Pensioners missing out on entitlements and credits
Huge swathes of the country’s most vulnerable pensioners are missing out on hundreds – and often thousands of pounds worth of state benefits according to new research.
The group, Just Retirement looked into awareness and utilisation of pension credits to see if pensioners were using the financial aid open to them and found that, disturbingly, in many cases they are not. This report comes in the wake of the Office for National Statistics announcement that the number of pension credit claimants fell by 133,000 in May 2012 compared to May 2011.
More than half of the estimated four million people entitled to pension credits are either not claiming them, or are not receiving the full amount. In the three years Just Retirement have conducted similar research, the number of pensioners not claiming their dues has grown.
The average shortfall between entitlement and claim is approximately £655 a year, but it can go as far as the most eye watering case as one pensioner actually left £3,631 a year untapped.
The organisation found that 23 per cent of eligible pensioners were failing to claim any benefit they were entitled to, while 33 per cent of eligible pensioners were claiming some benefits, but not all they are entitled to.
Stephen Lowe from Just Retirement said: 'Many pensioners are struggling to make ends meet due to insufficient pension income and depressed savings returns.
'At the same time they are missing out by failing to claim the benefits they should be receiving, often to the tune of hundreds of pounds each year that could make a real difference to their quality of lives.'
Mr Lowe added: 'Part of the problem is what people perceive as the constant tinkering with the benefits rules that make it hard to people to keep up with the complexities.
'Already this year, plans for a new flat-rate state pension have been announced and over the next two years we are seeing the introduction of the new universal credit and various other changes. If you are not professionally involved it is hard to keep up.'