Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) today (Tuesday) launches ‘For Your Benefit’, a campaign to help people, especially low income families, take control of their finances, and challenge public perceptions and stigma around personal finances.
This campaign will focus on three key areas:
- Benefits take up and ensuring people can maximise their incomes
- Raising awareness of scams
- Tackling and de-stigmatising unmanageable debt
In addition to the campaign, CAS is running a Financial Health Check service, funded by the Scottish Government, to ensure people are claiming the benefits they are entitled to, paying the lowest possible bills for their things like utilities as well as getting access to further advice on unmanageable debt.
New figures released by CAS as the campaign launches shows a near 40 per cent increase in people visiting a bureau to check their eligibility for benefits
Analysis of the charity’s database estimates that, for the first six weeks of the financial year, around 1,120 people a week have visited a bureau to check their eligibility for benefits, compared to around 800 people a week in the last two quarters of the previous financial year.
Citizens Advice Scotland Chief Executive Derek Mitchell said:
“The Scottish Citizens Advice Network helps hundreds of thousands of people every year, and what we are seeing in the early weeks of this financial year is more and more people turning to us to check what social security payments they are entitled to.
“That’s a sign of how the cost of living crisis is squeezing people’s incomes but it should also been seen as a positive step in terms of people being willing to check what they are entitled to.
“The reality is the vast majority of people believe that our welfare state is there to help people who need a hand, especially as the cost of living is soaring while wages have remained broadly the same.
“People should not feel embarrassed about claiming what they are due. That’s how the system works, we all pay in and get support when we need it.
“That’s why Citizens Advice Scotland is today launching our For Your Benefit campaign to help people take control of their finances. People can call 0800 085 7145 or pop into their local CAB for a free, confidential, Financial Health Check with a trained adviser.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
About the Financial Health Check
The Financial Health Check involves a short confidential interview with a CAB adviser and is available free to anyone who asks for it, or any CAB client whose adviser feels might benefit from it either through a free phone number or in local bureau.
People can get the Financial Health Check through their local CAB, on the Freephone number 0800 085 7145 or through financialhealth.scot
40 per cent increase in people seeking benefits checks
Figure’s from Citizens Advice Scotland’s CASTLE system shows that:
During Q3&Q4 2018/19 bureaux provided over 800 unique clients per week with benefits eligibility checks. In the first 6 week of 2019/20, the average number of unique clients receiving eligibility checks per week is almost 1,120.