The Make the Call service provides assistance people to access a wide range of benefits to which they are entitled but have not been claiming.
Mr Durkan has previously called on the Communities Minister to establish a specific outreach service to assist pensioners to claim their entitlements after it was revealed via Assembly Question that £1.2 million in pension benefits goes unclaimed per week in Northern Ireland.
He deemed Make the Call a woefully inadequate provision in the face of the current crisis.
Said the Foyle MLA: “A handful of community clinics won’t begin to scratch the surface of need or tackle the costs crisis hitting low income households.
“This provision is a last minute scramble by the Minister to save face and obfuscate her dereliction of duty thus far.
“There has been an abject failure to cushion the impact of the cost of living emergency or provide adequate support for people.
“The Make the Call service is being painted as a fail-safe by Minister Hargey but it’s clear it is woefully inadequate.
“In recent months, I secured figures via the Department for Communities which revealed that pensioners here are missing out on £1.2 million in benefit entitlements on a weekly basis.
“That is truly staggering, especially given the current financial context.
“Those statistics alone prove that the existing provision under Make the Call are not good enough.
“Yet when I called on the Minister to develop a specific pensioner outreach initiative, I was signposted to Make the Call and in doing so, I feel she is neglecting her responsibility and downplaying its evident failings.
“Minister Hargey needs to admit that current mechanisms are insufficient and take on board the need to do things differently.
“This paltry intervention at the eleventh hour is nothing short of an insult as families battle unprecedented costs.
“Sadly, it comes too little too late,” added Mr Durkan.Tags: