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Money Advice Service in West Sussex helps users claim millions in extra benefits

A free money advice service in West Sussex, for people aged over 50, has helped residents claim more than £2.5m in additional benefits since April last year.

A total of £2,578,261 in additional benefits have been received by county residents aged over 50 between April and the end of December last year, after they received the help of the Age UK West Sussex Money Advice Service.

The Service is an impartial and confidential service which offers advice in a range of areas including pensions, benefits, managing debt and budgeting.

It is being promoted in conjunction with the Council’s Age Well campaign, which aims to help people stay well, healthy and independent as they grow older.

The Money Advice Service is part of the Carewise care funding advice scheme – a partnership between West Sussex County Council, Age UK West Sussex, the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA) and West Sussex Partners in Care.

Older residents are being encouraged to take advantage of the free service, which can help them manage their finances and find out if they are eligible for any extra income that they might not be claiming.

Alan Jordan, 81, from Petworth, is someone who has benefitted from the Age UK West Sussex Money Advice Service. He received their help when he was caring for his late wife Doris, who built up significant debts while she was living with dementia.

As well as getting those debts written off, advisors also helped Alan successfully apply for benefits such as a carers allowance, which he was unaware he was eligible for.

Alan said: “I didn’t expect to get paid to look after Doris. Although we’d been married for a long time, I didn’t expect that I could claim money for helping to look after her in our own home, but I did.

“A lot of people might not know that this service exists, but if you are worried and struggling with money issues, give Age UK West Sussex a call. Don’t be frightened to ask for help, because it is there for us.”

Older residents are now being encouraged to take advantage of the free service which can help them manage their finances and find out if they are eligible for extra income which they might not be claiming, such as Pension Credit.

Amanda Jupp, Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: “Managing money carefully and successfully is a key part of ageing well. It can help us get the most out of life as well as give us peace of mind. Equally, financial worries can cause a significant amount of anxiety and stress.

“I would urge any West Sussex resident over 50, who might be concerned about their financial situation, to speak to an advisor from the Age UK West Sussex Money Advice Service.”

Fiona May, Information and Advice Manager at Age UK West Sussex, said: “Our Money Advice service helped with just over 6,000 issues in the last financial year and identified more than £2.5million in extra benefits for the people of West Sussex.

“This money can be life changing for our service users and can enable people to continue to live independently and well in their own homes.”

To find out more about the Age UK West Sussex Money Advice Service and how it can help you make the right informed financial decisions, please contact information@ageukwestsussex.org.uk or call 0800 019 1310 between 10am and 2pm, Monday to Friday.

Visit the Age Well campaign page at www.westsussex.gov.uk/agewell for more advice, events and tips.

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