Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership (DGHP) has launched a new ‘Switch Team” – to help tenants with welfare benefits advice in line with the upcoming introduction of Universal Credit.
And DGHP tenants are being encouraged to “make the most of DGHP’s service”, says Bill Irvine, of Universal Credit Advice and Advocacy.
Universal Credit comes into force on May 16 in Dumfries and Galloway and DGHP is busy preparing for the challenges ahead.
Universal Credit will affect people if you need to make a new claim for certain benefits (at the moment for those benefit claimants of working age making new claims).
Bill said: “Accessing services like these that DGHP offer are becoming more difficult, at a time when services of this very nature are needed most.
“DGHP should be congratulated for their service. Offers like this are like ‘hens teeth’ nowadays as many specialist services like Welfare Reform, Financial Inclusion and Money Advice have been the first to experience cuts. Having a welfare rights service in place at DGHP will be essential as we move to Universal Credit Full Service from May 2018.”
Carol Burnett, DGHP’s Benefits Liaison Officer, said of the new Switch Team: “We don’t want people to be in the dark about what Universal Credit could mean for them. It is the single biggest change to the welfare benefits system in decades and we are here to help our tenants prepare and deal with it.
“Through Steven’s post we’ve already had some great results with around £1,486,700 – that’s around £25,100 per week in extra income – for DGHP tenants. The Switch Team is an extension of this work.
“Many people have discovered that they are entitled to other benefits that they didn’t know about and this has had a huge impact on their lives.”
If you are a DGHP tenant you can complete a self-referral form on our website at www.dghp.org.uk/welfare-reform/
Bill added: “Universal Credit Full Service operations will create an influx in the number and complexity of claims. Something that’s often overlooked is the fact new claims will come from families, people with disabilities and sometimes complex needs, whereas, most, in the past, have been single men and women.
“Having the welfare benefits service in place at DGHP will help tenants maximise their entitlement and income management minimise rent arrears, the need for recovery action and avoid the associated additional costs.”
You can get in touch with our Switch Team on Freephone 0800 011 3447 (Monday – Friday 8am – 7pm)