Aster Group worked throughout the pandemic to deliver all their services digitally. Using the Better Off Calculator they have helped their customers to maximise their income and claim benefits they are eligible for but not receiving. The team helped one single parent uncover the potential of over £2,000 a year in unclaimed benefits.
Aster Group’s good news story of 2021
As part of our affordability assessment for mutual exchanges* we now use the Better Off Calculator to identify affordability. This also goes hand in hand with identifying unclaimed benefits, which does happen from time to time.
Here is a perfect example of the success we have had:
A single parent who works full time and earns £30,000 a year always thought they wouldn’t qualify for benefits due to their income, and they never made a claim.
Following completion of an affordability assessment using the Better Off Calculator, we were able to identify on the detailed breakdown that this customer was missing out on £74 of Universal Credit each month.
If this mutual exchange takes place by looking at the “comparison” on the Better Off Calculator, this customer would then receive an additional £133 Universal Credit per month, a potential additional £2,496 per annum.
This was a very happy potential new customer who never thought they would be eligible for anything.
Jo-Anne Bevan, Welfare Reform Officer, Aster Group
*This is where one tenant ‘swaps’ homes with another tenant with the agreement of the landlord
Learn more about Aster Group’s good news story
Prior to the pandemic, Aster was already a flexible organisation that allowed staff to work from home when they needed. However, as the pandemic came all staff had to work from home. This posed a certain challenge for our customers as we had to deliver all our services digitally. We started holding some of our advice conversations via WhatsApp and, as restrictions eased, we introduced an appointment system where necessary. We still try to encourage phone calls or messaging as much as possible.
We chose the Better Off Calculator because of the self-serve component it offers. We send this link out to our customers to complete their income information and from this, our advisors can calculate how a change in circumstances will impact the customer. We can use these calculations to identify if customers will be better off moving property, whether they can afford a different property, as well as using it to identify any unclaimed benefits.
The greatest success we have had as a result of using the Better Off Calculator is being able to identify benefits for our customers that they are eligible for but not currently receiving.
Policy in Practice updates their tool very quickly following on from government changes. We can always rely on the calculator being correct. The team at Policy in Practice are very responsive and always looking for us to help them improve their products ... a great partnership.