New figures show that nearly 40 per cent of families eligible for the pension credit failed to claim the benefit, losing around £ 2,500 a year.
According to official statistics from the DWP, up to 1.3 million families were denied the retirement benefits to which they were entitled last year.
More than £ 3bn of available pension credits have not been claimed for the third year in a row, suggesting the Department for Work and Pensions is failing to convince those eligible for the benefit to use it .
It all adds up: For the third year in a row, more than £ 3 billion in pension credit has not been claimed by eligible low-income retirees.
The pension credit is an income-linked benefit that provides top-up payments to low-income retirees.
It comes in two parts; The Guarantee Credit, which supplements your weekly income up to a guaranteed minimum level of £ 163 if you’re single, or £ 248.80 per week if you’re in a relationship, and the Savings Credit.
Savings credit is extra money on top of savings, or if your income is more than the state’s basic pension.
It is only available to people who have reached retirement age before 6 April 2016 and can give you up to an additional £ 13.40 per week if you are single, or £ 14.99 if you are in couple.
The percentage of eligible families who did not take advantage of the benefit has remained similar over the past five years, when 62 percent of families took advantage of the benefit.
The figures also showed that the use of pension credit by those under 75 was 2% higher than that of those over 75. You can start applying for a guarantee credit if you were born before December 5, 1953.
How to apply for a pension credit
Charity Age UK says claiming a pension credit only takes one phone call – you don’t even have to fill out a form
Simply call the pension credit application line on 0800 99 1234 and prepare the following:
– National insurance number
– Bank account details
– Information on your income, savings and investments
– Information about your pension (if you have one)
– Details of all housing costs (such as mortgage, interest payments, service charges)
– Partner contact details (if you have a partner)
The value of unclaimed benefits stood at £ 3.5bn, £ 400m more than it was two years ago.
A total of 36 percent of pension credits were unclaimed last year.
The report states: “Trying to explain the reasons for non-recourse is difficult, but this can be influenced by factors such as attractiveness of the service, lack of knowledge of the service or the application procedure, lack of awareness of rights, perceived stigma of receiving a benefit ”.
Caroline Abrahams, Director of Age UK Charity, said: “Whatever the reasons, we cannot just shrug our shoulders and let the lowest income seniors miss out on what is right for them. from.
“The government needs to step up its efforts to educate the public about retirement credit and explore other options for getting that money out to seniors, rather than expecting them to do all the hard work to claim it.” themselves.
“It is unfair to expect these seniors, many of whom are susceptible to poor health and with few sources of support, to find their way through the maze of benefits.”
In January of this year, Stephen Lowe of financial firm Just Group told This is Money that Guarantee Pension Credit represents the largest unclaimed sums of state benefits tracked by his company, and that those who do not claim benefits lose an average of £ 3,431 per year. .
Royal London pensions specialist Helen Morrisey said: “This is a long-standing problem that needs to be addressed by the government as soon as possible.
“This is a benefit for the poorest retirees and action needs to be taken to ensure they get the support they need.”
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