In March 2018, the Chemists’ Community Fund Grants Committee agreed to pilot a partnership with Citizens Advice Manchester (CAM), who provide specialist advice on a range of issues including benefits, housing issues, employment difficulties and debt. The service, which is mainly telephone based, is available within England and Wales.
In the first year of the partnership, six cases have been completed, with another five beneficiaries currently receiving support. From the six completed cases, a total of £14,601.12 in welfare benefit gains have been achieved.
One member who was referred to the service had applied for Universal Credit but was receiving a lower than expected level of payment due to the minimum income floor. After acting on advice from CAM, the member’s claim for Universal Credit was recalculated due to a change in their circumstances. This was brought to the attention of the DWP and arrears of Universal Credit were paid with ongoing support awarded at an increased level.