Blog: Talk Money Week
Today marks the start of Talk Money Week. Throughout this week, we will publish a series of articles focused on a different aspect of your finances. Today, Apex’s Welfare Advice Officer, Clodagh Lynch, blogs about her role, the importance of talking about money; and provides some useful information on benefits.
As Welfare Advice Officer, my job is to help you with your money concerns, offering a listening ear as well as advice on issues such as benefits, budgeting and problems with debt.
Talking about money
If you find it hard to talk about money, you’re not alone. That’s why every year Talk Money Week encourages people to open up about their finances. By having a conversation, you can improve your physical, mental and financial wellbeing.
Research shows that people who talk about money make better and less risky financial decisions, have stronger personal relationships, help their children form good lifetime money habits and feel less stressed or anxious and more in control.
Over the next five days we will share important information and useful tools to help you manage your money better; covering topics like benefits, financial fitness, savings, scams and debt. We’ll also signpost to some really valuable information on the MoneyHelper website; a free service provided by the Money and Pensions Service.
A good place to start – benefits
Today, I want to focus our conversation on benefits. Recent changes to benefits, coupled with rising energy prices, have made it more difficult for many of our tenants to keep on top of household bills and paying rent.
A good place to start when it comes to money concerns is to get a benefit check to ensure your income is maximised as much as possible. I can assist with this – the service is free, impartial and confidential. I can provide advice on benefits including Universal Credit, Rates Rebate, Personal Independence Payment, Housing Benefit, Attendance Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Child DLA and Pension Credit.
I can help you find out what benefits you’re entitled to, how to claim them, when you qualify, and what to do if things go wrong. I can also provide guidance when a change of circumstances occurs such as a change of job, ill health, change of address or change in household. I have helped many tenants resolve benefits disputes with Universal Credit, Housing Benefit or Personal Independence Payment; and I can also provide advice on grants and charitable support.
Talking can make a real difference
Recently I assisted a tenant who was forced to leave her job due to sickness. She was claiming Tax Credits and was struggling to cope with paying household bills and rent.
I helped her to make a new claim for Universal Credit and the Universal Credit Contingency Fund (a non-repayable grant to help with the 5 week wait). This resulted in her rent being fully covered; and following further advice she was successful in receiving an additional £343 per month on Universal Credit for her sickness and £113 per week Personal Independence Payment.
For this tenant, talking about money has made a real difference to her life – improving her financial well-being and her mental health. She told me she wouldn’t have had the confidence to make the various benefits claims herself and so I was pleased she talked to me so I could help.
If you are concerned about money and would like to have a chat in confidence, do not hesitate to contact me using the details below.
Clodagh Lynch (Welfare Advice Officer)
Tel: 028 7130 4800