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Ending the £3.5 Billion Pension Credit Scandal

  • 13/08/2019
  • Author:bridgetmccall

This article is over a year old

Ross Playle, Campaigns Officer, explains why Independent Age's 'Credit Where It's Due' campaign is so important

Older lady in her kitchen

Pension Credit was introduced to help tackle pensioner poverty but worryingly as many as 2 in 5 people who are eligible for Pension Credit do not receive it.

If you haven’t heard of Pension Credit before, it is a means-tested benefit that not only tops up your retirement income but also comes with links to a whole host of other discounts, which could soon include the TV licence. 

This benefit is a crucial safety net for the UK’s poorest pensioners but it is failing.

Credit Where it's Due campaign

Our charity Independent Age wants to ensure that the 1.3 million older people who are entitled to receive Pension Credit get it.

In June we launched our 'Credit Where It’s Due' campaign which shone a light on the fact that £3.5 billion each year isn’t reaching those who need it most. For some, this is because they find the system too complicated or intrusive. For others, it’s because they don’t even know this benefit exists.

As a result, an unacceptable number of older people are having to juggle between paying for food or heating their home, when the average weekly payment for Pension Credit could cover the cost of both.

This was the case for Pearl (81), who felt desperate after losing her beloved husband of more than 60 years.

Pearl says: “We had a lot of grief to deal with as a family – my daughter died at 51 and my son-in-law died even younger – so money had been the last thing on my mind. When my husband died three years ago, I lost his pension and his Attendance Allowance. I was panicking and thinking, ‘How on earth will I manage?’ I really didn’t know which way to turn.

“I’m not very good on the computer but I managed to put into the search engine about claiming extra money. Independent Age was the first organisation that came up so I phoned the helpline. This lovely gentleman said to me: ‘I’ll tell you exactly what you could be getting in benefits. He turned out to be right - £60 a week. I can’t tell you how relieved I was!”

Independent Age's call to action

The Government knows that Pension Credit is not reaching everyone it should but has failed to take adequate action to change this.

Independent Age wants the Government to commit to a target of at least 75% of eligible people receiving Pension Credit by the end of 2020 and at least 85% by the end of 2022. To make this a reality, we have to keep this issue high on the agenda in Parliament.

Since the campaign launch in June, we have been in national and local press and even featured in Prime Minister’s Questions. Over 100 MPs have backed the campaign, including Chris Elmore MP who led a debate on this issue in the House of Commons.

Support Independent Age's Campaign

However, with a new Prime Minister taking office, we need to keep up the pressure so that the Government remains focused on this important issue and comes up with solutions. Independent Age is asking supporters of our campaign to write to their local MP to make sure they know about this issue and support our calls for reform.

It’s easy to contact your MP through the Independent Age website and only take a couple of minutes. So please join the charity's campaign today to put more money into the pockets of the hardest pressed older people and help end pensioner poverty for good.

If you would like to support the 'Credit Where It's Due' campaign or want to know more about Pension Credit, visit the Independent Age website.

Check your entitlement to Pension Credit

You can use the Turn2us Benefits Calculator to check whether you are entitled to claim Pension Credit.

Read the Turn2us Pension Credit information

Read the Turn2us Your Situation: Older Person (60+) information

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