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Unclaimed Benefits Cost Wales Billions Annually

A report reveals that households in Wales are missing out on over two billion pounds in unclaimed benefits this year. Barriers include lack of awareness and the complexity of the welfare system. Maximizing benefits can significantly improve living conditions and reduce demand on public services.
A new report from Policy in Practice, a data analytics company, has revealed that hundreds of thousands of households in Wales are missing out on more than £2 billion in unclaimed benefits and support this year.

Rhys Lewis, an adviser with Caerphilly Blaenau Gwent Citizens’ Advice, shared a success story of helping a pensioner couple claim an additional £18,000 a year.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) emphasized that the welfare system supports millions and promotes benefits through campaigns and helplines.

According to Policy in Practice, at least £76 million worth of benefits are unclaimed in the Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent areas alone.

Nationwide, £23 billion in benefits go unclaimed annually, with higher proportions in areas like Wales due to barriers such as poverty, an older population, and digital exclusion.

Rachel Walker, Director of Policy and Research at Policy in Practice, mentioned that rurality can also hinder access to services that assist in claiming support.

The unclaimed benefits include UK-wide benefits like Universal Credit and support funded by the Welsh government, such as council tax support.

These benefits can also reduce costs for services like water and broadband.

Mr. Lewis noted that awareness and the complexity of the welfare system are significant barriers.

Claiming eligible benefits can greatly improve living conditions for those struggling with rising costs.

Mrs. Walker added that maximizing benefits can reduce the demand on public services.

The DWP provides free, anonymous benefits calculators and a confidential helpline.

However, the £2.06 billion figure may underestimate the total unclaimed benefits, as it excludes disability benefits.

Policy in Practice estimated that nearly 80,000 people in Wales could have missed out on £372 million in attendance allowance in 2023-24.

A Welsh government spokesperson highlighted the importance of maximizing household incomes and encouraged residents to contact Advicelink Cymru to claim what they are entitled to.

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