Make sure you are claiming the benefits you are entitled to say Canterbury District CAB and Roger Gale (July 21st 2008)
Despite growing anxiety about the rising cost of living, too many people are still missing out on money they are entitled to say Canterbury District CAB. The local charity has joined forces with Herne Bay MP Roger Gale to urge Bay residents to get information and advice about their benefits entitlements and act now to get the money they are owed.
As much as £9.9 billion in means tested benefits went unclaimed last year,* affecting as many as 6 million people. Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and Working Tax Credit in particular are all currently massively under claimed.
CAB Manager Simone Field said:
Recent increases in essential everyday expenses mean many people are finding it increasingly hard to make ends meet. Yet too many people are missing out on money that is rightfully theirs. Many simply assume they wonít qualify and others are daunted by the prospect of making a claim. But claiming can be simple. We are urging anyone who is unsure about their entitlements or who like help making a claim to come along to the bureau and get a free confidential benefits check.Ē
And speaking in support of the campaign Roger Gale adds:
It is vital that people donít delay and put in claims now, as new government proposals, due to come into effect in October 2008, will reduce the period people can claim backdated payments from 12 months to three.
We hope that our benefit take up campaign will encourage as many people to claim and that we can help put money back in the pockets of Herne Bay residents as many are struggling with increased day to day costs.Ē
What could you gain?
- The average weekly amount of Pension Credit currently going unclaimed is £28.40, enough to make a huge difference for someone living on a low and fixed income and facing rising fuel bills
- Those struggling to pay their Council Tax bills could benefit from claiming Council Tax Benefit - the average currently going unclaimed is £12.90 a week.
- An adult working 30 hours a week earning the minimum wage could boost their income by up to £1,800 a year by claiming Working Tax Credit
- Almost a million people are missing out on £2,280 million of unclaimed Housing Benefit. Around half of working people entitled to housing benefit do not claim.
Where to claim:
Details on how to claim are below, or a free, from your local CAB will ensure you know what you are entitled to and how to claim.
Working Tax Credit 0845 300 3900 (local rate)
Pension Credit 0800 99 1234**
Housing Benefit 01227 862300
Council Tax Benefit 01227 862300
**This number is free from landlines including public telephones but is not free from mobile telephones; contact your mobile phone provider for rates.
Paul Merrywest, welfare benefits specialist at Canterbury District CAB has just helped a client with a Pension Credit claim which has now been backdated to June 2007 securing £624.75 in back payment. In this case the 60 year old man on incapacity benefit thought the rules for Pension Credit were the same as for Income Support. As he was unable to claim Income Support he thought he could not claim Pension Credit. As Pension Credit is more generous he was entitled to the payment and the bureau helped him successfully claim 12 months worth of backdated benefit.
For more information contact Roger or:
Canterbury District Citizens Advice Bureau
3 Westgate Hall Road
Kent CT1 2BT
0844 499 4128