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‘At home’ service launched to tackle pensioner money worries

11 November 2016

ILC servicesA city charity has launched a new ‘at home’ service in a bid to reach isolated older people struggling with money worries.


Age UK Sheffield’s ‘Benefits At Home’ service will see charity staff getting out into the community to visit older residents and help claim all the financial help they may be entitled to – from the comfort of their own homes.


The charity’s chief executive, Steve Chu, said: “We’re a proud nation, and many older people don’t like to consider supplementing their income with benefits, but this is money older people are entitled to for a reason. For many, getting older comes with a higher price tag for necessities like specialist food, equipment, clothing, and transport.


“Up to 4 million older people in the UK are entitled to, for example, Pension Credit, but more than a third of people aren’t actually claiming it - while at the same time 41 per cent are worried about the cost of heating their home this winter.


“It is alarming the number of older people that visit our city centre shop lacking the money to turn their heating on, who we discover are actually entitled to several benefits. 


“What is likely to be even more alarming, however, is the number of people most in need but unable to get to us for a face-to-face appointment because of health, transport or, indeed, money issues.”


The three-year ‘Benefits At Home’ project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme, will enable Age UK Sheffield to employ two Independent Living Co-ordinators and an Information and Advice Officer who can advise on eligibility, and help with the claims process, all in the comfort of people’s homes.


Said Steve: “When more than a quarter of older people are ‘just about getting by’, this is an important new service to help make life more manageable.


“We believe thousands of older people in Sheffield are entitled to claim, and in extreme cases, four or five extra benefits could add up to additional income of more than £200 per week.


“In 2015/16, our charity helped more than 550 people claim an extra £2.5 million in total and we expect this new service to help us target and reach many more.” 


An independent, local organisation, Age UK Sheffield is dedicated to supporting older people in the city, particularly those who are vulnerable or isolated, to help them regain and retain independence and get the most out of life.


Anyone interested in finding out more about Age UK Sheffield or the Benefits At Home service should call 0114 250 2850.