17 Jul 2010

Pensioners Fail To Claim £5.4 Billion In Benefits

New research released by Age UK shows that pensioners in Britain are not claiming £5.4 billion in benefits even though they are in financial dire straits. It is estimated that about 1.8 million pensioner in the UK are living in poverty and many more are struggling to make ends meet.

Photo: Sir Alan, the oldest and toughest cat in Bread Street - lives a few doors down the road - he often rolls in the road in an attempt to slow or stop cars - both of which he has done!

I have sent a note to local press as I think this is an issue they could help promote. I have sent a quote but hope they look at the issue more - perhaps with CAB etc.

The reasons for poor take up are various - many are unaware of the range of benefits available or don't realise they are eligible, think the claiming process is too complicated and intrusive, or simply feel too proud to make a claim. Indeed the process is complex. 1.97 million pensioners are not receiving council tax benefits worth about £1.5 billion per year which could increase individual income of pensioners by £728 per year. 44% of elegible pensioners do not avail the council tax benefit compared to 28% of non pensioners.

Age UK has launched a campaign (yesterday) to encourage pensioners to claim the benefits they are entitled to. This is great stuff and let's hope it leads to more vulnerable people getting what they are entitled to.

Philip Booth, a Stroud District councillor and former Social Worker said: "I give a huge welcome to Age UK's campaign. Times are difficult and it is unacceptable that vital benefits are failing to reach some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. We need a proper basic pension not the current complex pension credit system that means vulnerable people slip through the net. It is also clear that advice is best given face-to-face if we are to see the take-up of benefits."

Age UK Advice can be contacted on 0800 169 65 65 for free information and advice.

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