Although I have worked at Age UK on benefit issues for many years, it still shocks me that while 1.6 million pensioners live in poverty, almost £3 billion of benefits aimed at older people on low incomes goes unclaimed in a single year. The latest annual Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) ‘take-up’ figures show that over a million pensioner households are missing out on Pension Credit – around 2 in 5 (39%) of those who are entitled to receive it.
The figures also show that around 1 in 7 of those who should be claiming Housing Benefit to help pay their rent are missing out.
Thinking about it, though, perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised, as I also know how complicated benefits can seem, and there are many things that put people off claiming. They may not be aware that benefits such as Pension Credit are available, may think they wouldn’t qualify, may be put off by the process of applying, or feel reluctant to ask for help.