Partnership helps recoup nearly £1m

OLDER people in the borough have been able to claim benefits they were missing out on thanks to a partnership.

North Tyneside Council and Age UK North Tyneside worked together to help the borough’s elderly residents claim almost £1m in benefits they had been missing out on over the last six months.

The council’s revenues and budget team targeted people aged 65 and over who were not already claiming Attendance Allowance, urging them to get advice and support from Age UK to make a claim.

As a result, there was an 80 per cent increase in inquiries about the allowance, with 343 applications made – compared to 193 the previous year – and helping older people share in £941,692 compared to £260,666 for the same period the year before.

The team has also helped older people access additional support, including getting cheaper gas or electricity bills, information on exercise classes and finding small aids such as a talking alarm clock.

Coun Judith Wallace, deputy mayor, said: “This has been a very impressive campaign that demonstrates the effectiveness of agencies working together.

“Overall the advice team has dealt with 2,826 enquiries relating to money compared to 1,782 in the same period last year.

“They are on target to deal with 11,000 enquiries in 2012-13 – for around 7,000 people – by the end of the financial year, with a conservative financial gain of £1.75m.

“That’s all money now available to be used in the local economy.”

Anyone aged over 65 and not already claiming Disability Living Allowance might be eligible for Attendance Allowance.

For more information contact (0191) 280 8484.