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Author: Age Scotland
Published on 15 September 2017 12:00 PM

Age Scotland is urging older people to claim pension credit, following new figures showing that an estimated 104,000 Scots(1) entitled to the benefit are not receiving it.

The Department of Work and Pensions revealed that only 61 per cent of people entitled to pension credit claimed it last year (2015/16). This represents a fall from 62 per cent the previous year and 63 per cent in 2013/14.

An estimated £238 million worth of pension credit was unclaimed in Scotland last year, up from £233 million last year. Additionally, people aged over 65 did not claim £80 million worth of housing benefit they were entitled to.

Keith Robson, Age Scotland’s Chief Executive of Charity Services, said: “We’re very concerned to see that pension credit take-up has fallen, despite more than 158,000 Scottish pensioners(2) living in poverty. One in five older Scots(3) is struggling to make ends meet, while a staggering £318 million is unclaimed each year.

“We hear from hundreds of older people each year who are unaware that help is available. Just this week our helpline assisted a retired couple in claiming £8000 worth of pension credit. This will make a huge difference to their quality of life.

“Sadly too many pensioners spend their retirement struggling to get by and worrying about how they will heat their house or pay their bills. Many of them are reluctant to ask for help and there can still be a perceived stigma attached to claiming benefits.

“Every older person should be able to afford a decent standard of living in retirement. We will be urging the Scottish and UK Governments to take action to increase take-up and ensure the worst off  pensioners get the help they need. We would encourage anyone who is worried about money to call our free helpline on 0800 12 44 222 for advice and support.”

NOTES FOR EDITORS

  1. Figures from Department of Work and Pensions. Scottish estimates are based on the proportion of people aged over 65 (8.455 per cent) compared to the UK as a whole.
  2. Figures from Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland and Households Below Average Income.
  3. TNS polling for Age UK, March 2017 – sample of 1,333 people aged 65+ in GB. “Struggling” is defined here as the aggregated answers “Just about getting by”, “Finding it quite difficult” and “Finding it very difficult”.

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