New benefits calculator reveals £6 million in unclaimed support

Woman typing on a calculator, holding a pen ready to write in her notebook which is next to her.
Christians Against Poverty’s new online service is revealing millions in benefits and income support are being left unclaimed by households, despite many facing mounting bills and debts. 

CAP launched an online benefits calculator just three months ago and more than 21 thousand people have already used the service to check if they’re entitled to extra benefits. The free online calculator was created and developed by Turn2us and CAP is part of a growing group of partners who are promoting it on their websites.

I’ve not claimed benefits in the past so I didn’t know anything about it. Heather from CAP 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. 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. 

– Former CAP client, Rodney 

Rodney’s story

A serious knee injury left CAP client Rodney no longer able to work and, as a result, he fell into debt. 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 thousand pounds 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.”

£6 million in unclaimed support

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 two thousand 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.

It’s absolutely vital for anyone living on a low income to make sure they are receiving all the support they are entitled to. Billions of pounds of benefits are still going unclaimed every year. 

– CAP’s Director of External Affairs, Gareth McNab 

From CAP’s Director of External Affairs, Gareth McNab

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.

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.

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.”

Free debt help from Christians Against Poverty

If you are feeling unsure about seeking free advice, an important first step could be to check out what CAP services could help you. CAP is also encouraging people to take ten minutes to use CAP’s free benefits calculator which will tell you if you have any unclaimed benefits entitlement. The calculatuor 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.