Wheatley Group’s advice service helps tenants claim extra £9.4 million in benefits
Wheatley Group has helped tenants to access unclaimed welfare benefits they were entitled to.
Wheatley Group has helped tenants to access an extra £9.4 million of unclaimed welfare benefits which they were due. The housing, care and property management group provides a free benefits advice service to ensure all tenants are getting every penny they are entitled to.
Tenants of the Group’s six housing associations can also get support to appeal decisions taken by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
In 2020, as the pandemic hit communities hard, Wheatley helped 20,255 tenants to access over £9,391,000 in previously unclaimed financial support.
£2.62 million in additional Universal Credit payments
£2.35 million in extra Personal Independence Payments
£1.5 million in Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance.
Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) tenant Amanda Hay, 30, from Nitshill in Glasgow, fell into arrears and turned to her housing officer for help.
She said: “My Housing Benefit got stopped. I have five kids, and I was struggling. I got in touch with my housing officer, and he really helped. He put me in touch with a GHA welfare benefits adviser, and they dealt with the DWP for me.
“I got a backdated payment which helped me pay off my rent arrears. I’m much happier now. My housing officer also arranged emergency food parcels for the kids and me. That was a definite lifeline.
“GHA are really supportive. Any tenant who needs help should contact their housing officer.”
Alison Bain, 56, from Royston in Glasgow, approached her GHA welfare benefits adviser for support.
She said: “I didn’t really know where to start as claiming benefits is very complicated. My welfare benefits adviser got in touch, looked at my circumstances and helped me fill in the forms. It was a great relief. I’d say to any tenant to use the service and find out what you are entitled to.”
It is estimated that around £16 billion was unclaimed in benefits by low-income households across the UK in 2020.
Dunedin Canmore tenant Ruth Rys, 52, from Edinburgh is a carer for her family.
She said: “We’d previously applied for Personal Independence Payment, but we didn’t get it, and it was a very stressful process. My housing officer put me in touch with our welfare benefits adviser. The support we got was amazing. He knew what steps we needed to take. We got money backdated and help with other benefits. It saved our lives.”
Wheatley is calling for tenants to make sure they receive the benefits they are due and to get in touch if they need support.
Olga Clayton, Wheatley Group Director of Housing and Care, said: “The welfare benefits system can be complex for people to navigate. Tenants may presume they’re already getting all the financial support available or they’re not entitled to anything. Others may worry their claim will be rejected, or they struggle to apply online.
“Welfare benefits are a vital safety net for many people on low incomes. We are here to help tenants claim all of the benefits they are entitled to. The support and advice we can offer is life-changing.”
Wheatley Group offers a wide range of additional support services for tenants who need extra support, including fuel advisers, ‘Eat Well’ food parcels and an emergency response fund to help tenants with essential household items.
Tenants who want to book an online or telephone appointment with a welfare benefits adviser should speak to their housing officer.
Wheatley’s six housing associations are GHA, Cube, Loretto Housing in the west, Dunedin Canmore and West Lothian Housing partnership in the east and Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership in the south.