Published on 21 June 2005
Archived on 21 July 2005
Hundreds of thousands of pounds in benefit has been claimed by south Warwickshire pensioners, many of whom were unaware they were entitled to the money. A scheme run by Stratford-on-Avon District Council, in partnership with Warwickshire Welfare Rights and the county council, identified 'hard to reach' pensioners with the aim of improving their quality of life with the extra cash.
Since the scheme started in 2000, over £1m has been paid out to 2,000 eligible pensioners in the district. In comparison, the scheme has only cost £46,600 to administer, representing a return of 2,200%.
"Every little bit helps, and this is good news for all those pensioners whose lives have been made that much easier with this money," said Cllr Hazel Wright, the district council's portfolio holder for social inclusion.
"It is nice to be able to report something like this and just goes to show there is more to us at Stratford District Council than simply colleting dustbins and granting planning applications.
"This project started as a pilot scheme in late 2000 when the district council was developing deprivation mapping data to target services more appropriately to those in need.
"Warwickshire Welfare Rights Advice Service was commissioned to do the confidential benefit checks and it proved so successful the other Boroughs and Districts in Warwickshire have followed our example.
"Many pensioners have told councillors they find the whole benefits system far too complex and are put off from applying. Our confidential check-up helps the applicant through the process and as we have seen it is very successful.
"I would urge any pensioners who are struggling with their finances to write directly to Warwickshire Welfare Rights Advice Service for a benefit check, which I repeat is totally confidential, to see if they can claim their entitlement."
The address to write to is:
Freepost CV21 04
Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Tel: 01789 267575