£15bn Worth Of Benefits Are Unclaimed - Could You Be Due A Pay Out?
Do you know if you are claiming all the benefits you should be?
Whether you’re new to the benefits system or just find it very confusing, you’re certainly not alone. That said, it’s important to take the time to check as you could be missing out on vital financial support that you’re entitled to.
Using data from Entitledto, we’ve made it simple to see the types of benefits that exist, along with how many people are thought to not be claiming what they are entitled to.
So pens and paper at the ready, here’s what you need to get checking. With just a couple of steps, your bank account could be in for a boost!
Council Tax Reduction
Number of people missing out: 2,700,000
Total unclaimed cash: £2.7bn
If you meet any of the following criteria, you could be due for help with your council tax bill:
A low income (amount can vary depending on your local council)
You’re the only adult at home
Are in full time education or training
Temporarily living away from home due to being in hospital or living in a hostel
Have learning difficulties or a severe mental impairment
If you or someone you live with is disabled
It’s a good idea to notify your local council immediately of any changes to your living situation that would make you qualify for any council tax discount. This is to ensure that you don’t miss out on the maximum amount of payment you may be entitled to.
If you are entitled to any discounts, then it’s also worth checking if you could be owed any backdated payments, depending on the date you would have first qualified for a discount.
As well as reducing how much council tax you pay each month, Martin Lewis recommends to check you are also on the correct council tax band. Martin’s tips resulted in one low income family receiving a £7,500 payout after it was found they had been placed on the incorrect council tax band, meaning the family were paying more than they should have been.
Number of people missing out: 575,000
Total unclaimed cash: £0.9bn
Unlike other benefits, child benefit is non-means tested although taxes can apply for higher earners over £50,000.
This means to be eligible for child benefit, you need to have a child that is under the age of 16 and lives in the UK. If your child is under 20 and is in education or training, you will normally still qualify to claim child benefit.
At the time of writing, child benefit is worth £25.60 per week for the eldest child and £16.95 per week for each subsequent child.
As a parent claiming child benefit, an added bonus is that you will also receive contributions towards your state pension if you are not working.
There is also a guardians allowance worth £21.75 per week if you are bringing up a child whose parents have died. This amount is paid on top of child benefit and is tax free.
Housing Benefit (Pension Age)
Number of people missing out: 710,000
Total unclaimed cash: £2.1bn
Being on a low income may mean you’re entitled to both types of housing benefits. But focusing on those who have reached state pension age, you can still make a claim if you meet the following criteria:
You and your partner have reached state pension age
Either you or your partner reached state pension age and one of you was already claiming pension credit before the 15th of May 2019
You are currently living in supported housing or temporary housing
If you haven’t yet reached pension age, keep reading as there is another housing benefit type which has since been rolled into universal credit.
Number of people missing out: 770,000
Total unclaimed cash: £1.4bn
Pension credit helps those who have reached pension age who are on a low income. It’s good to note that pension credit is not the same as the state pension. Instead, pension credit is designed to top-up your living costs in addition to your pension or other benefits.
If you qualify for pension credit, you could get an extra £201.05 per week if you’re single, and up to £306.85 per week if you’re a couple.
Benefits That Are Now Known As Universal Credit
Worth £9.2bn of the unclaimed benefits are the rest of the benefit types. You may have previously known these benefits under different names, such as:
Job seekers allowance
Child tax credit
Working tax credit
Housing benefit (working age)
These 5 benefit types are now part of Universal Credit, and it’s estimated that these unpaid benefits are yet to be claimed by up to 3 million people in the UK.
Therefore, if you are missing out on any benefits payments then it’s highly likely you may be entitled to universal credit.
Fair For You - Flexible Lending To Suit Your Needs
If you think you could be missing out on any benefits, then head over to the government benefits calculator to find out for certain.
We hope this article has been helpful, and that you’ll share it with any friends or family that could find this information useful.
For those who are on a low income, did you know Fair for You may be able to help? We are a not-for-profit organisation, and we offer the items you need for your home but at a rate you can afford to pay back.
Take a look at our product categories to see the types of items you could purchase through us. Best of all, being on a low income or having a poor credit score does not mean we won’t be able to help you.