Merton helps Mayor of London aid those in need

Merton is actively joining the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson’s campaign to make sure those in need get the help they require and the benefits they are entitled to.

The council has previously put in place a specific benefits take up strategy and a pro-active benefits team to offer advice and aid so all residents can take advantage of the tax credits and services offered to them.

The team has even joined forces with the local pension service to form the Merton outreach visiting team (MOViT) – which holds welfare benefit surgeries and visits vulnerable people in their homes to make sure they get the help they need.

MOViT also works with other council departments to take advantage of events happening across the borough where staff can give on the spot advice. Last year MOViT raised a total of £820,924 of extra annual income for Merton residents who otherwise would not have claimed the cash, equivalent to £53.15 a week extra for each person.

Merton Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for change management and performance, Councillor Samantha George said:

‘We welcome the Mayor’s campaign and fully support his efforts to promote the take-up of benefits for those who are entitled to them.

‘Many residents remain unaware of the financial help they are entitled to, such as winter fuel payments. As part of our commitment to putting residents’ needs first, we have been working hard in recent years to increase take-up of all welfare benefits, tax credits, grants and services provided to Merton residents by the council and our voluntary sector partners.

‘Elderly people and families can find themselves struggling, especially during the cold weather and in the current financial climate but staff from the council’s MOViT team are there to make sure people know what assistance they might be entitled to and help them claim the benefits which will help them. They are doing a fantastic job and expect to generate even more money for those residents who most need it this year.’

For more information or to find out how the MOViT team might be able to help you contact 020 8687 3621.

http://www.merton.gov.uk/benefitsadvice

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Notes:

The Mayor of London has launched the Know Your Rights campaign to ensure the capital’s older people, carers and low-income families receive financial help and advice when they need it, and the benefits they are entitled to.

Thousands of people are unaware of the support they are entitled to and could be missing out on up to £50 per week, including pensioners who are not claiming winter fuel payments and families struggling in the recession, especially those who may have lost their jobs and are now eligible for benefits.

This campaign is organised by Boris Johnson in partnership with the Citizens Advice Bureau and Age Concern who are available for advice and practical help to claim on welfare benefits such as: income support, incapacity benefit, disability living allowance, NHS costs and accessing direct payments for social care.