Citizens Advice Caerphilly Blaenau Gwent has seen the demand on their services increase this year with many more people needing support with increasing energy bills. The team discovered one client had been missing out on Severe Disability Premium (SDP) and helped him to claim £26,000 in backdated benefits.
“I couldn’t believe the amount of money owed to me. I would never have known about this money if you hadn’t done a benefit check for me.”
Citizens Advice Caerphilly’s good news story of 2022
The Better Off Calculator is very user friendly and allows us to easily compare if a client would be better off if there were to be a change in circumstances. We find the “Important things” and “Additional Support” features very useful reminders in giving our advice.”
Vanessa Powys, Energy Advisor, Citizens Advice Caerphilly Blaenau Gwent
Learn more about Citizens Advice Caerphilly’s good news story
The cost of living crisis has presented the biggest challenge to our advisors this year. We’ve had an increased number of queries and not a lot of answers immediately available. The issues people were coming to us with spanned help with paying energy bills, tackling mounting debt and whether they were eligible for any additional benefits. With so much time pressure, we needed a solution that was quick and easy to operate.
We have used other online calculators in the past, but working with the Better Off Calculator has been the easiest tool for us. It’s straightforward to go through with customers, and features such as the dropdown menus help to explain and expand on various terms and questions. We recruit and train a number of new advisors and the Calculator features make it simple for them to pick up whatever their level of knowledge around welfare benefits.
The stored calculations mean that managers can do quality checks with ease and run additional scenarios as needed without having to start a whole new calculation.
One of our biggest successes came from a client from our Moondance Energy Advice project. He came in for some advice on paying his bills as he was unhappy with the treatment he had received from his energy company. After running a benefit check on the Calculator we identified that he was missing out on the Severe Disability Premium (SDP) element of his Employment and Support Allowance. He has a severe health condition that puts him in hospital a lot. We helped him to claim and he was awarded £26,000 in backdated SDP, as well as an ongoing £69.40 a week. This was a life changing amount for him. He had been avoiding putting his heating on up to this point.
The client thanked us for all our help and said, “I couldn’t believe the amount of money owed to me. I would never have known about this money if you hadn’t done a benefit check for me.”