Alongside the launch of the National Insurance Contributions (NICs) calculator earlier this week, the Treasury also launched its new Financial Support and Benefits Checker Tool calculator. The benefits tool will allow people to see if they are eligible for certain benefits or financial support. The tool asks a person up to 10 questions and cross-checks against 25 individual benefits and support offers. The financial support that people will be shown includes childcare support, Job Seeker’s Allowance, budgeting loans and housing benefit.
At the moment, the tool does not include all financial support available for the cost of living from the Government.
It will however be introducing more over the coming few months.
The updates will include free school meals, extra help for housing costs, and travel costs.
The questions asked by the tool include where a person lives and whether they are over the State Pension age.
It also asks whether a person is in paid employment and whether this is over 16 hours a week.
If the answer is no, then it will then ask if a person has a disability or health condition which affects how much they can work.
It then goes on to see if a person is caring for someone with a disability or health condition for at least 35 hours a week and if they have children living with them.
This includes children aged 18 or 19 years old.
The tool also asks questions about how much money, savings and investment a person has which excludes the home that they live in.
It states that if a person lives with a partner then they should include the total for both.
Someone is classed as a “partner” if they are a “husband, wife, civil partner, or person in a relationship with”.
People can access the calculator on the Government’s official website, Gov.co.uk, under its Cost of Living page.
As the cost of living crisis continues, the Government has encouraged people to check their eligibility for financial assistance as many do not claim what they are entitled to.
Last week, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) called on people over the age of 66 years to check their eligibility for Pension Credit.
On 15 June, the department launched its second Pension Credit ‘Day of Action’ with the aim of raising awareness of the support.
Charities, banks and pension used their voices to support the campaign as well as Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis and former Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman.
The DWP’s recent figures released with the campaign revealed that there was an estimated £1.7 billion of Pension Credit being left unclaimed.
A recent United Nations (UN) report highlighted research that was done by the University of Kent last year which found that an estimated 280,000 to 390,000 people were eligible for Universal Credit but did not claim during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report called on Governments to do more to market their schemes and address the stigma behind Government financial support.
In the report, Olivier De Schutter, United Nations special rapporteur said: “Governments have a duty not just to provide social protection on paper, but to ensure individuals are aware of and can access, the benefits to which they are entitled.
“Marginalised groups should not suffer because of deficiencies in systems set up to support them. Governments must pay this underreported yet urgent challenge the attention it deserves.”