Money – The Sun
MILLIONS of households are missing out on £6million in unclaimed cash help – we explain how to get it.
Christians Against Poverty is urging those in debt to take action now and ensure they’re claiming all they’re entitled to.
Millions of households aren’t claiming the cash they’re entitled to
The advice comes three months after the charity launched a simple-to-use benefits calculator that can show if you’re entitled to extra free cash.
It discovered that of the 21,000 who have already used the tool were found to be missing out on £6million in unclaimed benefits.
Gareth McNab, Christians Again Poverty’s director of external affairs, said: “Right now, it’s absolutely vital for anyone living on a low income to make sure they are receiving all the support they are entitled to and are aware of the free help available if they are in debt.
“Billions of pounds of benefits are still going unclaimed every year, and that’s why we’ve launched this new benefits calculator on our website, in partnership with our friends at Turn2us.”
It gave the example of Rodney, who approached Christians Against Poverty after falling into serious debt after suffering a knee injury.
With their support, he discovered that he was entitled to both Universal Credit and PIP.
“I’ve not claimed benefits in the past so I didn’t know anything about it.
“Heather [from Christians Against Poverty] passed me on to the job centre and I found out I was entitled to Universal Credit.
“She then informed me I should go for PIP (personal independence payment).
“I’d never heard of it and didn’t know anything about it. I was awarded PIP.”
Like Rodney, at least seven million people in the UK are missing out on a whopping £15billion worth of benefits, according to the latest figures from Turn2us.
The charity estimates that 2,770,000 people are missing out on council tax support.
Around one million people are missing out on Universal Credit.
And up to 850,000 are missing out on pension credit.
It’s vital to remember that benefits are not just there for those out of work.
Over a million people who work can still get Universal Credit to top up their income.
We’ve explained below how you can check what you’re entitled to.
How to check what benefits you could get
The quickest way to see what benefits you may be able to claim is to use one of the three benefit calculators recommended by Gov.UK.
Each one is free to use. They are:
- Policy in Practice
Free tools are also offered by Christians Against Poverty and MoneySavingExpert.
Before using the tools, make sure you have key financial information to hand, such as bank and savings statements, and information on pensions and existing benefits.
If you live with a partner or family, get their basic financial information together too as this could affect your claim.
For each of these, you’ll be asked information about your circumstances, such as your current employment and income.
You’ll also need to give information about yourself, including your age and who you live with.
You can then use the contact information on Gov.UK to get the ball rolling and apply for what you’re owed.
Of course, the tools only provide an indicator of what benefits you can claim – and usually don’t include means-tested benefits, so you may be entitled to even more.
You can also get some benefits backdated
It is also possible to get some benefits backdated if you found out you’ve missed out on claiming for them.
But it depends on which benefit you’re making a claim for, as different benefits have different rules for back payment.
For example, new claims for Universal Credit, income support and housing benefit can be backdated for a maximum of one month.
You can get child benefit and pension credits backdated for up to three months.
But in most cases, you’ll have to provide evidence to show a good reason why you were not able to make a claim earlier.
This could be because:
- You have a disability
- You’re unwell
- The online claims system was down
- You’re making a new claim after breaking up with your partner
You can apply to backdate your benefit payments when applying for the benefit.
How to do this will vary depending on which benefit you’re claiming, so it’s worth checking for more information from the government before putting in your application.
You can request your benefits to be backdated by writing to the Department for Work and Pensions, HMRC or your local council.