Nautilus caseworkers heading for another record in benefit clawbacks for mariners

Nautilus caseworkers heading for another record in benefit clawbacks for mariners

Nautilus caseworkers have continued to ensure seafarers receive the benefits and grants to which they are entitled – helping to generate almost £1million for 563 seafarers in the first three quarters of 2022 alone and five per cent support more beneficiaries than 2021.

Operated by the Nautilus Welfare Fund, the service is heading for another record compared to 2021 when caseworkers generated an impressive £1.32million for 535 seafarers.

At the time, this was also a 32% increase in claims recoveries compared to 2020, as the free and confidential caseworkers service helped secure a then record over £1m and help 400 retired seafarers during the Covid-19 pandemic .

In 2022, the six agents – based in UK port areas – assisted 563 clients on 326 visits. In doing so, they helped secure successful grant applications worth £997,591. The biggest increase was in the second quarter of the year when the number of successful grants peaked at £398,564 for 202 maritime beneficiaries.

In 2022, the Clerk Service enabled retired and needy seafarers and their dependents to access benefits to which they were entitled, including nursing allowance, pension credit, nursing allowance, council tax rebates, personal independence payments and Universal Credit. The service also helped them access services such as relocation, home adjustments, and health and social care.

Andrew Jones, Director of Welfare and Care for the Nautilus Welfare Fund, said: “Caseworkers continue to make a huge difference in the number of seafarers we are now able to support as part of the charity’s services and in support of the Union’s strategic plan. The 2022 figures reflect a significant increase in supported numbers and continue the strong track record of secured funding.’

Celebration of the Sea expands the reach of clerks

A new community activity at Nautilus Mariners’ Park, Celebration of the Sea, aimed at fostering friendships among ex-seafarers that boost morale, is expanding their reach.

Celebration of the Sea: Mariners’ Park residents and other retired seafarers are on display at the Liverpool Maritime Museum.

Ruth O’Brien, caseworker at Nautilus Merseyside who was dealing with casework for seafarers in Liverpool during Covid-19, recognized that once restrictions were lifted an initiative was needed to bring seafarers together in the community as many were lonely and missing were the company of other seamen.

Together with Roger Cliffe-Thompson, Coordinator of Age UK Wirral Activities, she organized a number of initial meetings at Mariners’ Park specifically for retired seafarers on Merseyside.

At a first post-pandemic meeting of the Liverpool branch of the Merchant Navy Association (MNA), they were invited to visit the Maritime Museum in Liverpool, which has now resulted in two visits.

On the first visit, a guided tour of the museum’s new ‘Life on Board’ gallery attracted 15 seafarers, giving those meeting at Mariners’ Park for the first time, both local and local residents of Merseyside, a chance to reconnect.

A firm favorite among seafarers was the display of discharge books. The voyage also sparked much debate about the fate of the bulk carrier Liverpool Bridge, which became the ill-fated Derbyshire.

All seafarers seemed happy for the opportunity to talk about their seafaring days during the excursion.

Ms O’Brien said visits to the casework revealed that some residents were grieving the loss of their partners or coping at home alone with sight loss, and some had not taken trips or socialized in four years. Therefore, a second trip in December encouraged more women to take part. Meeting other female residents in similar circumstances as a result of the trip led to plans for a new initiative for female residents tentatively named “Married to the Sea”.

The Guild of Benevolence and IMarEST provided much appreciated expenses for museum tours, transportation and refreshments.

In the lead up to Christmas, the Celebration of the Sea project also had another celebratory get-together that included a free raffle, a maritime history presentation and a quiz.

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