Why are 300,000 jobless Britons not claiming benefits?

Resolution Foundation report urges Government to do more to help UK’s ‘forgotten unemployed’

Hundreds of thousands of people are not claiming their benefits
(Image credit: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP?Getty Images)

Three hundred thousand Britons without a job or on very low wages are not claiming the benefits they are entitled to, often put off by social stigma or a system viewed as complex or overly punitive.

That is the conclusion of a report by the Resolution Foundation into the UK’s “forgotten unemployed”, which it says are disproportionately likely to be older women and young men.

The think tank says many appear not to claim benefits becuase they have other means of support, such as they are living with a partner or parent. Some are missing out on £73 a week or more because of the way the benefits system is set up.

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The foundation has called on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to do more to examine the reasons why so many eligible people do not claim, arguing that the rollout of universal credit is an ideal time for this.

Much of the problem stems from how people out of work, or those in work but who are on sufficiently few hours to be eligible for jobseeker’s allowance or universal credit, are counted and classed.

The Guardian says that, currently, “under the International Labour Organisation’s definition of unemployment – someone actively seeking work in the past four weeks or available to work if a job became available in the next two – there are 1.5 million jobless adults in Britain, against 800,000 who claim benefits for this”.

The paper says much of this wider gap “is due to people moving between jobs too rapidly to claim benefits, or having other sources of income that mean they do not qualify”.

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