New benefits surgery

Information service to help residents

Merton Council can now offer residents advice and help on claiming a range of benefits at a new surgery style service.

The new Community Care Welfare Benefits surgery will be officially launched on 1 November at the Civic Centre and the surgery will be held every Thursday on an appointment basis. The new advice officer, Suzie Rollins, will be able to inform residents about welfare benefits, housing benefit, Council Tax and health benefits.

She will also assist them in completing claim forms, telephoning departments to enquire after their claims and assist them in making appeals.

The creation of the role is also in line with the feedback Merton’s Social Services department received in the recent Joint Review to provide the public with more community service information.

As this is a pilot scheme the service would like to receive regular customer feedback to ensure the best service is being provided. Depending on its success the surgery could be extended to two days per week and offer further services.

Councillor Maxi Martin, Cabinet Member for Care Services, said: “This is a really exciting new service that we are very pleased to be able to offer residents.

“Knowing which benefits one can apply for and the actually applying for them can be a very complicated business and Suzie Rollins will be on hand to make things clearer for residents and make sure they receive what they are entitled to.”