Age Scotland urges older people to claim entitlements
Today, during Financial Capability Week, Age Scotland has urged Scotland’s older people to check that they are receiving benefits to which they are entitled. New figures released by the Charity today show that over the past six months callers to the Age Scotland helpline found they were entitled to nearly £200,000 of means-tested benefits thanks to checks by advisers.
The call comes as it is estimated Scottish pensioners are losing out on hundreds of millions of pounds each year by not claiming entitlements such as Pension Credit and Council Tax Reduction.1 The Financial Capability Strategy for Scotland report published by the Money Advice Service in January highlighted that 54% of the retired population had not checked within the last three years whether there were any benefits they could be claiming.2
Keith Robson, Age Scotland Director of Charity Services said:
“Too many older people in Scotland are struggling to get by, and yet still too many are not getting benefit payments to which they are entitled. That is why we are encouraging older people to contact our helpline to check whether they are missing out on payments. One recent caller to our helpline found she was eligible for more than £7000 a year in benefits.
“Every year we ensure older people claim hundreds of thousands of pounds in benefit payments they would otherwise not have received. People missing out on Pension Credit will miss out on their cold weather payments and entitlements such as health costs and funeral payments too.“
It is vital more is done to ensure older people are helped to claim their benefit entitlements. We are pleased the Scottish Government have consulted extensively over how the new Scottish benefits will be administered as it is clear there is a long way to go to have a system that works properly for older people.”
1. Around 1/3 of older people entitled to Pension Credit don’t claim it , around 160,000 in Scotland losing out on an average entitlement of £33 weekly. Up to 2.2 million UK wide (so around 220,000 in Scotland) are missing out on help with council tax (on average worth £728 annually). (How Can We End Pensioner Poverty? Age UK)
2. Financial Capability Survey (Money Advice Service, 2015)
3. Financial Capability Week takes place between 14 - 20 November this year and raises awareness of the importance of financial capability, what it means and the organisations involved in making a change. Age Scotland produces free information leaflets about benefits and our advisers can carry out benefit checks over the phone through our helpline number 0800 12 44 222.