Our Benefit and Budgeting Calculator gets a new design thanks to recent funding from Nesta’s Rapid Recovery Challenge competition. The improvements we have made to the design of our award-winning calculator will give people a better experience on both mobile devices and computers. These changes are live now.

Visit www.betteroffcalculator.co.uk to log in or view the new changes.

As part of our comprehensive redesign we conducted a number of research groups to make sure we have the end user’s needs at the heart of our calculator. We listened to over 1,000 people who used the calculator and sat down with eight of our organisational clients to get feedback from frontline advisors too.

We learned that we needed to enhance the user interface and improve the overall user experience, particularly on mobile devices and for people with additional accessibility requirements. This is exactly what we have done, making the calculator more accessible and easier to use whilst still retaining its high technical accuracy and built-in help features.

We are particularly grateful to Open Inclusion, a company that runs user research sessions with people living with disabilities, who helped us to improve the design of our calculator so that it is as accessible and user-friendly as possible.

Watch a short demo of the Benefit and Budgeting Calculator’s new design


Video transcript

Hi there, I’m Louise from Policy in Practice and I’ll be showing you the new design of our Benefit and Budgeting Calculator.

We recognise that the benefit system can be difficult to understand, especially if you’re new to it or unfamiliar with the system.

Over the last couple of months we’ve been speaking to people who are receiving benefits to hear about the biggest problems they face and hear their recommendations for how we could improve the Benefit and Budgeting Calculator.

We heard that people want to know about all the support that’s out there for them and get this information quickly and easily so that they can maximise their incomes.

Many people are unaware of the full range of help and support that’s out there and, as a result, people are missing out on around £10 billion of benefits that they’re entitled to claim each year.

For example, over one million families miss out on housing benefit worth over £3,000 a year.

We want to make sure that people receive the money that they are eligible for.

I’ll show you some of the changes that we’ve made to the Benefit and Budgeting Calculator to help people get this information easily.

We heard from people that the language used in benefit calculators and benefit application forms can often seem confusing and daunting. As a result, we’ve tried to use plain English wherever possible and, where we do have to ask something that might be a little more complicated, we’ve added some additional clarification.

For example, if I click find out more I can see some additional text that tells me exactly who counts as a non-dependent.

We’ve also changed the layout of our results page. We heard from people that they wanted to immediately see how much income they would be eligible for if they claimed all the benefits that are out there.

So, now I can see this at the top of the page, in orange, and then if I scroll down, I can see exactly how we reached this figure and I can apply for any benefits that I’m eligible for but not currently receiving.

We’ve also changed the section down here where we show additional things to consider and additional types of support that people might be eligible for.

So, for example, we flag up things such as reduced price wifi tariffs that people might not know are out there but can make a difference if someone is struggling to make ends meet. We give some clarification around who might qualify for a reduced wifi tariff and then we give them the link with some information to find out more and make an application.

As well as improving the layout on the desktop computer, we’ve also improved the way that the Benefit and Budgeting Calculator works on mobiles and tablets since we know that more and more people are accessing the calculator this way.

I’d really recommend that you go and try out the new design of the calculator at http://www.betteroffcalculator.co.uk.

This is for everyone. There’s £10 billion of unclaimed benefits out there so we think that everyone should give it a go. Thanks very much.

Next steps

  • Find out more about our Benefit and Budgeting Calculator here
  • If you’re an individual who wants to find out what benefits you could get visit our simple, independent benefits calculator here
  • If you’re an organisation with frontline advisors, such as a local authority, housing provider, Citizens Advice or debt recovery organisation you can request a free consultation to see how the Benefit and Budgeting Calculator can help you here

Register for an upcoming webinar

TitleDateStart TimeDurationRegister
How Autumn’s income shocks will hit low income families The factors that have kept many low-income families out of poverty in the past year are changing, meaning many thousands will be worse off.

Families are set to be hit by big income shocks with the ending of furlough, the reintroduction of the Minimum Income Floor, the loss of the £20 a week Universal Credit increase and the ending of the Benefit Cap's grace period. New data analysis from Policy in Practice predicts significant losses for some families who will struggle to cope and who will need the support of frontline organisations to help them through.

In this webinar we will explore what the Autumn may bring for low-income households and how support organisations can work now to prevent hardship and prepare for an increased demand for services.

Join this webinar to learn:

- How much different households are set to lose when Covid supports are withdrawn
- What support tools are available for individuals and organisations
- Best practice advice from a frontline organisation

We will be joined by Monica Kaur from the Money and Pensions Service.
29/9/202110:30 BST1.3 hours
How Kent County and district councils collaborate with data to tackle poverty Covid has turned our world upside down. Many residents in Kent, as elsewhere, have experienced financial hardship whilst, for organisations, the pandemic has been the catalyst energising them to work differently.

In summer 2020 Kent Districts and Communities Recovery Cell set up a group to focus support to residents at risk or already experiencing financial hardship because of the pandemic. Residents unused to facing financial hardship suddenly needed help to navigate support and advice systems. The group knew that things are likely to get worse for Kent's residents before they get better as furlough ends and families who were just about managing are tipped over the edge.

In a first for local government, Kent county and district councils have boldly chosen to collaboratively share their data to get powerful cross-county insights that will drive their poverty prevention activity. The information will help them to target of a wide range of campaigns to residents such as employment support, free school meal take-up, public health interventions, housing initiatives and benefits take up.

Importantly, the project has transparency built in so that councils can very easily benchmark with each other to identify and share best practice in a safe, collaborative way.

Join this webinar to hear:

- Kent County Council's vision for greater collaborative working with districts
- Maidstone District Council's drivers for districts to collaborate with their data
- Folkestone and Hythe District Council's impact achieved so far from data-led poverty prevention campaigns

We will be joined by guest speakers, Zena Cooke, Corporate Director Finance at Kent County Council, Steve McGinnes, Director of Mid Kent Services at Maidstone District Council, and Jane Worrel, Revenues and Benefits Senior Specialist at Folkestone and Hythe District Council.
20/10/202110:30 BST1.3 hours
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