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Unclaimed benefits

LBTH Cabinet - unclaimed benefits

"I think our residents will be stunned to learn that more than £25 million in benefits could be going unclaimed every year. That sort of money would make a real difference to people who badly need a helping hand.

“Whether you are a pensioner, a person with disabilities, you’re unemployed or working but on a very low income, you could be missing out."

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets

Find out what benefits you might be entitled to

One of our partner organisations, Policy in Practice, has developed a tool to help you find out what benefits you might be eligible to apply for. 

Get started

Information about applying for benefits

There are a number of reasons that benefits may be unclaimed or under claimed. In some cases it could be as a result of an application or assessment error but often people may just not realise that the financial support is available if they come forward.

On this page we have provided important information about the benefits that most often go unclaimed or under-claimed. We've also provided information about where to go to seek advice in Tower Hamlets.

Income Support  

Income Support can help you cover your costs if you’re on a low income.

You can only apply for Income Support if you either:

  • get the severe disability premium, or are entitled to it
  • got or were entitled to the severe disability premium in the last month, and are still eligible for it

If you cannot apply for Income Support you can apply for Universal Credit instead.

Check you’re eligible for Income Support before you apply.

Find out how to apply.

If you've applied but you disagree with the outcome, you can challenge a decision about your claim. This is called asking for mandatory reconsideration.

Find out more about Income Support including further details on eligibility, the extent of support and the application process.


Jobseeker's Allowance

You can apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) to help you when you look for work.

Check if you’re eligible to apply.

Find out how to apply.

After you have applied, you'll get a text or phone call within two working days to arrange an interview at your local Jobcentre Plus office. You will not get JSA If you do not go to the interview.

If you've applied but you disagree with the outcome, you can challenge a decision about your claim. This is called asking for mandatory reconsideration.

Find out more about Jobseeker's Allowance including further details on eligibility, the extent of support and the application process.


Employment and Support Allowance

You can apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work.

ESA gives you:

  • money to help with living costs if you’re unable to work
  • support to get back into work if you’re able to

You can apply for ESA if you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed.

Find out how to apply.

If you've applied but you disagree with the outcome, you can challenge a decision about your claim. This is called asking for mandatory reconsideration.

Find out more about Employment and Support Allowance including further details on eligibility, the extent of support and the application process.


Tax Credits

Tax credits have been replaced by Universal Credit for most people.

You can only make a new claim for tax credits if you get the severe disability premium or got it in the past month and are still eligible for it.

If you cannot make a new claim for tax credits, you may be able to apply for:

  • Universal Credit - if you’re under State Pension age (or your partner is)
  • Pension Credit - if you (and your partner) are over State Pension age

Find out how to apply for tax credits if you are one of the small number of people still eligible. 

Tax credits might impact on other benefits you receive. Find out more about how they relate to each other.

If you've applied but you disagree with the outcome, you can challenge a decision about your claim. This is called asking for mandatory reconsideration.

Find out more about Tax Credits including further details on eligibility, the extent of support and the application process.


Disability Premiums

Disability premiums are extra amounts of money added to your:

  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance 
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit

There are three types of disability premium for adults:

  • disability premium
  • enhanced disability premium
  • severe disability premium

You can get more than one premium at a time.

Any money you get is added to your benefit payments automatically so you do not normally have to apply for a disability premium.

If you believe you should be receiving a disability premium that you are not getting, you will need to contact your local Jobcentre Plus.

If you've applied but you disagree with the outcome, you can challenge a decision about your claim. This is called asking for mandatory reconsideration.

Find out more about Disability Premiums including further details on eligibility, the extent of support and the application process.


Pension Credits

Pension Credit is a payment that some people can apply for to top up their income once they've reached the state pension age of 65. How much you are entitled to will depend on your other income and savings.

You should be eligible if:

• Your weekly income is below £163 (for single people) or £248.80 (for couples). Pension Credit can make up the difference.

• You have saved some money towards your retirement, for example through a pension. Pension Credit could provide you with an extra £13.40 per week (for single people) or £14.99 (for couples).

Find out how to apply.

If you've applied but you disagree with the outcome, you can challenge a decision about your claim. This is called asking for mandatory reconsideration.


Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. It’s paid monthly.

You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income or out of work.

Universal Credit is replacing the following benefits:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance 
  • Working Tax Credit

If you currently get any of these benefits, you do not need to do anything unless:

  • you have a change of circumstances you need to report
  • the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) contacts you about moving to Universal Credit

You cannot claim Universal Credit if you either:

  • get the severe disability premium, or are entitled to it
  • got or were entitled to the severe disability premium in the last month, and you’re still eligible for it

Check if you're eligible to apply for Universal Credit.

Find out how to apply.

If you've applied but you disagree with the outcome, you can challenge a decision about your claim. This is called asking for mandatory reconsideration.


Advice and support about benefits in Tower Hamlets

Specialist benefits support is available from Tower Hamlets Citizens Advice

Tower Hamlets CAB

32 Greatorex Street

London

E1 5NP

You are advised to call 020 7247 1050 to make an appointment before attending.

There are also other general and specialist advice services available in the local area.