At least £2.1bn of benefits unclaimed by Londoners



According to national charity this London Challenge Poverty Week (14-20 October)

Londoners living in poverty aren’t claiming the financial support they are entitled to, with at least £2.1bn of welfare benefits going unclaimed across London each year, according to national poverty charity Turn2us.

In 2018/19, over 194,000 Londoners came to Turn2us to find out how many benefits they are entitled to, an 87.5% increase since 2014/15.

Despite the large numbers trying to find out what they are entitled to, many people have told the charity that they don’t claim what they are entitled to because the system is too complicated and intimidating.

Amongst the unclaimed benefits are: Pension Credit; Housing Benefit; Employment & Support Allowance; Income Support; Child Tax Credit; and Working Tax Credit.

Sara Willcocks, Head of Communications at Turn2us, says:

“Over two million Londoners are living in poverty.  The complex welfare system stops many people from accessing the support they are entitled to.

“The unwelcoming environment experienced by claimants threatens to undermine our social security safety net. This leaves many without the support they need.  It is important that we create an open and compassionate welfare state, which is as integral to our society as the NHS is. 

“We encourage anyone who is struggling with money to visit our website, or call our helpline, to find out what help they are eligible for and how they can go about accessing it.”

Simran O’Shea, Community Champion volunteer for London at Turn2us, says:

"From my volunteering experiences I have met so many people who are needlessly suffering. The financial support systems in place are challenging to navigate and many people feel as though they are not aware of all the options they have. 

“But this problem is avoidable. At Turn2us we provide the help and information that many people need. Events like the London Challenge Poverty Week are essential in striking up a conversation and raising awareness of the issues that many Londoners face."

Turn2us is a national poverty charity that provides help via its benefits calculator, helpline and grants search tool. Over the last year, more than 11 million people visited its website, with over 2 million people completing a benefits calculation.

Londoners who are struggling financially may be eligible for various benefits or grants, depending on their individual circumstances. Turn2us can advise on applying for benefits and charitable grants and can, in some circumstances, provide direct financial assistance through specific funds it manages itself.

The charity recommends that those who are worried about financial support visit the Turn2us website or call its helpline on 0808 802 2000 to check what benefits or charitable grants they may be eligible for.