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DHSS mailshot to pensioners 17 January 2006

    In November 2005, the Department of Health and Social Security conducted a mailshot exercise aimed at encouraging pensioners not in receipt of Income Support to make enquiries as to their potential entitlement.

    The Department is always keen to ensure members of the public are claiming social security benefits to which they are entitled and the mailshot targeted those pensioners who were considered most likely to be entitled to additional assistance by way of Income Support.

    Approximately 900 households received the mailshot. Receipt of the mailshot generated 211 enquiries from pensioners seeking either clarification as to the purpose of the mailshot, further information about Income Support or a request for a claim form.

    The exercise resulted in the issue of 93 claim forms and to date, of those forms which have been returned, there have been 40 successful claims to Income Support.

    Dominic Delaney MHK, Member for Social Security, said,

    “I am delighted this exercise has proved to be so successful. Not only does this mean that 40 households will have their weekly income supplemented by the payment of Income Support but by establishing entitlement to this benefit these households will also receive payment of the £260 lump sum Winter Bonus.”

    Mr Delaney went on to say,

    “This exercise shows there are a number of people in our community who do not realise they might be entitled to financial assistance from the Department. People should not refrain from coming forward and asking for what is rightfully theirs, especially in this time of rising fuel costs when every penny helps. Much has been done recently to improve the incomes of those on the lowest incomes, in particular pensioners, through increased levels of income support. However, access to this help ultimately rests upon the person actually making a claim for benefit.

    Mr Delaney finally added

    “I wish to express my thanks to the staff of the Department and to Age Concern whose assistance with the exercise was very much appreciated, as well as the Minister and the other political Members of the Department who fully supported the initiative”.

    17th January 2006

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