Helping families through difficult financial times

2013 will have been a difficult year financially for many families across the UK.

Household incomes are struggling to cover the rising costs of food, energy and other everyday essentials, and a recent report revealed that the minimum cost of raising a child has increased 4% in the last year.

Turn2us mum

Awareness of the financial support available through welfare benefits tends to be low and the perceived complexities of applying often deter people from claiming. At the same time, major welfare reform is taking effect, and research by the charity Turn2us has shown that 88% of families are concerned about the introduction of Universal Credit.

In these difficult times, it is more important that people can check and access the help they are entitled to. That’s why Turn2us has recently launched a new online Benefits Calculator to help increasing numbers of people in need.

The calculator is a free and easy-to-use tool, which can be used on a computer or smart phone, to help people work out which welfare benefits they are entitled to, how much they should receive and how to make a claim.

It can help people check if their benefits entitlements could be affected as their circumstances change. It also includes an estimate for Universal Credit entitlement and how this compares to current benefit rates.

As well as calculating entitlements to all means-tested benefits in the UK, the calculator also signposts to non-means tested benefits and links to our Grants Search tool to help people find further sources of financial help and support.

We would urge any families who are struggling financially to see what they might be able to claim today. Even if you have checked your entitlements before, it is worth checking again, especially if you have recently experienced a change in your circumstances.

One person who has benefited from our support is Jane, a single mother of three, who was out of work and struggling to cope with everyday costs.

By using the Turn2us Benefits Calculator, Jane identified that in addition to the Housing and Child Benefits she was already receiving, she was also entitled to Income Support at £70 per week.  Her eligibility for this benefit meant that she could also apply for free school meals for her two eldest children.

Jane, who is now working part-time, said: “Now I’m back at work I’m no longer eligible for Income Support, but it made all the difference and helped me through a very difficult time. My job at a children’s support centre means I now get the opportunity to recommend Turn2us to others who are in a similar situation.”

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