Ashfield’s Citizens Advice Bureau has expressed concerns about the number of people who may struggle to get benefits because they do not have access to the internet.
A survey of the CAB’s drop-in clients carried out in January revealed that a massive 45 per cent of respondents do not have internet access.
A report written about the survey’s findings suggests that these people may find it difficult to make online benefit claims in the future - something that the Government is encouraging people to move towards.
In the report’s conclusion, it states: “We found the large number of clients without internet access particularly worrying given the Government’s future ‘Digital by Default’ policy.
“Also of concern were clients experiencing lengthy delays with the processing of claims resulting in serious financial difficulties.”
Seventy-six CAB clients shared their experiences of claiming benefits in the survey, with the majority of these claiming out of work and sickness benefits.
Nearly a third of claimants made their claims over the telephone, while only 16 per cent used the online form.
Sixteen per cent of claims took four weeks or more to process.
Ten clients had been left without any income at some point in the last year.