This year has undoubtedly seen a number of financial challenges for many families across the UK. Many households, even those who are in-work, are struggling to keep up with the rising costs of food, energy and other everyday essentials. In fact, a new report has found that two-thirds of children living below the poverty line in the UK are from families where an adult works.
Earlier this year also saw the start of major changes to the welfare benefits system including the introduction of Universal Credit, which is being phased in to replace several means-tested benefits and tax credits. Research by Turn2us found that nearly half of families to be affected by Universal Credit aren’t sure how their entitlements will be impacted, and 88% are concerned about its introduction.
In these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever that people are aware of the financial support available to them. That’s why Turn2us has just launched a new online Benefits Calculator to help increasing numbers of people in need to access support.
This free and easy-to-use tool can be used anonymously and helps anyone to find out what welfare benefits they are entitled to, how much they should receive and how to make a claim. It calculates entitlements to all means-tested benefits in the UK as well as signposting to non-means tested benefits and other help that might be available.
The calculator also includes an estimate for Universal Credit entitlement and how this compares to current benefit rates to help people prepare for when the new benefit rolls out nationally.
In the last year, Turn2us helped 43,000 people in financial hardship to secure over £148 million in welfare benefits and charitable grants. One of these people was Tina, a mother of four.
When she separated from her husband, Tina found herself struggling with everyday living costs, despite working full-time. She started covering bills with her credit cards, but knew this was not a long-term solution so decided to find some extra help.
When Turn2us was recommended to Tina by another parent, she checked her benefits entitlements and found she was eligible for Housing Benefit and an increase to her Child Tax Credit.
Tina said: “The extra money I managed to claim has made me feel more independent. Before I checked, I was unsure about what I might be entitled to. The system can be complicated, so I’d recommend Turn2us to anyone in a similar situation.”
The new Turn2us Benefits Calculator will help even more people like Tina access support during difficult times. Anyone who is struggling should visit benefits.turn2us.org.uk to check what they might be able to claim today.
By Karen Holmes, Welfare Benefits Specialist at the charity Turn2us