Billions Of Pounds In Social Security Benefits Remain Unclaimed

by richardhutton

During the last three years, billions of pounds in income-related  benefits remained unclaimed in Britain. Between £6.93 billion – £12.7 million was left unclaimed in 2008-09; and this figure increased during 2009-10 (at present, this is the most recent data).  

The estimate of unclaimed benefits break down as follows:

2008-9

Income Support and Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related): between £590 million – £1.63 billion

Pension Credit: between between £1.63 billion – £2.93 billion

Housing Benefit (including Local Housing Allowance): between £1.78 billion – £3.41 billion

Council Tax Benefit: between £1.49 billion – £2.15 billion

Jobseeker’s Allowance (Income-based): between £1.45 billion – £2.58 billion

Total: between £6.94 billion – £12.7 billion. This represents unclaimed benefits, by expenditure, of between 15% – 25%.

2009-10

Income Support and Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related): between £750 million – £2.04 billion

Pension Credit: between £1.94 billion – £2.80 billion

Housing Benefit (including Local Housing Allowance): between £1.85 billion – £3.10 billion

Council Tax Benefit: between £1.7 billion – £2.42 billion

Jobseeker’s Allowance (Income-based): between £1.28 billion – £1.95 billion

Total: between £8.2 billion – £12.31 billion. This represents unclaimed benefits, by expenditure, of between 16% – 23%.

It is worth considering how much furore has been made on the issue of fraud; and the fact that the government is planning to cut c. £10 billion per year from the social security budget. It is equally important to question what happens to all of this money, when it is going unclaimed by those who are entitled to it.

Further reading: the full DWP report on unclaimed benefits is available as Income Related Benefits: Estimates of Take-up in 2009-10

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