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Living on a low income in later life is very hard work. Every penny has to be watched, shopping lists have to be kept to and money has to be saved for bills. There is no room for luxuries.
While the number of pensioners living in poverty has fallen over the last decade or so, there are still 1.6 million pensioners living in poverty.
The numbers of people living on low income has fallen substantially since the mid-1990s but progress has stalled and numbers have been unchanged in recent years.
Given these levels of poverty, it is of great concern that many older people are missing out on entitlements. The Government estimates that in 2014-15, £3.5 billion of low income benefits (Pension Credit and Housing Benefit) went unclaimed by older people.
This is likely to be due to a combination of reasons including: lack of knowledge about the complicated systems, an assumption they will not be entitled, negative attitudes to claiming, or because people are put off by the processes.
It's important to look at the people behind the statistics. Age UK’s report, Living on a low income in later life (2012), provides an in-depth exploration of what it's like to live on a low income.
By 2020, Age UK wants to see pensioner poverty halved and everyone actually receiving any support that is due on the basis of their income.
State and private pension systems need to ensure current and future pensioners are able to avoid poverty in later life. In the meantime, benefit take-up must be increased through: on-going publicity, changes to administration and looking at ways of placing less onus on the individual to navigate a complicated system of benefits.
Our End pensioner poverty campaign aims to raise awareness of the problem of poverty for older people in the UK and calls on local and national Government to take action. Download the 2014 campaign report.
Age UK helps to improve people’s income and quality of life through our free information and advice. Read more about how we provide advice.
Age UK's Evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee Inquiry on intergenerational fairness, February 2016 (PDF 335KB)
Age UK response to the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry on Hunger and Food Poverty (PDF 208KB)
This page was last updated:
11 July 2016