750,000 older people worried about affording Christmas presents for loved ones this year
Published on 20 December 2016 03:00 PM
Three-quarters of a million (755,645) over 60s are concerned about how they'll afford Christmas presents for friends and family this year, according to new figures from Age UK.
And even more, a staggering 1.6 million pensioners are living in poverty, worrying about how to stretch their budget to pay for the basics. Yet the latest figures show that every year millions of pensioners miss out on as much as £3.4 billion in money benefits, with many also forgoing benefits designed to help with the increased cost of having an illness and disability.
This Christmas, Age UK is urging anyone who is concerned about their finances to call its national Advice line for expert information and advice about the financial benefits they may be eligible for. Age UK Advice is open every day of the year including Christmas Day on Freephone 0800 169 6565 from 8am - 7pm. Our team of advisers are able to provide advice on a range of topics ranging from benefits to care homes.
According to the Charity, many older people who are missing out on benefits are unaware they could be entitled to extra income. Some know about the benefits available but feel too proud or embarrassed to put in a claim, or have been put off by the process which they feel is too complicated or intrusive. Yet if all those eligible for Pension Credit alone made a claim, it could boost their budget by an average of £42 a week- extra cash which could make a real difference when buying essentials such as decent food, clothing, transport or heating as well as presents for loved ones.
That's why, as part of its extensive national information and advice service, Age UK is urging people to call its helpline for a free copy of More money in your pocket - its annually updated guide to money benefits for older people.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: "This time of year can be particularly hard for older people on a low income, with many struggling to afford the basics let alone Christmas presents for their loved ones.
"That's why it is so important that every older person who is entitled to claim benefits does so. Every day at Age UK we help people to claim what they are entitled to, and every day we hear how much of a difference the money makes, how straightforward many people find the process with the help of an adviser, and how much less they have to worry about everyday bills. We would urge any older person who is worried about money to contact us in case they are one of the millions who are entitled to extra help."
Last year, Age UK helped over five million people with information and advice on a broad range of issues such as claiming benefits, housing options, paying for care and support, staying healthy, and making the most of the internet. Age UK's range of free, impartial information guides are also free to download and available to view online. As well as publishing guides and factsheets, the Charity offers essential support on a wide range of issues via its website and free advice line. People looking for advice can call Age UK 365 days a year from 8am - 7pm on 0800 169 6565, or visit www.ageuk.org.uk
Notes to editors
We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI and our local Age UK partners in England (together the Age UK Family). We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.
Age UK believes that everyone should have the opportunity to make the most of later life, whatever their circumstances. We provide free information, advice and support to over six million people; commercial products and services to over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and well-being, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle.
Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group ("we"). Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity's trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity).