Why young people on GM’s Hidden Talent do not claim benefits – August 2020 snapshot

When they join GM's Hidden Talent, young people are asked why they are not claiming benefits. We have taken a snapshot collation of young people's responses (these are stored on our CRM database, Views) to identify any emerging patterns. We have combined this information with reflections and observations of Talent Coaches in producing this summary.

By understanding why young people are not claiming, we can plan how to make sure young people are not excluding themselves or being deterred from receiving statutory support. Talent Coaches will encourage young people to claim where they see it as being in a young person's interest and we will continue our partnership working with the Department of Work and Pensions to ensure that their services are accessible and responsive to young people's needs.

As of August 10th 2020, 85% of young people who had registered to the programme had never previously claimed benefits (198/232 young people). 

Of 172 active young people who had not claimed at any point in their lives, 158 gave reasons:

  • 36 mentioned not knowing they were eligible or the perceived difficulty of claiming 

Several Delivery Partners have mentioned in meetings that some young people do not have ID – a requirement to open a claim. The fact that 11% of beneficiaries feel that their level of literacy, numeracy and IT literacy isn’t good enough to get by on a day to day basis, will account for some young people not having  been able to navigate the claiming process without Talent Coach support.

One of our Delivery Partners has pointed out that some young people who do have the understanding of how to claim, may lack the confidence to then attend their appointments. 

Across these 36 young people there were repeated negative perceptions of Job Centre staff and seven separate mentions of friends having had bad experiences of claiming.

  • 23 instances of people having been either previously too young to claim, or being in college or working (so not needing to claim). Three young people cited living off savings from a previous jobs.
  • 18 young people have never claimed for reasons that could be grouped under feelings of pride

The common theme here is a young person’s self-image and perceptions of how others see them. Example quotes from young people include: “It’s not the done thing”, “I don’t want to rely on the system”, “It’s scruffy”, “I’m not that desperate”, and “I don’t want to be a scrounger.” 

  • 13 young people specifically mention getting financial support from family or partner

Given that 86% of the GM’s Hidden Talent cohort live with family it is quite possible that more are receiving financial support from family. Delivery Partners report that  some young people are not encouraged by the family to take on responsibility for their lives which can lead to young people becoming too comfortable and reliant on parental financial support.

  • 11 young people’s reason for not claiming were variations on this comment: “I don't want to claim benefits, I prefer to just find work.”


  • 43 / 55 young people who report having a disability that limits their ability to work, and 18 /26 who report a mental health difficulty that limits their ability to work, have never claimed benefits. 


  • There are four instances of young people not claiming because they worry that doing so will affect the claims of other family members in the house.


  • Out of the 34 young people who had previously claimed, 10 cited previously negative experiences or sanctions as reasons for not claiming. 

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