Chartered Institute of Housing submits evidence on benefit take-up
The Scottish Parliament’s social security committee has called for evidence on current levels of take-up for reserved and devolved benefits and how these could be improved. According to Department for Work and Pensions statistics, the take-up rate of housing benefit is around 80 per cent by caseload.
In its evidence CIH Scotland suggests that universal credit (UC) could potentially improve the take-up of help with housing costs for working age claimants, by eliminating the termination of awards when claimants move in and out of work and removing complex qualifying criteria relating to age, parental status and hours worked which currently apply to tax credits.
However, the CIH submission also identifies the potential for significant numbers of people to miss out on benefits they are entitled to during the move to UC because of lack of awareness about eligibility.
Ashley Campbell, policy and practice manager at CIH Scotland said:
“We are really pleased the committee has chosen to investigate the issue of benefit take-up. Ensuring that people who are entitled to support receive what they are due can help to reduce poverty and inequality and make sure people are able to cover the cost of their everyday needs.
“Social landlords already have a strong track record of supporting people through advice and income-maximisation services. The Scottish Government can use some of this learning along with sophisticated targeting to communicate to households who may be entitled to claim UC but are unaware.”
Read CIH's submission here.