Almost a thousand tenants across Dumfries and Galloway have been helped to claim more than £1.6 million in welfare benefits in the past 12 months, thanks to the region’s largest social landlord.
Wheatley Homes South, part of Wheatley Group, has helped support customers through the cost-of-living crisis.
The Group’s welfare benefits advisors assisted 858 tenants of Wheatley Homes South claim £1,631,974.66 in the last financial year. The figure represents the highest annual amount the Group’s welfare benefits advisors have ever helped customers across the region access.
At the same time, the Group’s fuel advisors helped Dumfries and Galloway tenants save £58,727.57 on their energy bills.
Across the entire Wheatley Group, customers were helped to claim more than £13m in benefits they were entitled to.
Wheatley Homes South tenant Louise Wilson from Glenluce, is one of hundreds across the region who have benefited from the help in accessing all the benefits they were entitled to.
Louise, 49, said: “Fiona, the Welfare Benefits Advisor who helped me, has been absolutely brilliant. She explained the whole process clearly and got things sorted so quickly.
“One of my friends, who she’d also helped, mentioned the support he received and urged me to get in touch. It’s made such a difference. It’s meant I’ve got a bit more money each month and I’ve been able to get my account into credit.
“I’d recommend anyone who is struggling to reach out. The help is there, and it makes such a big difference.”
Wheatley’s benefits advice is part of the Group’s wraparound support available to customers, which has seen a surge in demand during the cost-of-living crisis.
A recent study published by Wheatley revealed the difficulties many of its customers were having with Universal Credit.
The report, ‘Existing Not Living’, showed 65% of claimants believe the social security payment did not give them enough money to cover their basic needs, while 62% believed it did not help them back into work.
Alan Glasgow, Managing Director of Wheatley Homes South, said: “We’re doing all we can to support our tenants across Dumfries and Galloway in these difficult times.
“The welfare benefits system can be complex for people to navigate. Tenants may presume they’re already getting all the financial support available or they’re not entitled to anything. Others may worry their claim will be rejected or they struggle with the application.
“Welfare benefits are a vital safety net for many people on low-incomes, particularly in this cost-of-living crisis. We are here to help tenants claim all of the benefits they are entitled to. The support and advice we can offer is life-changing.”
Wheatley offers a wide range of additional support services for tenants who need extra support, including fuel advisors, food vouchers, employability support as part of its ‘Here for You’ cost-of-living crisis campaign.
Tenants who want to book an appointment with a welfare benefit advisor, or are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis, should speak to their housing officer.