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People of all ages frequently fail to claim the benefits to which they are entitled.

There are two main reasons for this:

  • they are not aware that they are entitled for financial support in the first place, or
  • they put off making a claim because the paperwork is so complicated.

Age UK estimates that billions of pounds of Pension Credit, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction goes unclaimed by older people every year.

Younger people often fail to claim money they are entitled to, for example, Jobseeker’s Allowance and in-work benefits.

If you are looking after someone, you could be eligible for Carer’s Allowance.

Certain bereavement benefits are payable when someone has died.

The Benefits Agency website has an A-Z of all UK benefits. Some benefits are means-tested but not all.

Means-tested benefits

If you apply for a means-tested benefit your income and any savings you have will be taken into account. This includes money in bank accounts, investments, cash and property (other than the home you live in).

Means-tested benefits include: Income Support, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Universal Credit and Housing Benefit.

If you quality for certain means-tested benefits you may be able to get other help such as free school dinners (contact your local council), free dental treatment and a cold weather payment.

Non means-tested benefits

These benefits do not take into account your income or savings; however, you may need to fulfil certain conditions relating to earnings or National Insurance contributions.

Some non means-tested benefits (but not all) may be taken into account if you apply for means-tested benefits.

Non means-tested benefits include: Jobseekers Allowance, Attendance Allowance, and Personal Independence Payment.

More information

The website EntitledTo will help you find out what benefits you might be able to claim whether you are unemployed or employed, ill or disabled, retired or bringing up a family. Just answer the questions and the calculator will determine what you are entitled to.

The Disability Benefits Centre offers advice about specific disability benefits (there are different helpline numbers for each benefit).

Veterans UK will advise former services personnel on many issues, including benefits.

Last updated: 05/04/2016