 11 benefits under new devolved powers. It is creating a new social security agency, with its headquarters in Dundee and local offices throughout Scotland.

 

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