29th November 2016
As we approach the end of the year our priorities at Suffolk Age UK will be focusing on how we can make the most of the funding available to us in the coming year to ensure we can continue to deliver our core services to older people in Suffolk. Ultimately we can only deliver what we can afford.
While it may seem somewhat crude to focus on money, it is a resource we cannot do without, both as organisations, and as individuals.Last week the Money Advice Service launched their first Financial Capability (FinCap) week to raise awareness of the importance of addressing people's ability to manage their money well.
A key challenge for older people is to manage financial resources throughout their entire retirement, from the day to day making ends meet, to managing expenditure for unpredictable life events. A significant problem for many older people is that they are simply unaware of what money they are entitled to, and how their circumstances affect the benefits they can claim.
Suffolk Age UK has an outstanding record for helping older people gain their full benefits entitlement, giving access to vital additional income. Last year alone our Benefits Advice Team secured a total benefits gain of over £7.6 million for older people in Suffolk. This is a staggering amount of money, as well as helping people live a more comfortable life; it is money that goes back into our local economy. This income can be life changing and enable people who face real challenges at home to afford to make the changes, or get the additional support needed to maintain their independence.
A benefits check can make such a difference, and our countywide benefits advice telephone helpline means the service is widely accessible. Last year nearly two out of five (38%) pensioners in Great Britain who are entitled to Pension Credit did not claim it. It’s so important for people to claim this if they are entitled to, as it can often be a passport to other benefits which can make a huge difference.
With legislation around pensions and benefits being so complex, it’s no wonder many people don’t claim.I strongly believe that having enough money empowers people to retain choice and control over their lives – both of which help people better manage the challenges of ageing.With winter nearly upon us, this time of year inevitably brings a range of additional expenses, which for many older people can be very worrying.
For anyone who is concerned about benefits, I would encourage them to call our service, for some confidential benefits advice.
Helen J Taylor, Chief Executive, Suffolk Age UK
Call the Suffolk Age UK Benefits Advice Helpline: 01449 674222