View the article online at http://citywire.co.uk/money/article/a660355
Pensioners miss out on benefits of £650 a year
Are pensioners doing the government a favour by failing to claim all the benefits to which they are entitled? It certainly looks that way according to new figures from the Department of Work and Pensions.
Pensioners are failing to claim all their state benefits and despite the ageing population the number of pension credit claimants has fallen.
Nearly a quarter, 23%, of pensioners are failing to claim what they are entitled to from the government and missing out on an average of £650 of income a year. The highest amount of unclaimed benefit totals £3,631 a year, according to figures by Just Retirement.
Of those that are claiming benefits, a third were not receiving their full entitlement, losing £213 a year on average.
New figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) also shows that the number of people claiming pension credit has fallen by 130,000 to 2.54 million as of May 2013, despite the UK becoming an ageing population.
Stephen Lowe, group external affairs and customer insight director at Just Retirement, said the extra money that pensioners are missing out on could make a huge difference to their lifestyles.
‘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 different to their quality of lives,’ he said.
He added that more people were missing out on extra money each year.
‘The trend is that more people are missing out each year. The only positive point is that the amounts being missed have come down, but that may reflect a less generous benefits regime,’ said Lowe.
Pensioners are entitled to a range of benefits, some of which are regularly claimed and others which are not.
Guaranteed pension credit: given to people who are 65 and are receiving a weekly income of below £142.70 for an individual or £217.90 for a couple.
Savings pension credit: given to people over 65 who have a total weekly income from pensions, savings and investments of between £111.80 and £189.05 a week for an individual or between £178.35 and £277.23 a week for a couple.
The DWP estimates that one third of people fail to claim pension credit, including savings credit, losing income of between £2 billion and £2.8 billion a year.
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