Research from Citizens Advice Scotland has shown a worrying number of unclaimed benefits across the country.
People across Scotland have been urged to check what social security benefits and other funds they are entitled to but not currently receiving to ease the pressure caused by the rising cost of living.
Polling for Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) by YouGov has found that, among those people who did not know how or if they were entitled to claim benefits, there has been a large drop in the numbers who feel too embarrassed to make a claim.
The drop is from one in five (20 per cent) in 2020 to just over one in eight (12 per cent) in 2022.
Last year the Citizens Advice network in Scotland helped 171,000 people and unlocked £147million for them through things like social security payments and employment entitlements. The average gain for those who saw a financial benefit was over £4,400.
CAS social justice spokesperson, Stephanie Millar, said: “The cost of living crisis is hitting people hard. Nobody should be going without heat or food while there’s a pile of cash they could be claiming.
“It’s really positive to see that stigma around claiming social security is falling, but lots of people still aren’t claiming what they are entitled to. That’s where we come in. CAB advisers can check if you are entitled to anything, and then help you claim it.
“In the current circumstances, every penny counts. We can’t promise everyone has a fortune in unclaimed money, but it costs nothing to let us check for you. As with all CAB advice, this process is completely free, confidential and independent.
“So today I’m asking people across Scotland to check what you’re missing out on. Your local CAB can do this, or if you prefer you can do it yourself using our online tool, www.moneymap.scot.
"And this call is for everyone – whether you are in work or not, pensioner, student, single or with a family. Our service is for everyone, regardless of circumstance.
“If you don’t claim what you’re entitled to it just sits there in the government vault. What a waste! It’s YOUR money. Why are you just letting it go, even now when you really need it?”
One Musselburgh pensioner has revealed she didn’t know she was entitled to Pension Credit Guarantee worth £83 per week until she visited her local CAB.
Helen Simpson is joining the charity today to urge others to check what they are entitled to and “get it claimed”.
The 67-year-old said: “The CAB has changed my life. They could do the same for you. Go and find out what you’re missing out on. There’s no harm in trying – It’s free to check so you won’t lose anything. So, do what I did. Get it claimed!”