DWP launches pension credit campaign as concerns over level of take-up persist

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has launched a publicity campaign to increase the number of people claiming pension credit, as part of an ongoing review of the government’s wider strategy to increase take-up of pension credit .

The DWP has suggested pensioners could be missing out on a financial boost worth more than £3,300 a year by failing to claim pension credit, noting that if more than 1.4million pensioners in Britain receive a pension credit, around £1.7billion remains unclaimed.

In light of this, the campaign will seek to encourage greater participation and challenge common myths that can prevent people from claiming a pension credit, such as having savings, a pension or owning a home are not necessarily obstacles.

It will feature in internet and social media search results, before being rolled out to national and regional newspapers, alongside leaflets for distribution within local communities.

Businesses are also encouraged to get involved by spreading the word to their customers and using the DWP’s digital toolkit to encourage them to call the complaints line.

The DWP has also recently come under greater scrutiny over its strategy to improve the handling of pension credits, however, Work and Pensions Committee (WPC) Chairman Stephen Timms writing to the Minister for Pensions, Guy Opperman, to question the government’s objective in terms of care. pension credit and its strategy to achieve it.

In the letter, Timms noted that while the latest figures showed pension credit take-up had risen by 3 percentage points to 66%, this was a “very modest” increase, also suggesting that there is a question to which this represents a real increase in demand.

“According to the DWP comment, part of the reason is the exclusion from analysis of ‘mixed-age couples’, following the policy change in May 2019 requiring both partners in a couple to have reached the legal retirement age to be eligible,” he explained.

“This appears to be confirmed by figures for pension credit take-up by family type, which show that take-up is static for single women (at 65%) and has only increased by two percentage points for single men. (from 65 to 67%).

“On the other hand, there appears to be a statistically significant increase in couples’ participation, from 56 percent to 69 percent.”

Timms also noted that although DWP reported internal management information suggesting that in the 12 months to December 2021, the number of new pension credit applications was about 30% higher than the figure for the 12 months until December 2019, this has not yet been done. be reflected in the participation statistics.

“Given current increases in the cost of living, it is very concerning that the latest statistics show that 850,000 families entitled to pension credit have not claimed it and £1.7billion have not not been claimed,” he added.

Furthermore, while the government previously referred to the creation of a pension credit task force, an awareness day and the inclusion of a pension credit fact sheet in letters sent about the revaluation of state pensions, Timms expressed concern that “this will be insufficient in the present circumstances”.

In light of this, he asked if the DWP had the means to track the proportion of new pension credit applications that were successful, and if so, what proportion of new applications in the 12 months to December 2021 were successful and how does that compare to the 12 months to December 2019.

He also asked whether the DWP had set a target for the use of the pension credit and a written strategy to achieve it, and if not, whether it planned to do so.