From Ros Altmann:economist and pensions,
    investment and retirement policy expert

  • pensionsandsavings.com

    A chance to end pensioner poverty this Bank Holiday

    A chance to end pensioner poverty this Bank Holiday

    This Bank Holiday weekend, if you’re visiting elderly relatives or neighbours, could be a golden opportunity to stop pensioner poverty.

    Furlough payments supported workers with their living costs during lockdown, but over one million isolated pensioners have not had money they’re entitled to. 

    £1.8billion Pension Credit is going unclaimed by UK pensioners – this money is rightfully theirs, so do tell them about it or help them apply.

    Up to £9,000 a year Pension Credit for single pensioners PLUS perhaps another £12,000 for their heating, housing, care, medical and council tax too! 

    Now’s the time to help them get what’s rightfully theirs, ending elderly poverty. 

    Brilliant chance to help over one million elderly neighbours, friends or loved ones out of poverty this Bank Holiday weekend: Does your granny, grandad, mum, dad, auntie, uncle, friend or neighbour struggle to make ends meet? Are they one of over a million pensioners missing out on thousands of pounds a year in extra money for basic necessities like heating, rent, mortgage, medical and council tax bills? The money is rightfully theirs but many don’t even ask for it. So, if you visit after lockdown, you have a chance to help them apply.

    £1.8billion Pension Credit goes unclaimed, even though it’s waiting for them: While working age people rightly received Government furlough money to help with their living costs during the pandemic, the plight of our elderly citizens, isolated from family and support networks has worsened. £1.8billion Pension Credit goes unclaimed each year, perhaps because pensioners find form-filling off-putting, are too proud to apply for help, or wrongly believe they are not eligible.  Pension Credit take-up is the worst of all income-related benefits, with four in ten of those eligible not claiming, leaving them in poverty.

    Pension Credit guarantees single pensioners at least £9,000 PLUS perhaps another £12,000 year as it passports to extra help for housing, heating and other bills too: Pension Credit itself tops up single pensioners’ incomes to at least £173.75 a week and to £265.30 for couples. Any pensioners with up to £10,000 in savings could still be eligible, BUT not claiming just a couple of pounds a week in Pension Credit itself means missing out on thousands of pounds more to pay their bills for housing, council tax, heating, health, carers and even TV licences for over 75s.  This is estimated below as an example:


    Estimated possible additional benefits for Pension Credit claimants

    Could be £12,000 a year (most would get less, but amounts can still be substantial)

    Housing benefit – Rent/Mortgage/service charges*        £5,000

    Council tax**                                                                                     £1,700

    Carers allowance addition                                                          £2,000

    Severe Disability Addition                                                          £3,500

    Dental treatment/glasses vouchers                                            £300

    Free TV licence if over 75                                                                £159

    Warm homes discount                                                                    £140

    Cold weather payments                                                                     £50   

    Possible Total                                                                                 £12,849

    * Precise amount will vary, depends on actual housing costs

    ** Amount will vary across regions but this is suggested average


     Give the Pension Credit hotline a call – you can help someone claim Pension Credit by phone 0800 99 1234, or by post, or online: A friend or family member can call on behalf of the person if they cannot do this themselves or can help them apply by post or online. This link tells you more https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit/how-to-claim 

    You can call 0800 99 1234 claim line. Or to apply by post you can click here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pension-credit-claim-form–2

    Government efforts have not made an impact, but let’s try to make a difference directly:  A 12-week DWP campaign last year tried to promote Pension Credit take-up with leaflets in GP surgeries and post offices, Unfortunately, this coincided with Covid lockdowns. Updates to the Pension Credit toolkit and adding an online claims system to existing post and phone application processes also had little effect as pensioners, isolated from friends or family, had nobody to help them. This is a chance to help them directly, so they enjoy a better future.

    Lockdown legacy could end pensioner poverty with wide campaign to boost take-up: It would be great to see national and local radio, television, newspapers, and energy companies encouraging everyone to help the poorest pensioners claim their money as they come out of isolation. No more struggling to choose between heating or eating. When we start seeing older people again, the lockdown legacy could be to end pensioner poverty.


    NOTES :

    • How to apply for Pension Credit

    This link tells you more:  https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit/how-to-claim          

    Call Pension Credit telephone claim line to request a form   0800 99 1234  –  A friend or family member can call on behalf of the person if they cannot use the phone or

    Applying by post – help them print out and fill in the Pension Credit claim form and send it to: The Pension Service 8, Post Handling Site B,  Wolverhampton WV99 1AN


    • Charities also have further useful information such as can be found here:

    Age UK: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/benefits-entitlements/pension-credit/

    Citizens Advice Bureau:  https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/help-if-on-a-low-income/pension-credit/before-you-claim-pension-credit/how-to-claim-pension-credit/


    • Recent research by Loughborough University’s Centre for Research in Social Policy on behalf of charity Independent Age, reports £1.8billion a year of Pension Credit goes unclaimed and that tackling pensioner poverty will meaningfully improve the health and wellbeing of older citizens.

    2 thoughts on “A chance to end pensioner poverty this Bank Holiday

    1. While they continue to calculste savings generate 10.4% Pension Credit is not paid to millions of prudent pensioners its a total disgrace ..,savers are shafted by every single system

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