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With many people facing additional financial pressures because of the coronavirus pandemic, Portsmouth City Council is encouraging residents to use a free, confidential and independent benefits calculator to check they’re not missing out on vital income. Based on figures from the Department of Work and Pensions, an estimated £48 million of means-tested benefit entitlements is going unclaimed by eligible, working-age households in Portsmouth each year – a figure that could rise in the current economic climate.

According to the council’s research into the impact of the pandemic on the city, more than a quarter of households have seen their finances negatively affected by coronavirus.  People in the 25-44 year old age groups have been hardest hit and households with children are also suffering more from financial setbacks. Many people are having to draw on savings, credit or loans from friends and family to cover living costs and households may be missing out on the financial support they’re entitled to through the benefits and pensions system.

Councillor Chris Attwell, Portsmouth City Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Central Services, said: “We know that every year, millions of pounds worth of financial support goes unclaimed in the city by people who are entitled to benefits payments and are in need of help. This year more than ever, many households are facing money worries or may have found themselves struggling to make ends meet for the first time. If you’re in that position, help is at hand. It is quick and easy to check what you’re entitled to using a free and confidential benefits calculator. Services like Advice Portsmouth and Citizens’ Advice can also help if you need support with your application or have questions about how benefits, like universal credit or housing benefit, work.”

Benefits calculators can help you quickly calculate if you could be receiving additional support, or understand what you would be entitled to if your circumstances change. They are free to use and completely confidential. You can use one of the following:

Anyone who is having a tough time financially can find more information and advice by visiting www.portsmouth.gov.uk/onthemoney. Advice Portsmouth is also a good first point of contact. It offers free, confidential and local advice on bills, benefits, debt, housing and employment issues to anyone who lives or works in Portsmouth. Call 023 9279 4340, text 07789 550593, use the webchat at theyoutrust.org.uk/service/advice-services/advice-portsmouth/ or email advice.portsmouth@theyoutrust.org.uk to get in touch.