More than 2,123 pensioner households in Easington are continuing to miss out on £3,681,000 of Pension Credit every year according to new Government figures – with the take-up rate of the benefit now stagnant for more than a decade.
Newly released figures show that between April 2017 and March 2018, the Government retained £2.5 billion in unclaimed Pension Credit across Great Britain. This is why the national older people’s charity, Independent Age, is urging the Government to take decisive action to remedy this scandal as part of its Credit Where It’s Due campaign.
Grahame Morris MP is supporting the campaign and is calling on the Government to commit to creating a comprehensive action plan for Pension Credit, with firm take-up targets. The campaign also advocates for the Government to commission up-to-date research to gain a better understanding of why this money is not getting to the two in five pensioner households missing out.
To coincide with the new national Pension Credit data, Independent Age has released the results of a survey, with over 1,600 responses, it undertook into the barriers and perceptions preventing people from receiving the benefit. The results revealed that just 26% of respondents who received Pension Credit had heard about the benefit from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
Grahame Morris MP said:
“Far too many older people in Easington are not receiving the Pension Credit they’re entitled to, and I’m pleased to be backing Independent Age’s Credit Where It’s Due campaign.
“Pension Credit is meant to be a safety net for our least well-off older people, but right now there are pensioners having to choose between heating and eating.
“These new statistics on Pension Credit take-up show that far more needs to be done to ensure every older person entitled to this benefit receives it.
“The government must commit to improving this situation and set out the steps it will take to ensure that Pension Credit reaches the poorest pensioners.”
Morgan Vine, Head of Policy and Influencing at Independent Age, said:
“Older people in Easington continue to miss out on £3,681,000 of Pension Credit every year, because the Government has failed to take action to improve take-up. The take-up rate has stayed the same for more than 10 years, stopping people from living their later lives with dignity and security.
“In the last five years, we have seen pensioner poverty increase to around two million older people in the UK – 16% of all pensioners. The DWP recently confirmed during an inquiry session in the Scottish Parliament that if every older person received all the benefits they were entitled to, including Pension Credit, pensioner poverty would be virtually eradicated.
“We’re delighted that Grahame Morris MP is supporting Independent Age’s Credit Where It’s Due campaign. We are calling on the Government to take decisive, immediate action to find out why people are not receiving Pension Credit and to implement an action plan to improve the situation.”