A WOMAN has been awarded more than £20,000 in unclaimed backdated benefits.

The 54-year-old was unaware she was entitled to a premium payment until her landlord’s welfare advisor helped her with a benefits form.

Karen Gribben, from Lanarkshire was told she should be claiming for the Severe Disabled Premium, but she was unaware of the benefit.

Her landlord, Loretto Housing, had been helping out with an assessment for work form from the DWP.

The advisor from Loretto, part of Wheatley Group spotted that she should be claiming for the disabled premium and was able to help her get the cash backdated 10 years.

Ms Gribben said she was shocked when she got the message of how much she was owed.

She said: “Loretto’s benefits advisor Mairi was brilliant. She visited me at home and was really fighting my corner.

“I was due but the DWP hadn’t been paying me. She made sure the money was backdated.

“I woke up to a text message from my bank that my account had been credited with £21,717.

“It was a total shock. I’m excited, but nervous. I’ve never had money before.”

The money came through at a difficult time for the tenant and she said it will make a big difference to her family.

Ms Gribben has two daughters and seven grandkids, suffers from various health problems which mean she’s unable to work.

She added: “A few weeks ago I was worried, struggling to make ends meet and I was depressed.

“Now I know the grandkids had a nice Christmas and I can look forward to the New Year.

“The help I’ve had from Loretto means so much to me.”

She urged other people to use the advisor service for help with benefits to make sure they are getting what they are entitled to

Loretto’s Head of Housing, Dan Blake also encouraged tenants to seek help from the housing association’s benefits advisors.

He said: “This is fantastic news for Karen and a brilliant example of the support we can offer all our tenants.

“The benefits system can be complex, and people aren’t always told what they can claim. We can help tenants claim all the benefits and tax credits they’re entitled to and help them cope with Universal Credit too.

“Loretto is here to help all our tenants at any time.”

He said any Loretto tenants who needs help with their benefits should talk to their housing officer or call free on 0800 952 9292.

Loretto Housing has 1300 homes across the central belt including Glasgow.

The benefits advisors from Loretto and Wheatley can also help tenants with applications for Universal Credit and other welfare benefits from the DWP.