Hundreds of households in Wakefield better off after benefits roadshows

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Hundreds of Wakefield residents have more money coming in after receiving help from experts at benefits roadshows.

In a proactive approach to offering advice, leading organisations took their services out on the road as opposed to people travelling to their offices which can be challenging for many.

Advisors from Wakefield Council, Citizens Advice Bureau, Wakefield District Housing, Department for Work and Pensions and others set up in community venues across the district.

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There were 26 events held in November 2021 and May this year.

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Stock image - Money

Overall, it is estimated that over a year the 290 households that were successful will gain £717,700 worth of previously unclaimed benefits, grants or increases in existing benefit claims.

They are better off by an average of £2,474 per household following the sessions.

Simon Topham, CEO of Citizens Advice Wakefield District, said: “Government figures show that over £10 billion a year in benefits goes unclaimed.

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“In these hard times it is vital that everyone can receive what they are rightfully entitled to, and the benefits campaigns are good examples of how it is possible to substantially increase your household income if you get the right help and support.

Wakefield councillor Maureen Cummings.Wakefield councillor Maureen Cummings.
Wakefield councillor Maureen Cummings.

“In these campaign events, partner organisations worked together to get the best results for residents with advice that was free, impartial and confidential.”

The roadshows were organised by the Residents Recovery Group, that is made up of statutory and voluntary bodies and was originally set up by Wakefield Council, to support residents affected by Covid-19.

Coun Maureen Cummings added: “We need to continue the great work started by the roadshows and to address some of the concerns that stop people from making claims.

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"We are already looking at the measures we can take to do this including finding funding to train advisors to attend community events.

“If residents are struggling, they can get immediate advice from a local 'Help at the Hub' which are open across the district.

“There, advisors will look at an individual's situation and check whether they are able to claim additional help or take steps to improve things. They can help people to apply and put them in touch with other support services.”