BBC News

Stormont scheme generates £37m in extra benefits for NI people

image captionThe Department for Communities claim that 7,765 people in Northern Ireland are better off by an average of £92 a week.

More than £37m in additional benefits were generated for people in Northern Ireland in 2018, according to the Department for Communities.

The department said the figure came from its Make the Call scheme, which helped people to claim social security benefits they were entitled to.

The department said the new figures are the highest ever amount raised in a single year since work began in 2005.

They also said the figure was a 74% increase from 2016/2017.

'Improving someone's life'

The department added that more than 7,700 people across Northern Ireland were "better off by an average of £92 a week".

Glynis Jones, spokesperson for the department, said that people "don't always realise what that can mean for their benefit entitlement and continue to struggle without getting the support and services to which they are entitled".

"Through this work we are actively reaching thousands of people each year and every pound generated is improving someone's life."

image captionDavid Malcolm, director of the department's Make the Call team, said people do not always realise they are entitled to benefits

David Malcolm, director of the department's Make the Call team, explained to the BBC what types of people may be missing out on benefits.

"We see a lot of people are caring for family members, for people who are ill, sick or disabled.

"They don't realise, they think they are caring for them out of duty but actually it's up to us to look at the benefits that can support them."

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