‘Get the facts and be prepared’ for changes in welfare benefit

RESIDENTS in Milngavie and Bearsden are being urged to ‘get the facts and be prepared’ before significant welfare reform takes effect from April 1 this year.

East Dunbartonshire council leader Rhondda Geekie is aware that the changes will have a major impact on many people who currently receive benefits.

She said: “We have been working closely with partners, including the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, to ensure that those who receive benefits are aware that changes are happening and to encourage them to find out how it will affect them.”

The reform includes the under-occupancy rule for those in social housing and in receipt of housing benefit and a change from the current council tax benefit system to a council tax reduction scheme.

The council has also been working with local landlords as housing benefit changes are already in place in the private housing sector. Council’s housing officers and revenue and benefits officers have been contacting those who may be affected since the autumn, to raise awareness and advise of options.

Councillor Geekie added: “We want to ensure that all those in our communities are supported through these changes and we have made sure that information is available on the council website, through the customer contact centre and by visiting community hubs.”

From April 1 the council will also administer the Scottish Welfare Fund, the scheme that has been set up to replace the Social Fund Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans which were managed by the Department for Work and Pensions.

For more information go to www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/welfarereform or call 0300 123 4510.