Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly have come out in support of a new campaign aimed at raising awareness of unclaimed welfare benefits.
The #BenefitsAware Campaign, launched by charity Turn2us, is highlighting the extent to which people on low incomes are missing out on help that they could be entitled to. The campaign attracted support from MLAs at a special event in Stormont on Thursday 16 June.
Research from the charity, which surveyed over 1,500 people on low incomes from across the UK, including Northern Ireland, revealed that 48% of low income households are not claiming support that they could be eligible for. Nearly three-fifths (57%) admitted they have been deterred from checking or claiming potential benefits entitlements because they did not think they would be eligible.
The charity provides a range of resources for those in financial need, including a Benefits Calculator, at www.turn2us.org.uk where people can find out what they are entitled to, how much they could receive and how to claim.
Turn2us Chief Executive's comments
Simon Hopkins, Chief Executive of Turn2us, commented: “We’re delighted to receive this support for our campaign to ensure that those struggling financially are aware of what is available to them. Each year an estimated £15 billion in welfare benefits and tax credits goes unclaimed.*
“Two thirds (66%) of those we surveyed said that they would not consider checking their benefit entitlement if their income dropped; yet 37% say that they would cut back on energy or other essentials and 30% would resort to cutting back on food. This campaign is all about making sure that people are aware of the practical support that’s available that could make a real difference to their lives.”
For more information about the campaign, please visit Turn2us.org.uk/BenefitsAware.