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The most underclaimed benefits and how to drive take up

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We know that £10 billion of benefits go unclaimed each year by people who are eligible for them but not receiving them. Some households aren’t claiming support that could be worth thousands of pounds each year to them.

In this webinar we showcased innovative work councils are doing to encourage take-up of some of the most unclaimed benefits, and heard how this can lead to wider conversations that build financial resilience.

View these slides to learn:

- Which income-related benefits are most underclaimed
- One council’s work to drive up pension credit and tax credit claims
- How to determine the ROI of intervention campaigns so you know what works
- How software can help to identify vulnerability, target support and track change

For more information visit www.policyinpractice.co.uk, email hello@policyinpractice.co.uk or call 0330 088 9242

Published in: Data & Analytics
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The most underclaimed benefits and how to drive take up

  1. 1. The most underclaimed benefits, and how to drive take up Wednesday 26 February Policy in Practice webinar
  2. 2. Housekeeping www.policyinpractice.co.uk ● Audio check ● Please ask questions ● Polls and a survey ● Aim to finish by 12:00
  3. 3. Today’s speakers www.policyinpractice.co.uk Louise Murphy Policy & Data Analyst Policy in Practice Nick Harvey Training Officer Folkestone & Hythe Council Jane Worrell Revenues & Benefits Operational Manager Folkestone & Hythe Council George Sanderson Policy & Data Analyst Policy in Practice
  4. 4. www.policyinpractice.co.uk Give the best support you can to help people on their way
  5. 5. www.policyinpractice.co.uk We help organisations in three ways Policy Software Analytics Use our policy expertise to drive change Grow the financial resilience of the people you help Get the right support to those who need help most
  6. 6. Agenda www.policyinpractice.co.uk ● Which income-related benefits are most underclaimed? ● Focus on Healthy Start Vouchers to understand need and take up ● Folkestone and Hythe’s work to drive up pension credit and tax credit claims ● Understanding the ROI of intervention campaigns so you know what works ● How software can help to identify vulnerability, target support and track change
  7. 7. 777 Over to Louise
  8. 8. Background www.policyinpractice.co.uk ● Poverty in the UK ○ In-work poverty is on the rise, from 10% of workers in 1997/98 to 13% now ○ Working single parents have seen the fastest rise in poverty: 3 in 10 are now in poverty ○ Although pensioners are less likely to be in poverty than children or working-age adults, pensioner poverty rates are rising ● Local Housing Allowance cap ○ HB doesn’t cover the rent of most private sector tenants who get it ○ The gap between LHA and rent is proven to drive homelessness ○ For every 1,000 households experiencing a shortfall between their LHA rate and rent, 44 households will require temporary accommodation ● Moving to Universal Credit ○ 28% of households (1.3 million families) who will move onto Universal Credit are eligible for a lower award than under legacy benefits
  9. 9. Benefit freeze: value of many benefits fallen by 6% since 2013 www.policyinpractice.co.uk Source: UK Poverty 2019/20: social security. JRF
  10. 10. The shape of our social security system www.policyinpractice.co.uk ● 20 million people were claiming DWP benefits at August 2019, around 60% are pension age ● UC and the DWP benefits it replaces (JSA, ESA, IS and HB) made up just 25% of DWP welfare spending ● Given the costs of UC roll-out and the increasing costs of disability benefits, it seems unlikely that the amount of benefits people can get will increase by much Source: DWP benefits statistics ● Encouraging the take-up of unclaimed benefits is one tangible way that local authorities can act
  11. 11. £10 billion benefits are unclaimed www.policyinpractice.co.uk
  12. 12. Healthy Start Vouchers www.policyinpractice.co.uk ● Additional unclaimed benefits include: ○ Healthy Start Vouchers ○ Free NHS Prescriptions ○ Warm Homes Discount ● 46% of eligible households are missing out on Healthy Start vouchers ● Over 130,000 households were not accessing £28.6m of free fruit, vegetables and milk
  13. 13. Benefit take-up www.policyinpractice.co.uk ● Barriers to take-up ○ Difficult claim process, lack of awareness ○ ‘Digital by Default’ ○ Households not currently claiming any benefits are missing from administrative datasets - most large scale analysis relies on survey data ○ Lack of UC data ● Opportunities ○ HB and CTS data can be used to target households who are underclaiming ○ UC is likely to increase take-up rates by merging in-work and out-of- work support ○ UC notice can be used to trigger a CTS claim
