Recent national news stories are again pointing out that many people are not claiming the welfare benefits to which they are entitled.
One of the reasons for this is that the benefits system can be quite confusing, given the different benefits that can be claimed and how the rules of entitlement work.
Groups losing out include pensioners and people who have retired.
People in this group may be entitled to ‘top up’ help in the form of pension credits.
At Hackney Citizens Advice Bureau we see a lot of residents who are missing out on these and other entitlements.
Many residents who have retired from work are living off either their state pension, retirement works pension, or a combination of both.
In many cases they are still struggling to manage on less than they are entitled to be receiving, simply because they are unaware that they can claim ‘top up’ support.
Another group affected is people in low paid work.
If you are struggling to pay your rent or council tax, you may be entitled to housing or council tax benefit.
Also, if you are receiving more than 50 pence per week in housing benefit, you can make a claim for discretionary rent payments from the council.
This may be awarded if you can show you are suffering financial hardship as a result of the amount of rent you pay.
Depending on your individual circumstances you may also be entitled to Working Tax Credits to top up your income.
This again depends upon your individual circumstances, whether you are single or a couple, with or without children.
We also see many residents who are not claiming benefits such as Child Benefit or Child Tax Credits.
Many people simply do not want to claim benefits, but if you are entitled, then you should consider that any financial hardship you or your family may be suffering can be lessened by claiming such support.
If you have any concerns that you may not be receiving the financial help you are entitled to, then you should seek advice.
Hackney Citizens Advice Bureau has staff experienced in advising on all of these matters.
We can also provide advice on other matters including debt, housing, employment, tax, immigration, family, health, education and consumer matters.
Citizens Advice Bureau
300 Mare Street
Tel: 020 8525 6350.
All Citizens Advice Bureau advice is free and confidential.