Our Money Matters debt and benefits advice service in schools has seen local families boost their income by up to £24,000 in a year.
Across the UK, an estimated £19 billion worth of benefits goes unclaimed each year, as many find it too complicated or time-consuming to go through the process or simply don’t know what is available for them. But as part of our pilot scheme in seven Greater Manchester schools in low-income areas, our Financial Inclusion Officer has worked to increase household incomes by helping families claim the benefits they are entitled to.
Over the course of the last 12 months, we’ve helped 104 families to be a total of £163,009 better off – an average of £1,567 per family. And in one case, a family has had £24,000 of benefit gains.
We are now urging the government to roll out a pilot of the scheme to the 10 local authorities with the highest rates of relative child poverty to help match struggling families to the benefits they are entitled to but don’t claim. Money Matters does not add to the government’s benefits bill because it unlocks money that is budgeted for by the Department for Work and Pensions, which families are eligible for, but go unclaimed.
A spokesperson for Kellogg’s said:
One of the most effective ways to combat food poverty in the UK is to address the root cause: financial insecurity. Money Matters is a remarkable initiative that is changing lives and enhancing people’s financial security by helping them access the support that already exists. We hope the government will recognise the potential of this program and support the rollout of Money Matters nationwide.
Cherrelle Dowling was helped after believing she was on the right benefits – but then discovering through the scheme that she was entitled to more. We found that Cherrelle, who was living in a private rented property with her partner and children, needed an additional Child Element on Universal Credit. Her children were also eligible for higher rate Disability Living Allowance (DLA), but she was only receiving lower rate DLA for one of them. Securing these benefits has provided a vital financial boost to Cherrelle and her family.
Graham Whitham, CEO at GMPA said:
Money Matters shows the importance of delivering advice and support in trusted settings. In the context of the cost-of-living crisis and a benefits system beset by barriers and complexity, getting a trained advisor to work with people to maximise their income has never been more important.
By working in partnership with schools GMPA, supported by Kellogg’s, has been able to transform the financial wellbeing of families. We believe this approach needs to be replicated in low-income areas across the county.
On Friday 29 September, Graham spoke to LBC News, Global Radio and BBC Radio Manchester about our Money Matters programme and why we’re urging for a nationwide roll-out of it. Coverage of the campaign also featured in The Independent, The Sun, The Mirror, the Express and the Daily Star.
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