Retired Members Info and Resources Issue 71 FebMarch 2017

Staying ActivePreparing Your Home for Winter (Dundee City Council Website)

You might not think you need to do much, but homes are just as vulnerable to the cold as people are. So while you suffer from colds and flu your home could be suffering just as badly.

Every winter, thousands of properties suffer burst pipes and their occupiers suffer the misery and inconvenience that go with them.

Most of these bursts could easily have been avoided with just a few simple precautions. Many people think they won’t be affected or don’t know what they should do to protect their home.

Here are some of the things you can do before winter to make your home less vulnerable to the cold weather.
• Find out where the tap is that turns off the water supply to your house – make sure the tap works because if you do suffer a burst pipe during the winter you will need to turn it off quickly to prevent water flooding out and causing damage. (It will usually be somewhere on the ground floor of your house, maybe under the sink or stairs).
• Repair any dripping taps – ensure that taps are turned off and ball valves and taps are repaired as they can cause waste pipes to freeze. If the weather is cold enough drips can freeze up before they drain away. If left for long enough pipework can block and cause pipes to burst completely.
• Check you know how to use your heating system properly – so you can heat your home efficiently. For more information contact the Dundee Energy Efficiency Advice Project (DEEAP) on 01382 434840.
• Keep the heat in – ensure that pipes are properly insulated. You may be entitled to have your house insulated and draught-proofed free of charge if you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit. In the first instance you should contact the Claverhouse Group on 01382 828828.
• If you intend to leave your house unoccupied (for more than a few days) – turn off the water supply and drain the plumbing system (if you are a council tenant please call the Customer Service Team for advice, Tel: 01382 434343). If this is not possible ensure there is a low background heating on in the house when you are away. You can also pour salt down sinks, baths, and wash-hand basins as this will help prevent freezing. Ask a friend or relative to visit your home every day while you are away to help prevent possible damage. Open your loft door to help keep the loft area, water tanks and pipes in it warm enough to prevent freezing.
• If pipes freeze – you can try to thaw them out by using warm air or warm water – beware of using electrical appliances near water as this can be dangerous. If the pipes are part of the hot water system, turn off or extinguish the source of heat (immersion heater, gas boiler, coal fire etc).
• If a burst occurs – turn off the main water supply tap for the house. Turn on the taps in your kitchen and bathroom. Switch off the boiler and the immersion water heating system or extinguish the fire. For assistance telephone the Customer Service Team on 01382 434343.
Make sure that your house contents insurance policy provides cover against damage from cold weather. Dundee City Council can insure tenants’ homes for a minimal weekly charge. Contact any housing office for an application form.

Angus Members can contact their Council on 03452 777 778 and ask to be directed to enquires for any of the above, which I assume will be available.

(Apologies to Dundee City Council for any misquotes Mae Stewart)

The Scottish Welfare Fund

The Scottish Welfare Fund is a discretionary scheme which aims to help people who are experiencing a crisis or who need support to live independently in the community.
Local councils administer the fund according to Scottish Government legislation and guidance; the Scottish Welfare Fund can make crisis grants, or community care grants, and these do not have to be repaid.

There are some differences in how the fund works locally: some councils may offer a grant for a specific item, whereas others may offer assistance in kind (such as vouchers for food or a store card).

What does the fund provide?
The Scottish Welfare Fund is made up of two separate grants – a crisis grant and community care grant.

A community care grant aims to help with the costs that are involved to remain as independent as possible at home and prevent the need for institutional care.

A crisis grant is intended to act as a safety net in a disaster or emergency, when there is an

How does the council decide who gets help?
If you are on a low income and have no other way to pay for what you need, the fund may be able to help you. The council will need to look at:

1. Eligibility for the grant – This involves a number of checks including your identity, how much savings you have and whether you have applied to the fund before.
2. Qualifying conditions – They will look at whether your personal circumstances meet the qualifying conditions for the grant.
3. Priority – Your application will be given high, medium or low priority. This will depend on the nature of the problem that you have and the severity of your need.
4. Budget – Depending on the demand for the fund, the decision maker has to decide whether the budget can be used for high, medium or low priority applications.

The fund cannot help with some problems, such as paying off debts.

How do you apply?
Your council may let you apply by post, face to face, over the phone, online or by downloading and posting a form. To find out how you can apply to your council, see the Scottish Government guidance on this.

If you need help to fill out the form and make a claim you can ask an independent advice service, such as your local Citizens Advice Bureau. Someone else can apply on your behalf if they have your permission to do so.

Call the Age Scotland helpline for advice about your individual situation. Our advisers can give you more information about the fund and check if you may be entitled to other benefits too.

Further information
For more in depth information, see Age Scotland’s guide to The Scottish Welfare Fund and the Scottish Government’s myth-busting Q&A.

Call the Age Scotland helpline (0800 12 44 222) for advice about your individual situation. Our advisers can give you more information about the fund and check if you may be entitled to other benefits too.

Disability Living Allowance
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is received by many older people in Scotland.

Disability Living Allowance used to be the main disability benefit for people of working age who needed care or supervision or who had mobility problems.

It is gradually being replaced by Personal Independence Payment; this includes people who currently claim DLA having to claim Personal Independence Payment instead. If you were aged 65 or over on the 8th of April 2013 and you are receiving DLA, you can continue to claim it for as long as you meet the criteria.

If you receive a letter inviting you to claim Personal Independence Payment instead of Disability Living Allowance you will need to make a claim for Personal Independence Payment as Disability Living Allowance award will be ended as part of the process

For more information: For advice on your individual situation, call the Age Scotland helpline team on 0800 12 44 222

Every year, as much as £5.5bn of benefits that older people are entitled to go unclaimed – including Council Tax Benefit, Housing Benefit and Pension Credit.

If you are unsure about your entitlements, please call Age Scotland on 0800 12 44 222, who can help you with a Benefits Check.

With all that’s going on, prices going up at a speed of knots; etc. etc. I thought some benefit information might be useful to some members, and as the last paragraph shows there’s 5.5bn benefits going unclaimed.

I say this all the time. The truest thing in this world right now is that if you ask for nothing, then that’s exactly what you’ll get!

So for anyone who’s not sure where they stand, do give Age Scotland a call. You never

(Apologies to Age Scotland for any misquotes – Mae Stewart)


Provided by Mae Stewart, Editor UNISON Retired members Newsletter, Dundee, Perth and Angus. Please note that this is not definitive information about benefits but will provide a signpost as to where to get up to date information. Please check the sources first. UNISON Scotland can take no responsibility for information that may be outdated or inaccurate.

Retired Members