Figures show over two million UK pensioners are living in poverty with Black and Asian older people most at risk
Published on 16 June 2021 11:07 AM
AGE UK SOUTH GLOUCESTERSHIRE URGES LOCAL PEOPLE TO GET IN TOUCH AS FIGURES SHOW OVER TWO MILLION UK PENSIONERS ARE LIVING IN POVERTY WITH BLACK AND ASIAN OLDER PEOPLE MOST AT RISK
Len Goodman and Rustie Lee are backing Age UK’s call for older people to check their eligibility for Pension Credit.
The number of older people in poverty has now passed the two million mark,[i] with Black and Asian older people most at risk of struggling financially in later life, warns Age UK South Gloucestershire as it urges any older person in South Gloucestershire who feels financially hard-pressed to check their eligibility for Pension Credit.
Pension Credit is a benefit that tops up low pensioner incomes, typically taking an older person who receives it above the poverty line. Being found to be eligible for Pension Credit also acts as a gateway to some other benefits, potentially transforming an older person’s standard of living. It is also worth noting that those who receive Pension Credit also qualify (via a simple application form) for a 20% discount off their Wessex Water bill. See here for further details: www.wessexwater.co.uk/your-account/help-paying/pension-credit-discount
Since 2013/14, the number of pensioners in poverty has risen by almost a third (31 per cent) from 1.6 million. Official figures[ii] show that a third of Asian older people (33 per cent) and just under a third of Black older people (30 per cent) in the UK live below the poverty line, compared to 16 per cent of White older people. The over-85s, renters, and single, female pensioners, are also at greater risk of poverty than the older population as a whole. The total number of older people living in poverty in the UK now stands at 2.1 million.[iii]
Despite these high numbers and recent government figures showing that nearly a million older people could not afford an unexpected bill of £200,[iv] nearly a million (920,000) pensioner households are missing out on Pension Credit payments worth up to £1.6 billion every year[v] – that’s an average of £32 a week, or over £1,600 a year, per recipient.
“Over the last year, we have had over 12,000 contacts with older people, their families and their carers’. Including responding to 2,729 information and advice calls and providing 622 people with specialist benefits advice” - Age UK South Gloucestershire.
The Charity is urging all pensioners who are struggling to make ends meet to put in a claim for Pension Credit – a means-tested, tax-free benefit for pensioners that opens the door to many other potential benefits including:
- A free TV licence (if also over-75)
- Help with Council Tax
- Free NHS dental treatment and help towards the cost of glasses and travel to hospital
- A Cold Weather Payment of £25 when the temperature is 0°C or below for 7 days in a row
- Help with rent
- An extra payment within Pension Credit for carers, worth up to £37.70 a week
Age UK Ambassadors, Len Goodman and Rustie Lee, are supporting the Charity’s call for older people to find out if they are entitled to Pension Credit.
Len Goodman: “Older people are so resilient and tend to know how to make do, but it doesn’t have to be like that for those who are struggling to manage day-to-day bills.
“Pension Credit is a benefit for low-income pensioners to help cover the costs of later life. Lots of people don’t even know it exists, meaning almost a million older households are not getting the extra money they are entitled to. For those that have claimed, it can mean being able to stick the heating on for longer or having the money to buy essentials for their home to keep well and safe.
“That’s why I’m supporting Age UK’s efforts to raise more awareness about this benefit. There’s help out there and Age UK can support older people throughout the whole process – from information gathering to form filling. Please… I would urge anyone who’s watching the pennies to find out more and see if they can make a claim. Pension Credit not only gives you more money each week, it can also be a gateway to other help too.”
Rustie Lee: “It’s so important for everyone who’s feeling the pinch at the moment to see if they might be entitled to claim some extra help. It’s just shocking that so many older people can’t afford the basics such as decent, healthy food or keeping their house nice and warm.
“Pension Credit is a really important benefit that can make a big difference to older people on a budget, giving them a bit of extra cash to pay for things that most people for granted. I’d urge any older person who is struggling to make ends meet at the moment to speak to Age UK to find out if they could be eligible for Pension Credit, it could make all the difference and open the door to lots of other financial support too. There’s absolutely nothing to lose by making a claim!”
Benefits Advice service is here to help you. Each year up to £3.5bn of Pension Credit and Housing Benefit goes unclaimed by older people. Our friendly team visit clients in their homes and support them in applying for the benefits they are entitled to. Over the past year we did have to adapt our service to telephone appointments; the 622 clients who received our benefits advice, on average, now receive an additional £2,754 income per year. If you need our help, contact us today.
Any older person who is worried about money and/ or who may be entitled to claim benefits should contact us at Age UK South Gloucestershire for free information and advice: email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01454 411707.
[i] DWP (25 March 2021). Households below average income: for financial years ending 1995 to 2020. Summary Results, Table 1.6b. (figures are for relative low income after housing costs). https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-for-financial-years-ending-1995-to-2020
[ii] DWP (25 March 2021). Households below average income: for financial years ending 1995 to 2020. Data Tables, pensioners-hbai-detailed-breakdown-2019-20-tables, Table 6.5db. (figures are relative for low income after housing costs). https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-for-financial-years-ending-1995-to-2020
[iii] DWP (25 March 2021). Households below average income: for financial years ending 1995 to 2020. Summary Results, Table 1.6b. (figures are for relative low income after housing costs). https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-for-financial-years-ending-1995-to-2020
[iv] DWP (25 March 2021). Households below average income: for financial years ending 1995 to 2020. Data Tables, pensioners-hbai-detailed-breakdown-2019-20-tables, Table 6.11db_AHC. https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-for-financial-years-ending-1995-to-2020. Scaled up to UK population figures using ONS Mid-2019 Population Estimates (Mid-2019: April 2020 local authority district codes), https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/datasets/populationestimatesforukenglandandwalesscotlandandnorthernireland)
[v] DWP (29 October 2020). Income-related benefits: estimates of take-up 2018-19. https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/income-related-benefits-estimates-of-take-up--2