Rising numbers of older people in debt - survey
Published on 23 May 2012 12:30 AM
As Britain enters a double-dip recession, research conducted by TNS on behalf of Age UK suggests that the number of older people owing money has risen sharply over the last year, and nearly one fifth (19%) of those in debt are concerned about the amount of money they owe.
One in five people aged 60 and over said they owed money on a mortgage, credit card or loan, with levels being significantly higher among the younger end of the age group. Over one in ten (11%) of those interviewed reported having had to borrow money to pay their rent or mortgage.
Further questions showed that over a third of those interviewed did not feel that the income from their pensions and savings was enough to cover a financially stable future. A similar survey undertaken last year by Age UK showed one in ten of the pensioners had loans or debts.
Age UK's More Money in Your Pocket campaign
The survey by TNS on behalf of Age UK of more than 1000 people aged 60 and over highlights the importance of Age UK's ‘More Money in Your Pocket' campaign - launched this month- encouraging people in later life to claim the benefits they are entitled to and maximise their retirement income.
The survey showed that just under three-quarters (72%) of those who claim benefits say that receiving the extra money had made a difference to their lives.
1.8 million pensioners are living in poverty
There are still 1.8 million pensioners who live in poverty and as much as £5.5 billion in benefits goes unclaimed each year with up to 1.6 million older people who are eligible for Pension Credit not taking up their entitlement.
Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General at Age UK commented: 'It is extremely worrying that such a high number of older people report having debts and have had to borrow money just to keep a roof over their heads. Most older people live on a relatively small incomes so making debt repayments can be a worry.
'Far too many older people are living in poverty and the Government must continue to work proactively on ways of getting money to older people who are in desperate need.
'Many older people have had negative experiences when claiming benefits, finding the whole system insurmountable. Older people are more likely than any other age group to miss out on their benefits because they are hesitant to claim, don't think they are eligible, or believe the claiming process is over-complicated and intrusive.
'There is a real need to get rid of the stigma that some people associate with claiming benefits.'
Let's Talk Money - get help from Age UK
‘More Money in Your Pocket' is part of Age UK's ‘Let's Talk Money campaign' which aims to help people get the most out is running throughout April and May. It's focused on helping people maximise their income through claiming the benefits they are entitled to and making the most of Age UK's products and services.
Michelle Mitchell commented: 'We would urge any older person who is struggling or worried about money to contact us. Age UK can offer a free benefit check and help with filling in forms so call our free advice line on 0800 169 6565 or speak to your local Age UK.'