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This tool will help Caithness claimants

By David G Scott

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A new service has been launched for Caithness claimants to help them calculate their benefits entitlement in a bid to address the financial hardship facing many families.

The online tool is the first to fully integrate devolved benefits, including the new Scottish Child Payment which opens next week.

Andrew Bartlett, chief executive of Advice Direct Scotland (ADS), said: “The coronavirus pandemic has been a challenging time for everyone. Local and national lockdowns and restrictions, reduction in working hours and loss of employment, as well as changes to the way we carry out our daily activities, mean that many of us are feeling the strain."

The calculator has been produced by ADS and provides a free and impartial assessment of entitlement to a range of benefits such as Universal Credit, crisis grants and support payments.

Andrew Bartlett, chief executive of Advice Direct Scotland, has a passion for using 'innovative new technology to empower people'.
Andrew Bartlett, chief executive of Advice Direct Scotland, has a passion for using 'innovative new technology to empower people'.

The launch follows an 87 per cent increase in Scotland’s claimant count between December 2019 and December last year – up from 110,705 to 207,180 – largely caused by the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The UK Government has not published figures on uptake of Universal Credit, but it is estimated that hundreds of millions of pounds in benefits goes unclaimed every year. A new devolved benefit, the Scottish Child Payment, will start on February 15 for parents or carers on low incomes who have a child under six.

The Scottish Government is maximising uptake of the new payment, and it is hoped the new tool will further assist with this.

Mr Bartlett added: “People still have bills to pay, and reduction or loss of income can mean difficult decisions and hardship for families across Scotland. There are sources of financial support available, including benefits and grants, but understanding what is available, and individual entitlement, can be a daunting experience.

“Our passion is to use innovative new technology to empower the people we serve."

The new tool can be found at advice.scot/

Parents encouraged to apply for School Age Payment before deadline

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