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The missing millions of potential claimants

YadnadYadnad Member - under moderation Posts: 2,862 Disability Gamechanger
I see that the DWP have released their most recent figures showing that there are still millions of people who are not claiming what they are entitled to:

According to the figures, millions of families could be missing out on benefits they're entitled to:

  • Up to £3.5 billion of pension credit went unclaimed, meaning up to 1.3 million families are missing out on an average of £2,500 per year.

  • Up to £4.2 billion of housing benefit went unclaimed, meaning up to 1.3 million families are missing out on an average of £3,000 per year.

  • Up to £2.4 billion of income support and ESA went unclaimed, meaning up to 500,000 families are missing out on an average of £4,500 per year
That's a conservative £10.1 billion across 3.1 million people/families that are losing out.

There must be something that can be done to change this?

I remember years back that the government used to advertise on the TV, newspapers etc telling people over the age of 60 (at the time) that they should check to see if they are entitled to Pension Credit. In fact they went a step further and started making payments to the over 60's who they believed were entitled but hadn't made a claim. These payments went on for 6 months in the hope that after the 6 month period they would put a claim form in for the money to continue in payment. Very few bothered to make a claim!

The government then gave up and started to fund AgeUK to see if they could find the 'missing people'. Again it depended on the potential claimants coming into their offices in the first place - so that was wound up.

It seems a shame that some families/people who are in financial difficulties never look for help or ask if they are entitled.

Replies

  • susan48susan48 Member Posts: 2,229 Disability Gamechanger
    Gone are the days that people entitled are advised of this, there’s hardly any help for people who don’t know what they are entitled too 
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,364 Disability Gamechanger
    edited November 2018
    Pinch of salt to some extent with those figures as DWP accounts have been qualified as unreliable for 19 consecutive years and so you can trust these figures no more than you can trust the ludicrous figures on fraud. You can tell how far these are out by virtue of the fact that it’s known that the biggest single group pf underclaimers has always been pensioners. The language is interesting too. It always talks of “families” when most people missing out are likely single and are missing out precisely because government has targeted them to do so e.gl bedroom tax; benefit cap; sanctions. 

    That said, much Housing Benefit is underclaimed because we have created a transient population often scared to claim because landlords will try and illegally evict. Thus people prefer to rent and move before the arrears are too high. Then you have those who are capped or bedroom taxed and wrongly taken off altogether as well as those who move within an area and who are wrongly transferred to UC. Similar table of issues with ESA/IS. Main reason for low PC take-up are the many myths around claiming it. 

    The other thing which never gets talked about on this context, largely I suspect because it would blow the minds of the racists and their “immigrants coming over here claiming benefits” rubbish is that the largest single group of under claimers are BME communities. Take-up of PC for older people is around 65% but for BME communities it’s about 10%. 

    However, the idea that take-up of these things is difficult is also a myth. Councils can easily for example use existing data to identify people getting full HB/CTR but no PC. The receipt of full HB/CTR implies an income low enough to receive PC GC and so on. 
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