Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has urged students to check if they could be entitled to benefits by using the Department for Communities’ Make the Call Wraparound service.
Minister Hargey was speaking as students began returning to college and university at the start of the academic year.
The Make the Call service aims to connect people with the benefits, supports and services to which they are entitled.
Minister Hargey said, “Some new students may be unsure how their current benefit entitlement will be affected when they start university or college or they may not be aware they are entitled to support at all.
“My Department’s Make the Call service is available to provide confidential advice and assistance and, as well as helping students claim benefits, may be able to help them to access other supports and services.
“Often people don’t realise what support is out there to assist them and with ‘Make the Call’ we are actively reaching out to people to ensure that is addressed.”
In the financial year 2019/20 an additional £44.1 million of benefits was claimed by over 9,500 people through the ‘Make the Call’ campaign. That figure brought the total for additional entitlements claimed to over a quarter of a billion pounds since 2005.
In addition to supporting the uptake of unclaimed benefit, the ‘Make the Call’ service connects people to other services and supports available across the wider government, voluntary and community sectors.
Minister Hargey continued, “A recent Ipsos MORI report highlighted how the Make the Call Wraparound Service has had a positive impact in supporting people who otherwise may have been missing out on benefits, supports and services they were entitled to.
“As we head into this academic year, I would like to wish all our students the best of luck with their studies and encourage them to ‘Make the Call’.”