One chat leaves disabled tenant £20k better off

Housing officers have helped a disabled customer in Weardale recover £20,000 in unclaimed benefits. 

A new computer and a more comfortable day-to-day life are on the cards for a disabled housing association tenant in Weardale. The man, whose identity has been protected, had been claiming Personal Independence Payment and Employment Support Allowance but was not aware he was eligible for other assistance.

The omission was only discovered during a routine tenancy check by County Durham Housing Group officers. After assistance with providing up-to-date information to the Department for Work and Pensions, the tenant has now received all of the backdated benefits as well as receiving a higher payment each week.

“I’d never had any advice on benefits before.” The tenant said. “I’m going to use some of the money to buy a new PC and to get some more help around the home.”

When asked what advice he would give to other people claiming benefits, he said: “Just speak to someone, that’s it really. It’s really helped me.”

County Durham Housing Group Tenancy Sustainment Officer, Laura Durrant, spotted that he was eligible for further assistance and helped to recover the unclaimed benefits.

Laura said: “I’ve come across cases before where we’ve been able to help put right. But I’ve not seen many with anything like this much money involved. It only took a few days and one phone call to the DWP to put everything in place.

“The tenant will be able to have a much more comfortable and secure life as a direct result of the case we helped with. It really does go to show that there is help out there and getting some simple advice could make a huge difference if you’re claiming benefits.”

County Durham Housing Group has a team of expert advisers available to help tenants who have concerns about their benefits or other financial issues. They can be reached on 0300 1311 999 or at info@cdhg.co.uk

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