‘Millions of pounds of benefits and income support left unclaimed’ – Christians Against Poverty

New figures from UK debt and budgeting experts, Christians Against Poverty (CAP), show people are missing out on millions of pounds of unclaimed benefits and income support.

As a result CAP have recently launched an online benefits calculator – www.capuk.org/benefitscalculator – that over 21,000 people have already used to check if they are entitled to benefits. The free online calculator was created and developed by Turn2us and CAP and is part of a growing group of partners who are promoting it on their websites.

In total, CAP’s figures show over £6 million pounds in potential extra annual income has been found that was previously left unclaimed, since the calculator went live on its website. Turn2us research shows 1:11 people who use it identify extra income, which means an estimated 2000 people are likely to receive a boost to their household budgets as a result.

This comes at a time when Christians Against Poverty is seeing a significant increase in demand for its services. In 2022, CAP recorded a further 20% rise in calls to its free debt helpline. Requests for emergency crisis aid also shot up, with a 60% rise in emergency food shops carried out for those going hungry and double the amount of emergency energy top ups for people struggling to afford to heat their homes.*

CAP’s Director of External Affairs, Gareth McNab, said: “Millions of people are starting 2023 facing rapidly rising costs, with huge energy bills during the cold of winter, and static incomes falling in value against record levels of inflation.

“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.”

'Millions of pounds of benefits and income support left unclaimed' - Christians Against Poverty

A serious knee injury left CAP client Rodney no longer able to work and he fell into thousands of pounds of debt as a result. Rodney was unaware that he could be entitled to any kind of benefits until he called CAP for help.

Rodney says, “I was physically in a lot of pain with my knee and I also had lung disease. We had no income, and didn’t know what to do. I ran out of heating oil so we had no heating, no hot water and ran completely out of food. I was £38,000 in debt because I couldn’t get any assistance from anywhere. I couldn’t afford to feed my kids. To be in that situation is horrific.

“Out of desperation, I went on the internet and found Christians Against Poverty. Along came Heather from CAP. By the grace of God we were saved.

“She immediately got us heating oil which then gave us heating and a food parcel turned up on the doorstep. You could not believe the relief of being able to feed my kids. There was someone who cared about us.

“I’ve not claimed benefits in the past so I didn’t know anything about it. Heather 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. I had no idea you could claim these sorts of things.

“I’m now out of debt. Once you know what is available you can do something about it. The key to it all, to getting out of debt is having that little bit of knowledge that someone can help you.”

According to CAP’s latest client survey, half (50%) of CAP’s clients have waited at least a year before seeking help with their debt issues. A quarter (25%) took more than three years.

Gareth McNab (CAP) continued, “If you are in debt, making the first call for help can feel tough but people often tell us they feel a real sense of relief after doing so. The sooner you get professional free debt advice from an organisation like Christians Against Poverty, the sooner we can put a plan in place and help you move forward.”

If you are feeling unsure about seeking free advice, an important first step could be to check out the helpful information at www.capuk.org. CAP is also encouraging people to take ten minutes to use CAP’s free benefits calculator which you can also find on CAP’s website and it will tell you if you have any unclaimed benefits entitlement. It has been kindly provided in partnership with Turn2us, an anti-poverty charity who help people in financial need gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help.