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Dawn Primarolo is encouraging residents to get a benefits check-up this January.  The Labour MP for Bristol South wants to make sure that local people are getting what is rightfully theirs.

The easiest way to find out what you are entitled to is the Government’s online Benefit Adviser.  The website, www.direct.gov.uk/benefitsadviser, asks a series of simple questions in order to estimate what benefits and tax credits people should be receiving.  Users of the site can fill in the form on behalf of other friends or relatives who may not be able to use the internet. 

Commenting, Dawn said:

“With the current global economic situation, it’s more important than ever that people are claiming what they are entitled to.  The Government has increased a number of universal benefits for specific groups of people – child benefit is going up for parents, and the winter fuel payment has increased for pensioners, alongside an additional payment of £60 in the new year.  However, we also need to ensure that benefits get to those most in need, which is why Labour introduced things like Pension Credit and Working Tax Credits – designed specifically to help people on lower incomes.

The Government has done a lot of work to raise the profile of these extra benefits and payments, but sadly some people who are entitled still go without.  Often, this is because they did not think they would be eligible for a certain benefit, or didn’t even know it existed.  The online Benefits Calculator is quick and easy to use, and gives people an indication of what help they could be receiving.  Even better, you can fill in the form on behalf of a friend or relative who may not be able to use the internet and then print out a copy of the results.

With the expense of Christmas, many people find January a difficult month financially.  That’s why I’m encouraging people to act now, and get what’s rightfully theirs.” 

[8 January 2008]

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