Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Make the Call campaign

Recently I launched a Make the Call campaign, which started on 14 November and runs until the end of March 2012.  It includes television, radio, outdoor and community locations and is reinforced through regional and local press.  The campaign encourages older people to call a Freephone Benefits Advice Line to find out if there are benefits (social, security and wider), services and support they could be missing out on.  The freephone number is 0800 2321271.

The first 8 days of operation saw 2,378 calls to the Freephone line and 2,225 people availed of a full benefit assessment.  Of these, just under 1,000, almost 45%, had potential additional benefits identified.  Customers were given a range of choices about making a claim and those requirign assistance were offered this, with 50 requiring a home visit to help them with making a claim.

The media generating the most interest was television, which generated 65% of the calls, followed by newspapers, which generated 18.4%, with radio at 9.2%

We are keen to increase beenfit uptake and this campaign has got off to a good start.  As another winter approaches, I remain committed to ensuring that benefits are reaching those who are entitled and need them most. It is important that we continue to encourage people over 60, who may be entitled to receive additional benefits, to come forward and find out if they are missing out.

Last year over 1,300 people profited from a simple benefit check, with the average additional weekly payment totalling almost £50 per week. That amounted to almost £4million being generated in 2010/11 in additional benefits and arrears. This is a substantial amount that can make a real difference to the lives of the most vulnerable in our society.

I want older people to know that we are here to help them claim what they are entitled to and so I would encourage people to lift the phone and make the call.

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