MILLIONS of people are missing out on cash that could boost their income during the cost of living crisis.
An estimated £13billion worth of benefits are going unclaimed including child benefit and help with council tax bills.
Over five million people are thought to be missing out on the cash, according to estimates by EntitledTo.
The biggest benefit going unclaimed is council tax support, with nearly three million missing out on £2.7billion between them
Council tax support comes from local councils and ranges from a discount on your bill, to paying nothing altogether depending on your circumstances.
It's thought that around half a million families are missing out on just under £1billion in child benefit – though some eligible choose not to claim.
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Parents have to repay some or all of the child benefit they get when they earn over £50,000.
Meanwhile more than half a million pensioners are eligible for extra top ups to their state pension if they areon a low income.
Pension Credit worth £1.47billion is going unclaimed and individuals could get thousands of pounds a year with this benefit.
The estimates by EntitledTo are based on the government's most recent data available and it's own calculations.
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The government has not produced data on unclaimed Universal Credit and other working-age benefits this year.
But the organisation has produced its own estimates and believes around one million people are missing out on more than £7billion.
Some older benefits like tax credits are also going unclaimed, but are being replaced by Universal Credit. That means new claims can't be made in most cases.
How to check what benefits you could get
Anyone can check if they are eligible for benefits using a simple calculator tool.
Benefits are not just for those out of work and millions of people in work get Universal Credit to top up their income.
Entitledto's free calculator works out whether you qualify for various benefits, tax credits and Universal Credit.
If you run out of time to complete the form in one go you can save your results and come back later but you will need to sign in or register.
You can do this using Facebook, Google or by setting up an Entitledto account.
If you don't want to register, consumer group MoneySavingExpert.com and charity StepChange both have benefits tools powered by Entitledto's data that let you save your results without logging in.
Instead, you're provided with a unique code to note down and use when you want to revisit the questionnaire.
You will also find benefit calculators from Turn2Us and Policy in Practice.
Any calculator you use will give you an idea of what you could get, but you'll then have to make a claim for the benefit itself.
Can I get benefits backdated?
It is possible to get some benefits backdated if you found out you’ve missed out on claiming for them.
But it depends on which benefit you’re making a claim for, as different benefits have different rules for back payment.
For example, new claims for Universal Credit, income support and housing benefit can be backdated for a maximum of one month.
You can get child benefit, pension credit backdated for up to three months.
But in most cases, you’ll have to provide evidence to show a good reason why you were not able to make a claim earlier.
This could be because:
- You have a disability
- You’re unwell
- The online claims system was down
- You’re making a new claim after breaking up with your partner
You can apply to backdate your benefit payments when applying for the benefit.
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How to do this will vary depending on which benefit you’re claiming for, so it’s worth checking in for more information from the government before putting in your application.
You can request your benefits to be backdated by writing to the Department for Work and Pensions, HMRC or your local council.
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