Complexity in the welfare system is contributing to low take-up of benefits such as the pension credit and housing allowance, public spending watchdogs say in a report.
MPs on the public accounts committee slammed the lengthy application form that disability living allowance claimants must complete. And they criticised the difficulties many found in trying to get through to contact centres.
Some customers find it difficult to understand their entitlements and staff struggle to provide clear and accurate information, said the report, which also pointed out that the Child Poverty Action Group’s guide to welfare benefits had nearly quadrupled in size in the past 15 years.
However, it said the replacement of paper-based processes for many benefits with communication by telephone had the potential to make applications easier.
The Department for Work and Pensions had also taken steps to reduce complexity such as in the design of housing benefit and pension credit, it added.
● Tackling the Complexity of the Benefits System from www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/committee_of_public_accounts.cfm