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At least £15bn of benefits unclaimed last year

  • 24/05/2021

  • More than 7.1 million people are missing out on £15.1bn of benefits
  • 45% of people have never checked what benefits they are eligible for
  • Use the Turn2us Benefits Calculator here: https://benefits-calculator-2.turn2us.org.uk/

National poverty charity Turn2us warns that at least seven million people across the UK are missing out on over £15 billion of unclaimed benefits, increasing their risk of being pushed into financial hardship or even poverty.

Further research by the charity has found that almost half of people (45%) have never checked their entitlement, 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% of whom 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.

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.”

(Table 1: Unclaimed benefits)

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

The new Turn2us Benefits Calculator is the most accurate and efficient tool for people who are trying to work out what means-tested benefits they are entitled to. It is totally independent and run by the charity for no profit.

It only takes 10 minutes to find out what benefits you are entitled to and helps you start the application in a simple and comprehensive way. The new Benefits Calculator is user friendly for people of all digital abilities and the Turn2us helpline can do calculations for people without internet access.

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.

(Table 2: When, if ever, was the last time you checked what benefits you were entitled to?)

Age

% never checked

18-24

34%

25-34

26%

35-44

35%

45-54

52%

55+

60%