Increased awareness of benefits entitlements will be promoted during April by Chartered Accountants’ Benevolent Association as part of its support of Benefits Awareness Month.
The national campaign, created by charity Turn2us, is designed to encourage people living on low incomes, and those that support them, to check that they are receiving all the benefits that are available to them.
Ensuring that Chartered Accountants in need are claiming their full benefits entitlement is a key part of CABA’s activities and an income maximisation initiative was put in place in February, 2011.
A benefits calculator can be found at the Turn2us web site - turn2us.org.uk or Chartered Accountants and their dependants can contact CABA for further information.
Kath Haines, Chief Executive at CABA, said: “We estimate that there are thousands of Chartered Accountants and their families who are struggling to break even because they do not know about the full extent of benefits to which they are entitled.
“If we can help them to successfully make claims, it could have a really positive impact on their quality of life, so we are supporting Benefits Awareness Month and encouraging those who would like to know more about benefits to contact us.”
She explained that there are three main areas of benefits that are often underclaimed by accountants – disability, old age and unemployment. Experience at CABA indicated that pensioners were the most likely to be failing to claim their full entitlement.
“Around 25% of all the pensioners who come to us for help can claim additional benefits, usually pension credits. It is not unusual to be able to boost the monthly income for pensioners in need by £150 and sometimes by double that amount.
“We also find that underclaiming for disability is common. For example, carers often do not know that they can claim for a carer’s allowance in addition to any claims being made by the person being cared for.”
Kath added that accountants who were currently unemployed generally claimed for the full amount available but that there was some underclaiming among the rising numbers becoming self-employed.
She explained: “Many accountants who are setting up in business are eligible for tax credits while they get on their feet and this is an area where we have provided some people with help and advice.”
Sometimes, Chartered Accountants approach CABA after receiving incorrect advice from local authorities and local benefit offices, Kath added.
She said: “People do get incorrect information from the authorities and end up trying to make ends meet on a lower income than might otherwise be available to them.”
CABA works in partnership with Turn2us to help people in financial need gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help – online, by phone and through partner organisations.
For advice and information about our benefits support call +44 (0)1788 556 366 or speak to one of our advisors via Live chat here.