Wheatley helps tenants in Glasgow claim £4.5m in welfare benefits

Wheatley helps tenants in Glasgow claim £4.5m in welfare benefits

Raymond Walker

A Glasgow man is praising a service helping social housing tenants claim welfare benefits.

Retired painter and decorator Raymond Walker is one of nearly 3700 Wheatley Homes Glasgow customers who have benefited from the support of the Welfare Benefit Advisor team.

It is estimated around £19 billion of welfare benefits goes unclaimed every year in the UK, with people unaware of what they are due or they find the system too difficult and confusing.

Raymond, 68, who lives in Wyndford with his wife Jill, 66, is urging other Wheatley tenants in his situation to seek help as the team were “absolutely fantastic”.

The team advises tenants on the benefits available to them and acts on their behalf when dealing with any appeals and disputes. Since April 2023, the team has helped Wheatley customers across Scotland access over £7.3m in unclaimed benefits, with Wheatley Homes Glasgow customers being supported to access £4.5m of that.

The welfare benefit team is run by Wheatley Foundation, part of Wheatley Group. The benefits advisors supported Raymond with his housing benefit claim as well as pension credits – a process he admits he would have struggled with on his own.

Raymond Walker said: “When I retired, I didn’t have the first clue how to go about getting the benefits I was entitled to. People say it’s easy enough, but I didn’t know where to start and my age group is not always very computer literate.

“So, I phoned Wheatley Homes Glasgow and spoke to Kirsty, one of the benefit advisors, who has been absolutely fantastic.

“I think the service is going to be called upon more and more because of the last few years we’ve had with the cost-of-living. It’s a complicated system and you just don’t know where to start. But the benefits advisors are really clued up and we were fortunate having Kirsty who really cared and helped us claim what we were entitled to.

“If you’re having a problem, you can get them on the phone, and they help. That’s what they’re there for and I think it would save people an awful lot of hassle.”

Raymond Walker is encouraging any Wheatley tenant who is struggling, or feels daunted by the benefits system, to get in touch with the benefits advisors. He added: “If anybody’s worried about it, my advice would be to get in contact with them. If I had been trying to do it all myself, I’d probably just have given up. They are there to help you and it certainly takes an awful lot of the pressure off.”

Raymond is one of 3689 Wheatley Homes Glasgow customers who have been supported since the start of the financial year to access £4.5m in benefits.

Aisling Mylrea, director of Wheatley Homes Glasgow, added: “We’re doing all we can to support tenants in Glasgow in these difficult times.

“I’m very proud to hear of the difference the support from Kirsty made to Raymond, and I hope it has given him and his wife one less thing to worry about.

“It is very clear the welfare benefits system can be complex for people to navigate. Tenants may presume they’re already getting all the financial support available, or they’re not entitled to anything. Others may worry their claim will be rejected or they struggle to apply online.

“Welfare benefits are a vital safety net for many people on low-incomes, particularly in this cost-of-living crisis. We are here to help tenants claim all of the benefits they are entitled to. The support and advice we can offer is life changing.

“We would encourage any Wheatley tenant who is struggling to get in touch. We are here to help.”

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