South Somerset District Council has seen the successful results of working in partnership over the past year with Age UK Somerset, to support older people access the benefits to which they are entitled.
Through providing £10,000 in funding, SSDC asked Age UK Somerset to provide specialist welfare benefits advice to older people in the district, mainly through one-to-one sessions in people’s homes, but also through a series of talks to groups which help older people.
There are 19 trained volunteer caseworkers in South Somerset who specialise in benefits advice for older people. In addition to home visits, Age UK Somerset team members have delivered 63 talks across the District with a total of 1,462 people attending. If you would like to contact Age UK Somerset for further advice or you would like them to come and talk to your group please contact 0845 643 4621 or visit www.ageuksomerset.org.uk
Alan Bartle, Chief Officer for Age UK Somerset is delighted with the results and said, “Over the year Age UK Somerset gave one to one advice to 251 people in South Somerset, helping them understand the benefits to which they were entitled and make claims; the current success rate is 70%, with our volunteers helping people secure weekly incomes totalling £5,760 and annualised incomes of £299,522.
If the current success rate continues we hope to achieve a rise in total weekly incomes of £11,019 and annualised incomes of £572,999 for over 170 people in South Somerset, as a result of the additional funding we have received from SSDC. This will provide lasting benefits for older people who are struggling to pay basic bills and facing rising costs in heating, food and transport.”
Sylvia Seal, portfolio holder for Leisure & Culture said, “Through working in partnership with Age UK, we have been able to ensure that many isolated older people have been able to access the support and advice they need. Age UK Somerset carry out very valuable work with some of our district’s most vulnerable residents. In particular we value the trained volunteers who work patiently and sensitively to help people through the complex benefits system. ”