29 March

Reports suggest that around £15 billion in means tested benefits are unclaimed each year in the UK, and a significant amount is going unclaimed by West Lothian residents.  


Support and advice for people is available via West Lothian Council's Advice Shop - who have helped raise over £25 million in benefits, in West Lothian, in 2022.


The team can help local people find out what benefits they are entitled to, and ensure that they are not missing out on support.


The Advice Shop is a free, impartial and confidential service to help the people of West Lothian with a focus to alleviate poverty and to promote inclusion and equality through advice, assistance and advocacy in Welfare Benefits, Energy Advice, Money and Debt and Housing Advice.


Depute Council Leader Kirsteen Sullivan said: "The cost of living is affecting many people and it's very important that those that are entitled to benefits ensure that they are receiving them.


"Benefits exist to help people who need that extra support and it's clear through our work that many people don't realise that they are entitled to that additional support.


"£15 billion of benefits are going unclaimed across the UK and a significant proportion of those missing out will stay in West Lothian.


"I'd urge local people to contact us as quickly as possible and arrange for a benefits check. It can be done online, over the phone or in person and it doesn't take long to do."


Customers can use the online benefit calculator which can be found here: https://www.westlothian.gov.uk/benefit-calculator


The council's Advice Shop dealt with nearly 178,000 individual contacts and enquiries last year - a 22% increase on 2021. The team helped support over 15,300 individual customers.