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Unclaimed benefits figure 'eye-watering'

Citizens Advice Scotland has responded to the new report by the Scottish Parliament’s Social Security Committee which finds that up to £20billion of means-tested benefits had been left unclaimed across the UK in 2016-17.

Responding, CAS Social Justice spokesperson Mhoraig Green said,

“This is an eye watering figure which shows how much more we all need to do to ensure people claim the social security support they are entitled to. Last year, the CAB network in Scotland secured over £84 million in unclaimed benefits payments for our clients. 

“We know from our work that that’s just a drop in the ocean, and large numbers of people aren’t claiming what they’re entitled to because they don’t know there’s support available; because of complicated application processes; or because the only way to make a claim is online.

“With a rising tide of people facing an income crisis in Scotland it’s essential that all parts of Government do everything they can to encourage take up of social security support.  This includes making application processes easier, giving the people the options of making claims in person or over the phone, and by providing funding for independent advice and advocacy.

“We want to see more people claim what they are entitled to. That’s why Citizens Advice Scotland work with the UK and Scottish governments on the Help to Claim service for Universal Credit and the Money Talk Team service to help boost incomes of people across Scotland. People who think they might be entitled to more should check with their local Citizens Advice Bureau.”

CAS’ evidence to the committee on this issue can be found here.