New site for online benefits

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A new website designed to help people move off benefits and find work is ready for use.

Founded on the idea that people in full receipt of their entitled benefits are more likely to find employment, the council partnered with the Kirklees Citizens Advice and Law Centre and Looking Local to create www.betteroffkirklees.org.uk

Computer users can find out which benefits they are entitled to and get the guidance they need to apply online – or even make an appeal against a benefit decision.

Cabinet Member for Resources Coun Graham Turner said: “We remain totally committed to providing a personalised advice service to ensure that residents claim what they are entitled to and are work-ready where possible.

“BetterOff Kirklees allows us to do this, by making the most of our reducing resources whilst freeing up our benefit advisers to deal with the more complex cases we receive.

“Crucially, we’re able to help more people into the workplace which not only benefits local families but will also contribute towards creating more independent communities and a stronger local economy.”

The latest Department for Work and Pensions statistics for people in North Kirklees receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit suggest more people continue to find work.

According to Jo Ledgard, Kirklees operations manager for Jobcentre Plus, as of November in Batley and Spen the number of people receiving those benefits is 1,400. This is a drop of 14 per cent in the year and 49 per cent since 2010. In the 18-24 age range, the figure is 350, constituting a 26 per cent reduction from a year ago and a 60 per cent drop since 2010.

In Dewsbury, 1,200 people are claiming the benefits – down 25 per cent in the year and 49 per cent from 2010. And for 18- to 25-year-olds, the figure has fallen 30 per cent in a year and 60 per cent since 2010 to 320 claimants.