John, 66, has just retired as a London cab driver. Having recently separated from his wife, John was struggling on the Basic State Pension.
‘You don’t know which way to turn. I was not aware of any extra benefit, I thought “I own a house so I won’t get anything”. It was the State Pension and that was it.
‘The worry was phenomenal and I was going short. But, then I was sitting on the bus talking to another passenger and he suggested I visit Age UK Redbridge, Barking and Havering for advice.
'They did a benefits check for me and advised me of my entitlement to Pension Credit and help with Council Tax. As a result I am nearly £60 a week better off.
‘The relief that I felt when I came out of the Age UK was indescribable. A lot of people have a fear of officialdom but you must check it out. You measure the wealth of a country in how they treat older people, education and public health.
'The extra money has made a vast difference. I have bought a decent pair of shoes and I can go to the social club once a week. Otherwise it would just be a life of isolation.’
How the government could help more people like John
Think what a difference it would have made to John if he had seen a poster or heard an advert on the radio encouraging an older person who was finding it hard to get by to have a benefit check, signposting them to further help.
Age UK wants to see a world where no older person is trapped in the day-to-date grind of living in poverty. Support our End Pensioner Poverty campaign.