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Benefits bonanza spurned

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01/02/2006

More than £7bn in means-tested benefits overseen by the Department for Work and Pensions went unclaimed in 2003-04, according to a National Statistics survey.

The benefits included income support, housing benefit, pension credit, jobseeker’s allowance and council tax benefit. Between £4.2bn and £7.3bn is thought to have been unclaimed, with an average take-up of between 80% and 88%.

“These are worrying figures and the Government should be concerned,” said financial expert Martin Cunningham. “Perhaps the benefits are too complex for some people to understand, but there must be some real hardship if this amount of money is unclaimed.”

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