Are your citizens missing out on unclaimed benefits?
There is an estimated £15 billion of benefits that are unclaimed each year – an income that would help ease the burden of rising cost of living. The government’s welfare bill is well over £200bn a year, but the system is complex and many citizens are not aware of the benefits that they are entitled to.
What are the unclaimed benefits?
It is hard to know exactly how much is unclaimed each year – the Government has said that technical issues are preventing them from making estimates about how much universal credit is unclaimed. The switch over from legacy benefits (such as housing benefit and income support) have meant the calculations have been put on hold.
Pension credit goes out to 1.4 million pensioners, but an estimated 850,000 pensioner households are failing to claim a total of £1.7 billion, according to the department of Work and Pensions. This unclaimed benefit can lead to the automatic payment of additional support, including the cost of living payments, housing benefit, a council tax discount, help with NHS dental treatment, glasses and transport costs, and a free TV licence for those aged 75 and over.
Citizens Advice points out that lockdowns created the biggest surge ever seen in universal credit claims, so the rising cost of living could be having a similar impact. Anyone who receives universal credit is automatically entitled to an extra £650 in government payments, to help pay rising energy bills.
Local authorities can make understanding and applying for benefits easier for their citizens, which in turn can support millions amidst the cost of living crisis.
Using BetterOff, local authorities are able to provide their citizens with a self-serve platform that enables users to
- Identify what benefits they are entitled to;
- Apply for these with direct access to relevant forms;
- View how much better off they would be.
The platform guides users through the process: from assessing entitlements, processing claims and appeals, to ultimately providing the tools needed to re-enter work, all in one space. By facilitating self service, BetterOff reduces footfall in contact centres, allowing advisors to devote their time and effort to working with vulnerable claimants who cannot self-serve. In turn, allowing claimants to have the support they need whilst reducing the impact of cuts to welfare advice budgets.