300,000 jobless Britons are not claiming benefits – and the government likes it that way

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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6 thoughts on “300,000 jobless Britons are not claiming benefits – and the government likes it that way

  1. veronica57livecouk

    Also don’t forget there are 3.5 million (approx) plus of women born in 1950s who thought they were going to get their pension at 60 who now aren’t so ‘officially’ looking for work but many (like me) will refuse to sign on but live on the poverty line and under the radar so as not to endure the humiliation of being told to apply for apprenticeships & being blamed for not getting interviews when it’s clearly linked to age discrimination.

  2. It's Me

    I went to claim benefits, they wouldn’t give me any they did the lost letter, you missed the interview trick, the same trick they play on many.

  3. Tim Spencer (@timspencer1)

    It’s a good question Mike – I am someone who got made redundant in 2010 and HAD to claim to protect my young family (for about a year) while getting back on my feet. Back then I was allowed to pursue whatever work I wanted and the Job Centre were quite flexible and sympathetic.

    Would I claim now? Even if I were entitled to? Turning to crime would be less onerous and humiliating… wouldn’t it?

  4. Terminator

    My brother was one of the 300,000, or however many it would have been in 2009, although he won his unfair dismissal case he eventually signed on and found work before he even got his first payment.

  5. Lynn Jenks

    I’m one of the older women who don’t claim. Being a Teaching Assistant, I’m nominally paid £14,000 pa, but because it’s paid pro rata and I’m not paid for the school holidays, I end up taking home £970.00 per month. I’m not even sure if that qualifies me for some kind of benefit, but the reason I don’t claim is that I can cope now my children have left home, and I’m not willing to put myself under the pressure of trying to claim after what I’ve seen on the internet. I was unemployed after I passed my degree (2/1 Hons Humanities) in 1987, and I was sanctioned then because I was in the back garden and didn’t hear the phone ringing when the dole office rang to make sure I was at home. When I claimed because I had two children to support and I was unemployed for 18 months following my divorce in 2011, I was constantly worried about keeping accurate records and having to apply for jobs for which I was totally unsuitable. I’m 62 now, I have fibromyalgia and depression, and I just can’t cope with the thought of having to justify my existence to people who have to meet an 80% quota of refused applications.

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