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Claiming the benefits you're entitled to

View profile for Andrew Leakey
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In the current economic climate it is only the lucky few who can feel truly secure in their employment. With the economic recovery by no means assured, and a wave of redundancies beginning across the public sector, more and more people are going to find themselves reliant on the benefits system for the first time in their lives. 
 
When confronted with the prospect of claiming benefits many are reluctant to make the fortnightly trip to the local Jobcentre and instead rely on their savings, credit cards or help from friends and relatives. While a trip to the Jobcentre is not going to be the highlight of anyone’s week I would urge those who finds themselves out of work to claim the benefits that they are entitled to and avail themselves of the opportunity to get the help and support that come with this, including payments to help with your mortgage or Housing Benefit to pay the rent.
 
It is unfortunate that I often see people who have needlessly spent all of their hard earned savings and had to come to me because they are facing severe hardship. They often express regret that they did not come in sooner, before the wolves were at the door.
 
These are proud people who have often worked all their lives and yet have seen what they have to show for it slip away from them going about the expensive business of living. Though it may hurt the pride to have to claim benefits you should consider that your National Insurance contributions are paid in preparation for a time when you may become reliant on the state. A parallel is car insurance, it would be very strange to not make an insurance claim   should you crash your vehicle yet this is, in effect, what thousands of people do with regard to benefits.
 
Similarly many people are put off claiming benefits in the mistaken belief that they will be forced to apply for positions that are not suitable for them, this is simply not the case. Though the number of benefits sanctions I have seen is increasing we are very often successful in appealing these decisions and there are strong statutory protections in place to prevent your benefit being taken from you unfairly.
 
My advice to all who find themselves out of work is do not wait until you are suffering real hardship claim your benefit entitlement now.
 
By care & welfare benefits specialist, Ryan Bradshaw
 

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