ABOUT 300,000 people who are unemployed or on low incomes are missing out on benefits they are entitled to, according to a new study.
The Resolution Foundation said that numbers are “falling through the cracks” in the system and not claiming benefits worth at least £73 a week.
The think tank said the group of “forgotten unemployed” consists mainly of older people — especially women aged 55 to 64 — and younger men.
Most are jobless but a significant minority are in work and entitled to claim universal credit or jobseeker’s allowance (JSA).
Many do not claim benefits if they are living with a partner or parents, said the foundation. It is urging the government to do more to help those on the “margins” of the labour market.
Resolution Foundation senior economic analyst David Finch said: “Over the last 20 years a growing number of unemployed people are not claiming unemployment benefits.
“Policy-makers have generally been pretty relaxed about this gap, assuming that it is largely due to people finding new work very quickly or having other sources of financial support at home.
“But there are also around 300,000 forgotten unemployed people who are falling through the cracks and not getting the financial support that they need and are entitled to.”
The total amount of unclaimed benefits — including pension credit, housing benefit, JSA, income support and employment and support allowance — was £13 billion in 2015-16, according to Department for Work & Pensions figures published in September 2017. The figure dwarfs the £2.1bn the department says was lost to benefit fraud.
Only 59 per cent of people entitled to income-based JSA and 67 per cent of those entitled to pension credit had claimed those benefits.
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