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Poorest pensioners missing out on Pension Credit, says charity

Posted onPosted on 6th Mar
Poorest pensioners missing out on Pension Credit, says charity

Nearly 82,000 pensioner households in the East Midlands are being forced to choose between heating and eating, owing to the Government’s failure to ensure Pension Credit gets into the pockets of those who need it, says older people’s charity Independent Age.

DWP figures for 2017/18 released last week show that the up-take of Pension Credit was just 61%, meaning that nearly two in five pensioner households entitled to Pension Credit did not receive it. Across the country, 1.15 million pensioner households missed out on Pension Credit, meaning £2.5 billion has been held on to by the Government.

Independent Age’s Credit Where It’s Due campaign is calling on the Government to take immediate action to address the Pension Credit scandal.

Pension Credit is an entitlement designed to keep pensioners out of poverty by topping up pensions to a minimum level of £167 per week for a single person, and £255 for a couple.

During a recent inquiry in the Scottish Parliament, the DWP confirmed that if all older people received the benefits they were entitled to, including Pension Credit, pensioner poverty would be reduced to almost zero.

Deborah Alsina MBE, Chief Executive of Independent Age, said: “Pension Credit was introduced to provide vital financial help to older people who are most in need, yet 1.15 million pensioner households, including 82,000in the East Midlands, are missing out on an average of £2028 per year. Single women are particularly affected, making up 74% of single people who are eligible to claim but haven’t done so.

“The DWP have not conducted new research – on who is not receiving this benefit, where they live, and why they are not claiming – for a decade. These new statistics clearly demonstrate that up-to-date research is needed to gain a better understanding of why this money is not getting to the people entitled to it.”

Ms Alsina noted that the DWP recently announced a 12-week awareness raising initiative around Pension Credit.

“This is a welcome initiative, but will not go far enough to tackle the issues at the heart of this problem.

“The DWP must set targets to improve up-take and deliver a comprehensive action plan to increase the number of people receiving the money they need.”

Independent Age is calling on the public to join its Credit Where It’s Due campaign which presses the government to put the unclaimed £2.5 billion into the pockets of pensioners most in need. More information can be found at