The County You Live, Work And Play
Welfare Reform Bites In SLC
Shock figures released show 350 clients were seen by CAB staff, relating to 650 inquiries.
The statistics have come to light after a report by South Lanarkshire Council revealed nearly 1,900 desperate families across the region had applied to the Scottish Welfare Fund between April 1 and May 31.
Sharon Hampson, manager of the Rutherglen CAB, handed the Reformer a detailed account of how welfare reform was affecting people over the two-month period.
She said that 26 people have been referred to food banks and a massive £719,000 had been recovered for clients.
Welfare reform is impacting women harder in Rutherglen and Cambuslang, with 53 per cent of clients being female.
Families are also suffering. Over a third of clients are in families with at least one child.
From April 2015 to March 2016, the CAB dealt with 3,700 cases relating to welfare reform.
Sharon said: “Welfare reform is really affecting people.
“We would never refuse anyone an appointment. If anyone is concerned with anything regarding benefits they should get in touch.
“We can also do a benefits check to make sure people are receiving everything they are entitled to.”
A report reveals South Lanarkshire Council received 1,868 applications for crisis grants or community care grants between April 1 and May 31.
Of those applications, 1,106 were successful.
Focussing on the impact of welfare reform, the report will also reveal that 37 households across the region were affected by the benefit cap, with an average weekly reduction of £57 a week.
From May 18 this year, benefits paid to households with children was capped at £385, down from the previous £500. For single people, that figure was reduced from £350 per week to £258.
The report also states that the council processed 4,529 applications for discretionary housing payments in the first two months of the year.
Council officers say the majority of these were related to the bedroom tax with over 3,500 council tenants affected.
Of those, 992 are in rent arrears to the tune of £421,000.