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The DWP said anyone who thinks they are entitled to out-of-work benefit should contact Jobcentre Plus. What they didn’t add was that these people would then be subjected to a period of ritual humiliation followed by the rejection of their claim on a trumped-up excuse [Image: Danny Lawson/PA].

The Resolution Foundation is right to highlight this – but wrong to expect anything to be done about it.

Governments habitually do nothing to inform people of their rights with regard to benefits. They expect the public to be aware of these details, even when none are supplied.

The reason is obvious: Another benefit claimant is another drain on the public purse. The current Conservative government would rather these people just die off.

In addition, anybody claiming a benefit is then subject to the Tory government’s humiliating benefit assessments process, which seeks to use the most humiliating methods possible to identify any and all possible reasons for refusing the claim, no matter how petty.

It seems bizarre to suggest that the rollout of Universal Credit is a good opportunity for the DWP to encourage these people to claim; UC is more punitive than the benefits it replaces and has been shown to cause more harm than good.

The simple fact is that the benefit system will never actually benefit its users while we have a Conservative government.

About 300,000 British people without jobs or on very low wages are not claiming benefits they are entitled to, according to a think tank study urging the government to focus more attention on the issue.

The report from the Resolution Foundation says the “forgotten unemployed” are disproportionately likely to be older women or young men, who are missing out on at least £73 a week and potentially far more.

While many appear not to claim benefits because they have other means of support – for example living with a partner in work or with parents – the report warns that some people, particularly women, are put off by a benefits system viewed as complex and overly punitive.

The report, titled Falling Through the Cracks, urges the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to do more to examine the reasons why so many eligible people do not claim, arguing that the rollout of universal credit would be a good moment for this.

The study says that while the bulk of the group not claiming benefits they are entitled to have no work at all, a significant minority do work, but for sufficiently few hours that they could still claim jobseeker’s allowance or, where it is in use, universal credit, which replaces a series of existing benefits.

The Resolution Foundation says the issue exists in part because of a lack of attention paid by all governments from the late 1990s onwards to a growing gap between the number of workless people and those claiming benefits.

Source: The forgotten unemployed: 300,000 jobless Britons not claiming benefits | Society | The Guardian


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