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A million pensioners may miss out on cost of living benefit because they don’t claim pension credits

autumn statement

“Rishi Sunak has finally woken up to the disastrous picture pensioners face at present. It was just announced that pensioner households will receive an extra one-off Pensioner Cost of Living Payment of £300 to help with their bills and living costs, while more than 8 million low-income households on means tested benefits (that includes those receiving Pension Credit) will receive a one off £650 payment.

“While this is a much needed helping hand, according to Age UK nearly a million pensioner households are entitled to but do not receive normal Pension Credits and so could miss out on the additional £650 payment. DWP figures from February 2022 show that there were 72,000 fewer recipients of normal Pension Credits against the previous year and nearly two thirds (65%) of people getting Pension Credit were women. This is in part down to the raising of the State Pension Age and the introduction of nSP in April 2016, among other factors.

“There are numerous reasons why pensioners don’t claim their credits including a lack of awareness, feeling like they would not qualify and simply feeling that they do not want to take up the benefit because of a negative attitude to asking for help or feeling like a burden to the state. However, the message is clear if you don’t claim the credit, you won’t get the help and the government need to look at how they can publicise it effectively to qualifying pensioners. Even Sunak in his speech recognised that people would still fall through the cracks and not benefit from this policy even if eligible.

“There is at least a little light at the end of the tunnel for pensioners who heavily rely on the state pension, as once the triple lock is reinstated next year pensioner income will be uprated to match the unique inflationary environment, we are living in. However, until then, pensioners are suffering one of the worst disparities in their income versus the inflation rate ever. As the cold weather draws in after the summer and the huge rises in energy prices really start to bite, times will no doubt be incredibly tough for everyone, and this one off payment is laudable move from the government.”

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