Are you missing out on Government support?•
Getting your head around the world of money can be tough. But, once you’ve got the fundamentals down, everything gets that bit easier. In this blog, Policy in Practice provides an overview of different benefits and Government support, and how you could check if you’re eligible.
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In the face of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, there’s a growing need for practical solutions to help people weather the storm. Despite falling inflation, prices are still rising – just more slowly than they were before – and many are worried about their financial future.
If this is you, one simple action you can take that could boost your income is checking the benefits you’re eligible for.
Millions of families need extra financial support to stay afloat
Policy in Practice has found people across the UK are missing out on £19 billion of support in unclaimed benefits each year. Millions of families – both in and out of work – could be getting help with everyday bills like council tax, rent, water, energy and broadband. Tapping into this support could ultimately improve their mental and financial wellbeing.
That’s why boosting benefit take up is an essential way to improve financial and social stability.
Why do benefits go unclaimed?
There are lots of reasons benefits go unclaimed. Here are four of the big ones:
I. Lack of awareness
Many people don’t believe they can claim support given their circumstances or income. But families earning up to £60,000 can still qualify for benefits.
Even if you’re only entitled to a small benefits payment, claiming it can act as a ‘passport’ to other support. For example, a small Universal Credit payment can give you access to assistance with energy costs, broadband, or with school costs for young children.
If you’re over 75, a Pension Credit claim can provide a free TV license and access to Cost of Living payments.
There can be a negative perception around claiming benefits which may discourage people from engaging with the system.
Sensationalised stories and negative portrayals in the media and politics can reinforce myths and stereotypes of benefit claimants.
III. Complex application processes
There can be many different application processes for support that people find hard to navigate.
Many people incorrectly assume that they’ll be automatically told if they’re eligible for financial assistance, but this isn’t always the case.
The complexity of the benefits system can be daunting as people can be referred to multiple different organisations or be unsure of the eligibility criteria. This can make the stress of not having enough money even worse.
IV. Increasing fragmentation of support
Where means tested benefit payments are too low, they’re sometimes supplemented by local support programmes.
The way this local support is distributed can result in uneven access to support, depending on where you live.
Put simply, two people may need the same support but because they live in different areas, they may receive different levels of help.
How to check your eligibility
Worried you could be missing out on benefits that you’re eligible for? Here’s how to find out:
There are three free benefits calculators recommended by GOV.UK.
They can give you a fast and accurate estimate of national and local benefits and support you could get.
Some have built in budgeting features to help you see where savings can be made.
Policy in Practice is a social policy and analytics company that empowers people to reduce financial vulnerability. It runs one of these three free benefits calculators on GOV.UK, see https://www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators
That’s everything for now. Keep an eye on the blog as we’ll be posting more articles to help you master your money.
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