Welsh charity helped older people claim more than £6.5 million in benefits last year
Published on 15 May 2019 12:27 PM
Age Cymru launches most recent version of its popular guide More Money In Your Pocket.
Age Cymru helped older people in Wales claim more than £6.5m in benefits last year; additional income that could have a massive impact on the quality of life for those individuals who came forward seeking help.
However, this is just the tip of the iceberg as it’s estimated that more than £3.5 billion of state benefits available to older people in the UK goes unclaimed each year. In Wales this would equate to approximately £175 million of unclaimed benefits; a significant amount of money that could help bring about positive changes to thousands of older people in Wales.
Additionally, a recent study by the National Assembly for Wales found that more than 120,000 older people in Wales are living in poverty. (i)
To help combat such levels of poverty amongst older people, Age Cymru has updated More Money In Your Pocket for 2019/2020; a bi-lingual guide to help older people and their carers claim benefit entitlements in later life.
The guide covers a wide range of benefits including state pensions, council tax, and heating costs. There’s also advice on claiming specific entitlements such as Attendance Allowance, Pension Credit and Carers’ Allowance.
Gavin Thomas, who manages the charity’s information and advice services across Wales says: “Poverty can have a devastating effect on an older person’s quality of life forcing many to choose between eating and heating. It can also keep an older person trapped in their homes leading to loneliness and isolation and, in many cases, poor mental and physical health.”
“Some people miss out on benefits because they mistakenly believe they don’t qualify or are put off by the claims process.
“However, older people might be surprised to learn what help is available to them. I would urge any older person in Wales to claim all their benefit entitlements and to use our guide as a useful tool to start the process.”
More Money In Your Pocket is available free of charge from Age Cymru and local partners throughout Wales. You may call the Advice Line free on 08000 223 444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to order a copy. The charity’s expert advisers can also carry out a full benefits check to find out what you might be entitled to claim.
The following case study is based on a real life example of an older couple who contacted a local Age Cymru partner for support during 2018.
Jack is 82 and lives with his wife Gwen who is 73. Jack has suffered six heart attacks and has several other debilitating diseases. As a result he has limited mobility and little stamina so rarely leaves his home.
An Age Cymru support worker met the couple and undertook a full benefits check. It found that his care needs had increased and he was relying more upon his wife. The support worker therefore helped the couple to apply for Carer’s Allowance, Pension Credit, and a reduction in Council Tax.
Following the applications, the couple were awarded the higher rate of Carer’s Allowance at £85.60 per week with a backdated amount of £1080.30. Pension Credit was awarded at £119.00 a week with a backdated amount of £3,880.00. Their Council Tax payments were reduced from £155 to £25 a month with a backdated payment of £627.16.
As a result, their life has changed for the better. They can now afford to pay for food and heating and can also pay for transport if they need to go somewhere and therefore no longer feel trapped in their home.
(i) National Assembly for Wales, Senedd Research, Poverty in Wales: are we getting the full picture, 16 March 2019