Vulnerable people are missing out on an astonishing £13.23 billion of benefits. The total includes over £2 billion in unclaimed benefits for jobseekers, and more than £3 billion for pensioners.
The figures were revealed in an answer that employment minister Priti Patel (pictured) gave to a question in Parliament – which highlighted that 45 per cent of people who are currently out of work aren’t claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance – so more than £2.5 billion is going unclaimed.
The largest unclaimed benefit is Housing Benefit – of which £4 billion isn’t taken up by people who qualify – followed by Pension Credit and Income Support. At the moment slightly more than one-third of people who are entitled to Pension Credit are not claiming it.
These figures do not include unclaimed tax credits, or Council Tax benefit – so the total will actually be even higher.
The enormous complexity of the system is playing a part. Someone who has lost their job doesn’t automatically receive the help they are entitled to: they need to know which of the complex web of benefits they could get – and how to apply for them.
The second issue is pride. This is particularly common among pensioners, many of whom have never claimed a penny in benefits throughout their working lives, and don’t want to start now.
Third is embarrassment. The demononisation of benefits claimants in Parliament and the media means people are too ashamed to claim the help they need – and to which they are perfectly entitled.
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