Despite ££ billions going unclaimed
Nearly one in three over-65s in Wales are struggling financially, compared to one in four older people in the UK according to new research, yet an estimated £3.5 billion in Pension Credit and Housing Benefit alone goes unclaimed each year.
With the latest government figures showing that pensioner poverty is on the rise – with 112,500 pensioners in Wales now living below the poverty line and median incomes for both single and pensioner couples in Wales at the bottom of regional comparisons, Age Cymru is urging older people to get in touch to find out if they’re entitled to some extra financial support.
UK government figures show that one in 10 people aged 65+ would not be able to pay an unexpected expense of £200, to replace a broken washing machine for example. Yet millions of older people who are struggling to survive on a low income could be entitled to benefits such as Pension Credit which has slightly increased this month and could provide a much-needed boost to their weekly income if claimed. In fact, if people who are eligible for Pension Credit make a claim, it could increase their income by an average of £42 a week – that’s £2,184 a year.
Age Cymru publishes a range of free guides to help people navigate the benefits system and has trained advisers on hand all year round to offer support.
The Charity has just updated its More money in your pocket guide to reflect benefit changes which came into effect earlier this month ; the guide is specifically designed to help older people claim the benefits to which they are entitled, including Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, and help towards paying council tax. In addition many older disabled people could receive extra support by claiming the non-means-tested Attendance Allowance.
The Charity also publishes mini-guides covering Pension Credit, Attendance Allowance , Carers Allowance and Council Tax – all available free of charge by calling Age Cymru Advice on 08000 223 444.
Ian Thomas, Chief Executive of Age Cymru, said: “Managing on a low, fixed income is really tough, and many people face a daily struggle just to afford the basics. That’s why is it so important that every older person who is entitled to claim benefits does so. Every day Age Cymru helps people to claim what they are entitled to, and every day we hear how much of a difference the money makes, how surprised people are by how straightforward the process is with the help of an adviser, and how much less they have to worry about everyday bills.
“It is shameful that despite millions of older people struggling financially, around £3.5 billion in money benefits remains unclaimed every year when this extra income could make a huge difference to their lives. We would urge anyone who is worried about their finances, or an older family member or friend, to get in touch with us for free, impartial information and advice.
To order a free copy of any of Age Cymru’s guides, or for further information and advice on any issue, please call Age Cymru Advice free of charge on 08000 223 444, contact your local Age Cymru