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The influence of Covid-19 on people applying for benefits

This paper draws on the work of two charities to show the impact of the coronavirus crisis on people seeking benefits and people on low incomes. The data comes from surveys of users of the Turn2us Benefits Calculator and a survey of 900 frontline practitioners from Buttle UK.

It finds:

  • The impact of the coronavirus crisis on people seeking benefits is primarily due to redundancies, but almost as important are temporary closures of workplaces and self-isolation.
  • Black, Asian and other minority ethnic people are disproportionately likely to be trying to access benefits because they cannot work due to self-isolation or from being at high risk from the virus.
  • Almost a quarter of people in the least deprived areas of the country, who are searching for benefits, are currently unable to afford food.
  • Despite holding up well through the first phase of the crisis, the well-being of people looking to access benefits began to drop markedly towards the end of the summer.

We present these findings ahead of the Spending Review, to help inform the debate around how economic support for those impacted by the coronavirus crisis should be designed and delivered. It is part of our ongoing work to help charities use their data to inform the pandemic response and to communicate more effectively with funders and policymakers. For more, please see our Covid-19 interactive data dashboard for charities and funders. You can find further in depth analysis of Turn2us data here and the Buttle UK data here.

With thanks to our partners: