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£15bn of benefits unclaimed last year

Written by: Emma Lunn
More than 7.1 million people are missing out on £15.1bn of benefits, increasing their risk of being pushed into financial hardship or even poverty.

Research by Turn2Us found that 45% of people have never checked what benefits they are eligible for, with institutional stigma, cultural shame and negative media representation of benefit claimants cited as some of the most common barriers.

Proportionately, pensioners are the least likely to check what benefits they can claim – 63% have never checked. They are also the least likely to claim the benefits they have a right to, with one in three missing out on Pension Credit.

Turn2us has responded to this issue with the release of a new Benefits Calculator tool that has been designed in partnership with people who have lived expertise. The charity is urging people to check their entitlement and start the application process as soon as possible.

The tool also clarifies the implications of choosing between staying on legacy benefits versus moving to Universal Credit and whether individuals are eligible for a move.

Sonya Ruparel, director of programmes and partnerships at Turn2us, said: “There is an endemic issue of unclaimed benefits in the UK. The confusing, sometimes hostile, and often stigmatising world of social security has led to millions of people not claiming their entitlements. Our new tool sets out to simplify, de-mystify and compassionately support people to access the money they are due.

“Everyone who goes on to claim the benefits our calculator tells them they are entitled to receives an average of £5,320 a year. It is so important for people to check. We urge everyone to do a benefit calculation every six months as part of a regular financial health check.”

Unclaimed benefits

The benefits people are most likely to miss out on are:

Benefit Amount unclaimed People missing out
Pension Credit £1.8bn 958,000
Housing Benefit £3.3bn 745,000
Income Support / ESA £971m 287,000
Child Tax Credit £1.4bn 399,000
Working Tax Credit £576m 211,000
JSA £496m 126,000
Child Benefit £775m 503,000
Universal Credit £2.9bn 1,000,000
Council Tax Support £2.6bn 2,770,000


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