'High levels of pensioner poverty are a serious cause for concern', says Age NI

Source : Age NI
Published on 30 November 2011 12:30 PM

Responding to the publication of the Households Below Average Income Report, Anne O’Reilly, Chief Executive of Age NI said: ‘The figures released today show that there are 7,000 more older people living in poverty when compared with last year’s report. Such high and increasing levels of pensioner poverty are a serious cause for concern.

‘We welcome the current benefit uptake campaign being run by the Social Security Agency. Age NI believes that persistent issues in relation to benefit uptake are one of the key underlying causes of the poverty that older people experience in Northern Ireland. It is estimated that somewhere between £1.2 million and £2.3 million of Pension Credit goes unclaimed every week in Northern Ireland.’*

Ms O’Reilly added, ‘We know that Minister McCausland is awaiting the evaluation of the recent Automatic Payment trial which has just being undertaken in Great Britain. However we believe that this trial should still be brought forward in Northern Ireland with a focus on single older women who have tended to be the group at highest risk of poverty. This difference in approach from the GB pilot we believe would yield different results, and bring much needed money into the pockets of older people in Northern Ireland and the local economy.

‘If you are concerned that you or an older relative or friend may not be claiming the right benefits, contact the Age NI Advice Service on 0808 808 7575 to speak to an advisor in confidence or visit www.ageni.org for more information.’

*A2B Benefit Take-Up Initiative Mid-Term Evaluation Report. 2009. PEER Consulting & Economic Research and Evaluation

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