Hillhead Housing Association 2000 is working in partnership with Caledonia Housing Association to provide a welfare rights service to our tenants and other residents in the local area.
This is a free and confidential service which can help with a variety of benefit matters.
It is possible that there may be benefits that you could be entitled to and are not aware of, or you may feel that the rate of benefits which you are in receipt of is not correct. Or perhaps you are working, but on a low income, and are finding it difficult to manage your finances. You may be on benefits, but are having trouble with the DWP, struggling with sanctions, or would just like help to complete a form.
If this is the case, our Welfare Rights Officer Morag Bisset, is here to help.
Our Welfare Rights Officers are trained to give advice on benefit entitlement and to assist in the claims process; whether it is making a claim over the phone or online, helping you to fill in a form, assisting you to appeal a decision you disagree with, or representing you at a benefit appeal.
Since the service started in August 2005, the welfare rights officers have jointly dealt with thousands of cases. In the last year alone, during a pandemic and while working from home, they have opened more than 500 new cases involving a whole range of different benefits. Many of these have been new claims for benefit or help to deal with problems relating to existing claims. Many cases have involved helping people to navigate the complex process of Universal Credit claims.
The service was launched initially with just one member of staff, Moira Escreet, but in September 2014, Hillhead Housing Association was awarded grant funding from the Big Lottery Fund which allowed them to extend the Welfare Rights Service, and Morag came onboard. The additional role has allowed the service to reach even more people who are facing financial hardship caused by welfare reforms, austerity and the current pandemic.
In 2021, Moira left for pastures new, and Heather Montgomery joined the team as an Income Maximisation Officer.
Morag & Heather can help with any benefit query, including Universal Credit, pensions, housing and council tax reduction, jobseeker’s allowance and the various disability benefits and tax credits.
Since its inception in 2005, the service has generated both lump sum and ongoing benefit income for tenants and residents amounting to more than £6 million going back into the local community. Rent arrears have been reduced due to the actions of the service-requesting backdates on awards, and assisting tenants to claim money to help cover shortfalls caused by the ‘bedroom tax’. Support from a range of charitable organisations has also been obtained and debts have been managed, written off or reduced as a result of intervention by Moira, Morag & Heather.
If you would like help with your benefits, or are unsure as to whether or not you could qualify, please contact our welfare rights officer:
Morag Bisset 0141 776 8631 or firstname.lastname@example.org
During the pandemic Morag can be contacted on 07458309043
Normally we would offer a home visiting service if you are not able to attend either the Hillhead or Caledonia office for an appointment. However, during the pandemic restrictions this has sadly not been possible. Hopefully, we can resume this service in the near future.