An estimated 300,000 people are ‘falling through the cracks’ of the welfare system and missing out on the financial support they are entitled to, new research reveals.
The think tank Resolution Foundation analysed official unemployment statistics and claimant count data to assess how the benefits system supports those at the margins of the labour market.
Its report Falling through the Cracks argues around 300,000 people are missing out on state support worth at least £73 a week - the current value of Jobseekers Allowance/standard Universal Credit allowance for those aged 25 and over.
The think tank’s research revealed this group of ‘forgotten unemployed’ mostly comprises of older people (especially women aged 55-64) and younger men.
Most of them are unemployed but a ‘significant minority’ are in work but can claim benefits because they are on a low number of hours.
The think tank outlines a number of reasons for the growing number of ‘forgotten unemployed’.
One key reason noted in the report is that many people in this group have other sources of income. For example, two in five unemployed people today are either living with a working partner or at home with their parents — up from around one in four in 1996.
The report calls on the Government to do more to boost benefit take-up by those in need of support.
‘Over the last twenty years, a growing number of unemployed people are not claiming unemployment benefits,’ said David Finch, senior economic analyst at the Resolution Foundation.
‘Policy makers have generally been pretty relaxed about this gap, assuming that is largely due to people finding new work very quickly, or having other sources of financial support at home.
‘But while there are good reasons for some people not to claim benefits, there are also around 300,000 forgotten unemployed people who are falling through the cracks and not getting the financial support that they need and are entitled to.’