A total of £1.7bn in benefits was not paid to those entitled to the money in 2015-16 owing to fraud and error, a new record rate of underpayment.
An increase led to 1% of benefits being unpaid during the year, Department for Work and Pensions figures reveal.
A year ago, a committee of MPs told the government that delayed benefits meant families were going hungry.
The government said it was providing more help to claimants to provide accurate information.
Nearly 65% of underpaid benefits – the equivalent to about £1bn a year – was the result of inaccurate information from claimants, it said.
People on Employment and Support Allowance – a benefit for those who are unable to work owing to illness or disability – were underpaid the most, with underpayments totalling £350m during the year.
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