It means more than £12m in benefits – for which people were eligible but were going unclaimed – are now supporting residents with basic living costs like eating and heating their home.
During the 12 months from April 2014 to March 2015, the Welfare Rights Service actually dealt with over two thousand people with various needs.
There are now more people using the service than ever with 30,000 calls last year alone.
Responding to the increased demand, Welfare Rights staff identified residents’ needs and carried out the following campaigns:
• Inviting the over-75s for a free and confidential benefits check. This resulted in 400 people being better off by over £1m
• Raising awareness of pension credits and attendance allowance. This meant that people claimed an extra £145,000 in pension credits and £480,000 in attendance allowance
• Working closely with Macmillan and cancer nurses to ‘fast track’ claims for seriously ill people, resulting in payouts of £422,000
• Helping people with asbestos-related illnesses to claim compensation has led to £570,000 already being received by sufferers
Joanne Barker, Welfare Rights Service manager, said: “We provide free and confidential help and advice with benefit problems for Lancashire residents.
“We help some of our most vulnerable people, sometimes when they are going through an extremely stressful time due to serious illness, to receive the financial support they are entitled to. The extra income makes a real difference. Often people have extra expense as a result of their age or medical condition, such as increased heating bills or special food.
“I know some people feel really uncomfortable about asking for help, but we would ask anyone who thinks they could be entitled to contact us.” Contact Welfare Rights on 0300 123 6739.