Oliver Mundell MSP has praised Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership (DGHP) for its “really positive lead role” in helping tenants claim the benefits they are entitled to.
DGHP, part of Wheatley Group, provides a free advice service to help tenants claim all the welfare benefits and tax credits they are due.
In the past year, 728 tenants have received help from DGHP welfare benefits advisors and have claimed back more than £1.2m in benefits.
£650k in additional Universal Credit payments
£122k in extra Personal Independence Payments
£104k in Employment and Support Allowance
£88k in Housing Benefit.
Tenants can also get support to appeal decisions taken by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
Oliver Mundell, Conservative MSP for Dumfriesshire, said he was impressed by the support DGHP provides.
He said: “It is really positive to see DGHP taking a lead role in ensuring their tenants can access the support they are entitled to. This is exactly the kind of service people want to see from a community-focused housing association.
“I would encourage anyone facing hardship to seek help and advice and remember there are other organisations out there for non-tenants who also specialise in benefits assistance.”
DGHP tenant Terry Mulhearn, 60, from Cresswell, Dumfries, said he got great support – and is urging other tenants who need help to get in touch.
He said: “My welfare benefits advisor Fiona was a godsend.
“I struggle with my health and had been refused money by the DWP. Fiona sorted it all out for me. She helped me get backdated money I was entitled to and my weekly income has increased too. That’s been a big help.
“She’s brilliant. I don’t know what I would have done without her. People who are struggling with benefit claims should get in touch with their housing officer.
“DGHP can help – tenants should ask for it.”
Alan Glasgow, interim managing director of DGHP, added: “The benefits system can be complex for people to navigate and our advisors are there to help tenants claim all the benefits and tax credits they’re entitled to.
“Welfare benefits are a vital safety net for many people on low incomes. The support and advice we can offer is life-changing.”
DGHP offers a wide range of services for tenants who need extra support, including help to cut fuel bills, help for tenants struggling to put food on the table, who need help furnishing their homes, help into jobs and training and more.