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Making ends meet

Asian woman 984x383.jpgWe have made great progress in tackling pensioner poverty over the last few decades but progress has stalled. We mustn’t forget the millions of poorer pensioners hidden in the statistics.

2.1 million older people are still living in poverty which means they have to make difficult choices every day about how to spend their limited money. That might mean deciding between switching the heating on or buying less food.

Nearly a million pensioner households are entitled to, but not receiving, Pension Credit and 200,000 households are missing out on help with rent through Housing Benefit. In a single year £2.2 billion of these two benefits goes unclaimed.

That’s why we’re calling on the Government to do more to help pensioners claim the benefits they are entitled to.

Read our report on pensioner poverty.

Key statistics

  • There are 2.1 million pensioners living in poverty and a further million living just above the poverty line.
  • The State Pension is the largest single source of income for the majority of pensioners, but average State Pension payments are only around £8,000 a year.
  • Older people from Black and Asian communities are around twice as likely to be living in poverty as white pensioners.
  • 38% of private tenants and 36% of social rented sector tenants live in poverty, compared to 14% of older people who own their home outright.

I don't expect to be 'rewarded' for working - it is something we were always brought up to do but I did imagine I would have enough money to live on, which the current pension certainly isn't.


I am 76 years old and disabled, my wife is 70 and also disabled. We worked hard all our lives to have a good last few years but to no avail. I just got my new council tax demand, that’s gone up. The energy suppliers are just as bad - how are we supposed to meet all these hefty increases?


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Last updated: Sep 17 2021

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