Welfare benefits are of extreme importance - especially to the older members of our community.
Given recent steep rises in food and energy prices, more and more pensioners have been forced below the poverty line. Increasing numbers are getting into debt to pay for daily living expenses.
By providing or supplementing your income, benefits can help reduce poverty and improve your quality of life. Nevertheless, £10s of millions of benefits go unclaimed by older people even though this Governmental support is theirs by right.
We have provided you with a beginner's guide to benefits you can expect in later life. Then we discuss those benefits that will help improve your quality of life:
As you grow older, your circumstances may change so we prepare you for the impact such will have on your benefits.
Benefit Entitlement Checks
It is estimated that around £200 million of benefits to older people which older people in Northern Ireland go unclaimed every year. It is therefore always worthwhile for you to check that you are accessing your full benefit entitlements.
Advice NI can provide contact details for our members in your area to seek free, confidential advice on benefits.
The Social Security Agency can also aid with Benefit enquiries. The Benefit Enquiry Line provides general information and advice on a full range of benefits to access this service call Freephone - 0800 022 4250 Text number: Minicom - 028 9031 1092 (for deaf and hard of hearing users only.
Social Security Agency also have a Unclaimed Benefits Helpline available in Northern Ireland, to access this service call 0800 232 1271. You can also seek advice from staff in your local Social Security Office.
Increasing benefit uptake is therefore imperative as it can help to address issues such as social exclusion, care provision, housing, poverty and debt which can in turn help to improve well-being and quality of life.
As well as helping you personally, benefit uptake will help to boost the Northern Ireland economy as the unclaimed amounts could be be better spent within our economy rather than being sent back to the Treasury.