Four out of ten pensioners do not apply for a pension credit

Low-income pensioners continue to lose thousands of pounds in benefits because they do not claim pension credit.

According to official figures, £1.6billion in pension credit goes unclaimed each year, with almost a million pensioner households missing an average of £1,600.

Take-up of pension credit is the lowest of all means-tested benefits, with 40% of eligible people not claiming it.

Take-up of the pension credit has been around 60% since 2010 and the government’s efforts to improve it have not helped.

According to former pension minister Ros Altmann, barriers to adoption are complexity, aversion to filling out forms, reluctance to provide information and lack of knowledge of the amounts available.

Altmann said: “It is well known that retirees find it daunting to fill out forms, are often too proud to ask for help or mistakenly believe they are not eligible.

“They may not realize they could have up to £10,000 in savings, but they are still eligible for small amounts of pension credit and these can lead to them being eligible for more. many other valuable benefits, worth thousands of pounds a year.”

The pension credit supplements the income of single pensioners at £177.10 per week and £270.30 for couples.

Charity AgeUK is working to raise awareness of pension credit eligibility after its analysis of official figures revealed a worrying rise in the number of UK pensioners living in poverty.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics, 2.1 million pensioners live in poverty, up from 1.6 million a few years ago.

More than a quarter (27%) of pensioners live on less than 70% of median income after housing costs, alongside 36% of single pensioners and 31% of over-80s who are also affected.

Ethnicity is also a factor, with 40% of Black, Asian and Indian descent living on less than 70% of the median income.

The rules around pension credits changed in 2019.

Previously, pension credits were available to pensioners who reached the legal retirement age, regardless of the age of their partner.

Under the new rules, introduced in May 2019, partners of retirement age will be forced to apply for working-age benefits alongside their younger partners.

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