Vulnerable people in Wolverhampton have been helped to claim financial support worth nearly £5.5 million in the last year.

Wolverhampton City Council's Social Care Welfare Rights Service supported service users to claim that amount in the benefits they were entitled to in the 2012 to 2013 financial year.

Meanwhile the Macmillan Social Care Welfare Rights Service, a partnership between the council's Welfare Rights Service and Macmillan Cancer Support based at New Cross Hospital, helped cancer sufferers, their families and carers claim nearly £750,000 during the same period.

The Welfare Rights Service, working in partnership with the Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust, also offers support to patients at the Renal Unit at New Cross Hospital 1 day a week, and helped them claim just over £160,000 last year. The service has been so successful that it is being extended to two-and-a-half days per week.

Meanwhile, the Welfare Rights Service and Wolverhampton Citizen's Advice Bureau are offering support to people affected by recent changes to the welfare system through the new Welfare Reform Benefits Helpline on 01902 572006.

Many vulnerable people, including the elderly and disabled, find the complexities of the benefits system a barrier to securing benefits to which they are entitled. The Welfare Rights Service works with service users to help them make successful claims.

Helen Winfield, Welfare Rights Service Manager, said: "Even a small amount of additional money can make a massive difference to a person's quality of life, and we're delighted by the support we've given to help Wolverhampton's most vulnerable citizens claim the benefits they are entitled to."

Councillor Steve Evans, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: "These are all benefits which our service users are entitled to, but perhaps because of the complexities of the benefits systems they have not been able to claim what is rightly theirs.

"I am pleased that the hard work of the Welfare Rights Team, and that of their colleagues from Macmillan Cancer Support and Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust, has helped to so many individuals and families over the last 12 months.

"And it's not just good news for the service users themselves - Wolverhampton as a whole benefits as much of this money goes back into the local community through the purchase of goods and services.

"We estimate that for every £1 gained in benefits, the local community benefits to the tune of a further 70 pence, and therefore by helping social care users claim £5.5 million in money they are entitled to last year, the local economy will have benefited by a further £3.86 million."

  • released: Tuesday 18 June, 2013