Under claimed Housing and Council Tax Benefit – Nationally ?

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    Colin Masters

    Does anybody know or can you direct me to where I can find out the latest figures on how much Housing and Council Tax Benefit is unclaimed nationally ?


    Claimants miss out on up to £8bn (published Oct 2006)

    As much as 20% of all means-tested benefits, from the government and local authorities, was unclaimed in 2004/05.

    Figures published by the Department for Work & Pensions show that between £4.8bn and £8bn was uncollected.

    The money was a combination of income support, housing benefit, council tax benefit, job-seeker’s allowance and pension credit.

    Earlier this year, the government estimated that about £5bn of tax credits also went unclaimed that year.

    The Child Poverty Action Group charity (CPAG) said this had cut the potential incomes of those in greatest need.

    “Today’s figures suggest that the Government is failing to make progress on take-up rates for means-tested benefits,” said the CPAG’s chief executive, Kate Green.

    “On the best estimate, around a quarter of entitled people are still missing out. By contrast, Child Benefit, which is not means-tested, has a take-up rate of around 98%.”

    These latest figures do not cover benefits distributed by the DWP which are not means tested.

    Those include disability living allowance, incapacity benefit, carers’ allowance and child benefit.

    Rising numbers

    Overall, £31.7bn was handed out in income-related benefits, up from £29.5bn in 2003/04.

    But the value of unclaimed benefits also rose and was between £570m and £705m greater than the year before.

    The benefit with the worst take-up rate was job-seeker’s allowance, but the largest number of failed claimants was for council tax benefit, with up to 2.95 milllion people not claiming.

    An analysis of the figures by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed:

    Income support (non-pensioners): £320m to £1,130m unclaimed. Take-up: 83%-94% by numbers and 90%-97% by value.

    Housing benefit: £800m to £1,650m unclaimed. Take-up: 84%-91% by numbers and 87%-93% by value.

    Council tax: £1,330m to £1,800 unclaimed. Take-up: 62%-68% by numbers and 65%-71% by value.

    Job-seeker’s allowance: £870m to £1,380 unclaimed. Take-up: 50%-59% by numbers and 55%-66% by value.

    Pension credit: £1,460m to £2,070m unclaimed. Take-up: 61%-69% by numbers and 72%-79% by value.

    The ONS also said that the take up rate for pension credit – first introduced in 2003/04 – rose by about 3%.

    However, across the other four benefits, there was a slight decrease in the proportion of eligible people claiming the money to which they were entitled.

    Simply adding up the number of people who did not claim each benefit suggests that there might have been 6.3m of them.

    But that figure is greatly inflated by the double counting of individuals who could have claimed more than one benefit but did not do so.

    A DWP spokeswoman said they did not know exactly how many individuals failed to claim last year.

    “There would have been a lot of double or triple counting of individuals,” she said.

    “One benefit, such as job-seeker’s allowance, can act as a passport to another, for instance housing benefit and council tax benefit,” she added.

    Colin Masters

    Many Thanks for your detailed response Peter.

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