Monday October 28th 2019
Melville’s two welfare advisers, Jacquie Mather and Andrew Collinge.
Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson
121 struggling households from across the Lothians, Edinburgh and Lanarkshire are almost £900,000 better off thanks to the hard work of an award-winning welfare benefits advice service.
Last year, Melville Housing Association’s two dedicated Welfare Benefits Advisers helped tenants claim benefits worth £883,000, an average of £7,300 for each household, and a 15% increase on the previous year (when tenants claimed £762,000).
“The help I got saved our family,” said one grateful Melville customer. “After my husband’s accident he lost his job. We had to sign up for UC (Universal Credit) and other benefits. It was a legal gauntlet made easy with the help I got. Really respect Melville as not only my landlord but as part of our community.”
Feedback for the service is overwhelmingly positive, with customer satisfaction levels of 100%. Four out of five (82%) who used the service also said it helped with their mental health, leaving them less anxious and stressed.
“These results are tremendous, and a real testament to the hard work and dedication of our welfare advice team.”
said Melville’s Chief Operating Officer Morag MacDonald.
“It’s not just the difference they make to the finances of tenants and their families in what are typically difficult circumstances, but also the difference they make to fragile confidence and mental health.”
The Melville team, made up of highly-experienced advisers Jacquie Mather and Andrew Collinge, has seen a significant rise in the number of Universal Credit cases, a trend which is expected to continue as the roll-out of the UK Government’s flagship benefit programme continues.
In addition to helping tenants with benefits claims, advisers also support those appealing incorrect decisions as well as providing digital skills training and money-saving workshops.
For every £1 spent providing welfare advice, Melville tenants gained more than £7.50.
Melville tenants who need benefits advice, or help from Melville’s dedicated Money Advice Service, should visit www.melville.org.uk or phone 0131 654 2733 and speak to the housing section. Help is also available from independent organisations such as Citizen’s Advice.Tweet Share on Facebook