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New report on unclaimed Pension Credit

  • 17/05/2016
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Independent Age finds thousands of older people being pushed into poverty

older man on chair

A new report by the charity Independent Age has found that nearly 1 million pensioners are living in poverty. In addition, an estimated 750,000 individuals over the age of 75 are failing to claim the Pension Credit they are entitled to, with an estimated 950,000 pensioners in this older age bracket living in poverty.

The report calls on ministers to do more to make older pensioners aware they can top their pensions with other support. The report goes on to make a number of other recommendations designed to help those over 75, including:

  • Putting pressure on the government and other key agencies to re-energise their efforts to promote the take-up of Pension Credit and other benefits to those from older groups most at risk of living in poverty – in particular single older people, older women and older renters
  • Asking the government to introduce a ‘triple lock’ on Pension Credit to guarantee that recipients of the former 'State Pension' do not suffer a relative decline in their state income
  • Requesting that the government should ensure lower income pensioners continue to receive vital universal benefits like the Winter Fuel Payment and the free bus pass
  • A guarantee that proposed reforms to Attendance Allowance will not introduce means testing and will not result in reduced incomes for older people.

Benefits Awareness

Last week, Turn2us launched its Benefits Awareness campaign which aims to improve the number of people claiming benefits who qualify for them as well as providing practical help for those seeking help.

Research carried out by Turn2us as part of the campaign found that of those aged 65 and over, over two-thirds (68%) said they had been deterred from checking or claiming potential benefits entitlements because they did not think they would be eligible. As a result, nearly four-fifths (79%) have not checked in the last year what welfare benefits they could be entitled to. 

Furthermore, nearly three-quarters (73%) of those aged over 65 who don’t currently claim would not consider checking their benefits entitlements if their income dropped and only 2% would turn to a charity for help. Yet almost a third (31%) would resort to cutting back on gas, electricity and other essentials and nearly a fifth (18%) would cut back on food.

Turn2us comments

Simon Hopkins, Chief Executive of Turn2us, commented, “This report highlights just how important it is that those struggling financially are aware of what support is available. Our own research, released last week as part of our Benefits Awareness Campaign, revealed that this is an issue that affects all age groups, however we can see that amongst older people the impact can be more severe.

"Astonishingly £2.8bn in Pension Credit goes unclaimed every year and these figures go to show just how important it is that this support gets to those who need it. We absolutely agree with the call to all agencies - government, charities and others - that can help improve access and awareness to redouble their efforts to get the help that exists to those who need it most.

"The level of unclaimed benefits every year shows that there is still much to be done”.

Turn2us help

You can use our online tools and resources to find out what you might be able to claim or apply for.

If you are an older person or are worried about someone you know, the “older person” section of the Turn2us website discusses the help that may be available through benefits and grants. This includes information on Pension Credit, Personal Independence Payment (PIP), winter fuel payments and help with housing costs.

If you are caring for someone with an illness or disability, the ‘Carers’ section of the Turn2us website has information about ways you might be able to get help if you are struggling financially. This includes information on Carer’s Allowance and Carer's Credit.

You can also use the free Turn2us Benefits Calculator to check your benefits entitlements. Even if you have checked before, it is worth checking again, especially if there has been a change in your circumstances.

You can also check if you are eligible for a charitable grant or other types of support by using the Turn2us Grants Search and if you are worried about your situation and would like further advice, you can use the Turn2us Find an Adviser tool to locate face-to-face advice in your local area. 

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