  14. 14. 141414 Poll 1: How do you encourage benefit take up now?
  15. 15. 161616 Over to Jane Worrell and Nick Harvey, Folkestone & Hythe Council
  16. 16. Folkestone and Hythe DC
  17. 17. A bit about F&H DC • Approximately 52,000 dwellings • Approximately 8,000 housing benefit claimants • Approximately 60/40 working age to pension age • 2nd highest deprivation in Kent • LIFT Dashboard received in July 2019 • Urgency for first campaign • Cut off for Mixed Aged Pension Credits on 15th August 2019
  18. 18. Mixed Aged Couples • 98 households identified • Used LIFT to prioritise financial vulnerability: • in crisis • at risk • struggling • Reduced timeframe. No mail shot. 3 Benefit personnel calling • Actions: Claim reviewed: 3 month delay with info • 1st call: explained why calling, encouraged to apply online via direct.gov. Left message if possible • 2nd chaser call
  19. 19. Results • 98 households • 51 claiming Pension Credits • 26 from phone calls did not want to claim, uncontactable or change in circumstances and were nil-entitled • 17 said they were going to try to claim but no PCs on claim • 4 left message on phones • 51 households claiming PC’s at £255.25pw is £676k annually • Great result: • At risk household, old council tax debt cleared and paid to date for 2019/20
  20. 20. Other campaigns • Discretionary Housing Payments • Lone parents: 96 • Couples with children: 44 • Couples with no children: 32 • Singles: 44 • Not receiving Council Tax Reduction • All types: 49 • Eligible for Severe Disability Premium • All types: 8
  21. 21. Our approach • Dedicated resource • Funding allowed us to recruit one officer • Requirement to understand claim fully first • Started phoning them all • Way we approached that was crucial • Use of Benefit and Budgeting Calculator and help completing forms • Information emails created • Realised many unaware of DHP • Added bonus • Some fraud cases spotted!
  22. 22. Vulnerability • Change in culture • Change of wording on recovery notices • Change in approach • Identifying vulnerable customers • Those who just need a different method of communication • Those who need more support • Referral to welfare officers • Signposting • New list created • Encouraging feedback from customers
  23. 23. What’s next for us • Pension credits • Will target those who may be eligible for free TV licence first: 756 cases • Will be passed to dedicated resource • Initial phone call • Email to advise PC available • Letter • If unusual circumstances are identified we may look to visit
  24. 24. Questions?
  25. 25. 272727 Poll 2: What's your biggest challenge when implementing take up activity?
  26. 26. 292929 Over to George
  27. 27. www.policyinpractice.co.uk Identify Engage Track People who need your support the most Your residents with targeted support The impact of policy and effectiveness of interventions
  28. 28. www.policyinpractice.co.uk
  29. 29. www.policyinpractice.co.uk
  30. 30. www.policyinpractice.co.uk
  31. 31. www.policyinpractice.co.uk
  32. 32. www.policyinpractice.co.uk
  33. 33. www.policyinpractice.co.uk Using a benefits calculator with eligibility built in
  34. 34. Successful take up campaigns www.policyinpractice.co.uk ● 969 households contacted, 359 households signed up to Healthy Start ● Increased income to the houses by over £70,500 ● Use the calculator to maximize client income ● Identified £200,000 of unclaimed SDP ● Increase in early interventions through LIFT usage ● Identified up to £20m in unclaimed benefits ● Reduced reliance on foodbanks
  35. 35. www.policyinpractice.co.uk Calculating return on investment Cohort size Number of people identified as potentially eligible 2,817 Campaign size Number of people the council tried to engage (i.e. contact details held) 2,781 Engagement Number of people responding positively to the council 544 Take up Number of people with a successful outcome 181 Return on investment Amount saved (£463/month*12 months*181 take-up cases) £1,017,763
  36. 36. 393939 Questions and answers
  37. 37. Download now: ● LIFT flyer ● Benefit and Budgeting Calculator flyer ● Greenwich, Croydon, Guinness case studies Follow up email with webinar recording and slides, with links Short survey to follow the end of the webinar: ● We value your feedback ● Ask further questions ● Find out more about LIFT and BBC ● Sign up for our next webinar on tackling illegal money lending with Cheltenham Borough Homes (Wed 25 March) ● Sign up for our Regional Data Analysis Forum in Leeds on Tues 31 March Next steps www.policyinpractice.co.uk
  38. 38. 414141 Thank you Jane Worrell Revenues & Benefits Operational Manager Nick Harvey Training Officer Folkestone & Hythe Council Louise Murphy and George Sanderson Policy in Practice hello@policyinpractice.co.uk 0330 088 9242

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