Online benefits calculator helps Angus residents during coronavirus crisis

Online benefits calculator helps Angus residents during coronavirus crisis

Councillor Lois Speed

Angus Council’s online benefits calculator has helped residents to identify and confirm benefits totalling £3.4 million in the first critical week of the coronavirus lockdown.

The calculator continues to be used to help families across Angus, identify benefits that they may be entitled to during this difficult time. This may be people who have never had to claim benefits before but have suddenly found themselves in financial difficulties due to a reduction in their household income as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The calculator was used over 700 times on one day alone – March 23 – just after the major changes and furlough announcements were made. On that day, over £1.9m of benefits were identified/confirmed compared to £1.3m for the whole of January.

During that critical week, the calculator was used over 1200 times and identified and confirmed entitlements totalling £3.4m.

Since its introduction in May last year, the benefits calculator has been a valuable online tool which allows Angus residents to check they are not missing out on entitlements. It can also establish if current entitlements are correct and advise on additional financial support such as the Scottish Welfare Fund. 

Since the coronavirus outbreak, there have been emergency benefit changes introduced and the calculator is continually being updated to reflect the changes.

Councillor Lois Speed, vice convenor of children and learning, said: “Many individuals and families are financially challenged right now and on their knees as a result of business uncertainty, loss of employment or income.

“These types of pressures can often suffocate and cause great fear and anxiety within households which can in turn impact on health and wellbeing. I would urge people not to struggle alone, these challenges could be new for you but there should be no shame in seeking help especially when struggling to pay bills or put food on the table.

“Our Welfare Rights Team have been working exceptionally hard to not only continue to provide a service but have managed to reach out, identify and maximise staggering amounts of income due to residents within Angus.”

The online benefits calculator is free to use, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and only takes ten minutes. Results are anonymous and the council doesn’t hold any personal data.

Angus Council Welfare Rights staff can still provide telephone support to residents who cannot access the online calculator and they can also provide advice on benefit and debt-related issues.

The benefits calculator can be accessed here.

  • Read all of our articles relating to COVID-19 here.
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