Struggling Melville tenants better off by £762k thanks to award-winning advice service

Melville welfare benefits advisers Jacquie Mather and Andrew Collinge

Melville Housing Association’s award-winning welfare benefits advice service is celebrating another hugely successful year during which it helped struggling tenants access over three quarters of a million pounds while achieving the Scottish National Standard for Information and Advice Providers for a third time.

Over the course of the year Melville’s two dedicated Welfare Benefits Advisers helped 116 households from across the Lothians, Edinburgh and Lanarkshire claim £762,000 of benefits to which they were entitled, an average of over £6,500 for each household, and up from £673,000 the previous financial year.

As well as helping tenants with benefits claims, the Melville team, made up of highly-experienced advisers Jacquie Mather and Andrew Collinge, also supports those appealing incorrect decisions as well as providing digital skills training and money-saving workshops.

“Our welfare benefits advisers are dedicated to helping our tenants and their families receive the benefits they are entitled to,” said Melville’s chief operating officer, Morag MacDonald. “We’ve had a lot of feedback throughout the year about the real difference that their help makes, not just to the finances of tenants but also to their health and well-being, particularly in light of recent changes to the welfare system. We’re delighted that the Scottish Government continues to recognise this through Scottish National Standard accreditation.”

Also noticeable has been the number of people with disabilities using the service, with more than six out of ten presenting as disabled or suffering from a long-term health condition. There has also been a significant rise in the number of Universal Credit cases, a trend which is expected to continue as the roll-out of the UK Government’s flagship benefit programme continues.

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