New research by the UK charity Turn2us has found that almost half (48%) of low income households are not claiming the welfare benefits and tax credits they could be entitled to. This is despite the fact that a huge 87% of this group have seen no improvement to their financial situation over the last year.
Nearly three-fifths of those not receiving this support said they had been deterred from checking or claiming potential benefits entitlements because they did not think they would be eligible. In addition, over a fifth of households with children said they were unsure of how or where to find out about this help, whilst a quarter of people with disabilities felt recent welfare benefit changes have made it too difficult to apply.
As a result, over four-fifths have not checked what welfare benefits they could be entitled to within the last year. This is highest for full-time and part-time workers, suggesting they may not be aware of in-work benefits which exist to top-up low incomes.
Furthermore, two-thirds would not consider checking their benefits entitlements if their income dropped, and only 4% would turn to a charity for help. Yet nearly two-fifths said they would cut back on gas, electricity and other essentials, and almost a third would resort to cutting back on food.
Turn2us is urging anyone in need to use its free and confidential Benefits Calculator at Turn2us.org.uk to see what they could be entitled to and how to make a claim. The website also features information on benefits and other help for a range of different circumstances.
Financial hardship can happen to anyone at any time in their lives, and welfare benefits exist to provide a vital source of support. With over £15bn in welfare support going unclaimed every year, Turn2us is urging anyone who is struggling to use the charity’s free services to see what help could be available.