People wonder what politicians do all week.

Despite the perception, attending Parliament to vote and debate is just part of the role. One of the most demanding, but also rewarding, aspects is the casework my team and I take on.

This covers a wide range of issues. But something that we have been continually dealing with the past few years is people struggling with the cost of living crisis.

Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley MSP, Elena Whitham.Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley MSP, Elena Whitham. (Image: NQ Archive)

I was shocked to hear that the Department for Work and Pensions has estimated that £1.7billion of Pension Credit was unclaimed by up to one million households in 2021/22.

Diving a bit deeper, it is estimated that in East Ayrshire more than £4.5million has been unclaimed, and the figure stands at more than £3.6million in South Ayrshire.

This money would make a big difference to households in our community struggling with the cost of living.

I encourage everyone who has reached state pension age to take 10 minutes to check if they are eligible for this extra income. Just visit

More broadly, I encourage everyone to check what benefits and grants they may be entitled to. Our social security system is a shared safety net designed to help when you need it. In Scotland, we have unique benefits such as the ground-breaking Scottish Child Payment, which provides £26.70 per week per child.

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Posted by Elena Whitham MSP on Friday 21 June 2024

An easy way to find out what you can get is using an online benefits calculator such as

I also know that some people may need a bit of extra help when applying for benefits. That is why Voiceability provides free and independent advocacy for anyone who identifies as disabled when they are applying for Social Security Scotland benefits.

I met with local staff earlier this year and the work they do is outstanding. You can reach them at 0300 303 1660

While my office cannot apply on your behalf or provide financial advice, we can point you to the most appropriate people to help.

Please email me on or call 01290 319 126