Thousands already helped
Over 7,000 lower-income households in Scotland can claim more than £35 million pounds in benefits they are due every year thanks to a Glasgow social enterprise and an Edinburgh-based financial technology firm.
Many people are missing out on £400 to £500 per month, with more than six out of 10 people on low-incomes in Scotland not claiming the full amount they could, because they are unaware of the benefits they are entitled to, or assume they are not eligible.
But detective work by two social enterprise community finance firms, Scotcash and Salad Money, has already helped 7,111 people in Scotland identify £2,943,168 in benefits they are entitled to, but not claiming every month, which could be vital to top up their incomes as the cost-of-living squeeze continues.
It will put £35,318,016 into their pockets every year if they all claim.
The staggering sum works out at £414 per person every month for Scottish households, with the impact even bigger for households with children.
It’s been uncovered through an automatic, online benefits calculator which compares the actual benefits people receive with the benefits they are entitled to, based on their specific circumstances and financial situation.
Scotcash, a not-for-profit community lender which provides services to people who have difficulty accessing mainstream sources, and Salad Money, a social enterprise specialising in affordable credit for NHS and public sector workers, have integrated the calculator into their websites since October 2021. Anyone applying to them can use it – whether or not they borrow from the firms.
The calculator, powered by award-winning, Edinburgh-based fintech, Inbest, has helped Salad and Scotcash applicants top-up their salaries with their benefits entitlement, reduce their bills, apply for smaller amounts of credit than they thought they needed and build savings.
Sharon MacPherson, CEO of Scotcash, said: “With rocketing utility bills and higher national insurance contributions financial insecurity is expected to rise, so it’s more important than ever people claim everything they are entitled to.
“One of the most frequently underclaimed benefits is Universal Credit. I know many of our customers are worried that moving from legacy benefits to Universal Credit will mean they have less in their pockets, but in fact, on some occasions, the reverse is true. For example, one Scotcash applicant who was working, claiming Working Tax Credit and renting privately found their benefit had almost doubled when they claimed Universal Credit.”
Tim Rooney, CEO of Salad Money, said: “Millions of people are feeling the punishing increases in the cost of living in their daily budget. But many households are unaware of benefits they are rightfully due, wrongly assume they are not eligible for any benefits or think an application is too complicated. Households across the UK currently miss out on £16 billion in benefits they could be claiming.
“I’m proud that our team has already helped thousands of lower-paid NHS and public sector workers put hundreds of pounds into their pockets every month.”