MEPs back call to address ‘low’ use of pension credit

Independent Age has written to Pensions Minister Guy Opperman asking that more be done to address the ‘low’ uptake of pension credit ‘as a matter of urgency’.

MPs from across the political spectrum expressed their support for the cross-party letter, including Work and Pensions Committee Chairman Stephen Timms, Conservative MP for West Worcestershire Harriett Baldwin, Labor MP for Rotherham Sarah Champion and the SNP MP for East Kilbride. , Strathaven and Lesmahagow, Lisa Cameron.

In the letter, Independent Age warned that pensioner poverty was rising, with 18% of pensioners living in poverty and 10% living in extreme poverty.

He added that the rise in pensioner poverty was accelerating at a faster rate among women, with single women over the age of 65 being the largest group missing out on pension credit and having the poverty rate the highest (27%).

Independent Age pointed to research it commissioned which found around three in 10 pensioners could lift themselves out of poverty by maximizing the use of pension credit.

However, up to a million people later in life are eligible for pension credit but do not receive it, with independent age saying it has the worst use of all income-related benefits and has no exceeded 64% for almost a decade. .

The letter welcomed recent efforts by the Department for Work and Pensions to boost take-up, but warned it was ‘only part of what is needed’.

“The scale and urgency of this challenge demands comprehensive and innovative action,” the letter states.

“We call on the government to work alongside key stakeholders to urgently create a plan to increase the level of pension credit take-up.

“This plan should outline a range of activities, including sustained and impactful awareness campaigns, new research on who is missing and why, better targeted communication to people who are, or could be, eligible and exploring options around automatic registration.

“By working to ensure that everyone who qualifies for the pension credit receives it, the government has the opportunity to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of older people, while saving money on public spending in the long term. .”