Sinn Féin representative in Greysteel Dermot Nicholl has called for urgent action to raise awareness that up to £2.3 million of benefits go unclaimed every week in the north of Ireland.
He also pledged his support for Age NI’s campaign to spread the message across Greysteel, Glack and Ballykelly.
Councillor Nicholl said: “With 83 per cent of older people who live alone now in fuel poverty it is a crying shame that £2.3 million of Pension Credit benefits go unclaimed every week. If that money was claimed it would have an immediate impact not only on the quality of life all of everyone who is entitled to it but would also give a much needed boost to the local economy.
“Some older people don’t know what they are entitled to and others are reluctant to take advantage of what is available. Many have worked hard for a lifetime and paid their taxes. They are entitled to whatever benefits are available because they deserve it. Sometimes the complexity of the forms and red tape puts people off because the claims process is just too complicated. I’ll be promoting this project across Greysteel, Glack and Ballykelly and my party colleagues will be rolling this campaign out right across East Derry and beyond.
Councillor Nicholl also praised the work of Age NI and pledged his support for their work on this issue: “Age NI operate an excellent support service for older people and they have a very helpful Advice Line on Freephone 0808 808 7575. They offer free benefits check and help people find out what they are entitled to.”
He added: “Anyone needing help or a copy of the Pension Credit leaflet should contact me at my office on 028 777 42488.