Thursday, 14 March 2013

District Council Prepares For Increase In Benefit Enquiries

South Cambridgeshire District Council has put special arrangements in place to help deal with the expected increase in enquires in the wake of the Government’s welfare reform.

Approximately 3,150 people in South Cambridgeshire will be affected by the welfare reform when it takes effect on 1 April.  Some residents may need to start paying rent or council tax for the first time, whilst others may need to increase the amount they currently pay.

The Council is writing to each household affected to let them know what it will mean for them and to advise what information and support is available.

Rent letters have already been sent out to Council tenants and benefit entitlement letters will follow next week together with council tax bills.

To ensure that local residents are given the maximum support and advice, the Council has put in place a dedicated team of welfare reform customer advisors for a period of 12 weeks, which will also ensure current levels of customer service are maintained for other enquiries. Information and advice is also available on the Council’s website.

Cllr James Hockney, cabinet member for corporate and customer services, said: "This is a critical time for many of our vulnerable residents who may be affected by one or more of the Government’s welfare reform changes and it is important that we do everything we can to provide the support and advice they need.

"We are writing to every household that may be affected and letting them know what support and advice is available, but we would encourage anyone who has concerns or questions on receipt of their letter to visit our website where more information can be found. Alternatively they can call us on 03450 450 061. Our dedicated welfare reform phone lines will be staffed from 8am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday for the next 12 weeks to coincide with the letters going out.”