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Nearly seven in 10 pensioner homeowners eligible for State Benefits are missing out, Just Group’s annual customer insight report reveals

autumn statement

• Nearly half (49%) of homeowners eligible for benefits are failing to claim any benefit
• £1,197 a year in benefit being lost on average by homeowners failing to claim
• Two in 10 (21%) homeowners are underclaiming and missing out on £1,220 extra income
• Just Group calls for benefits information to be at heart of retirement guidance

Cash-strapped pensioner homeowners are missing out on thousands of pounds of extra income by failing to claim their full entitlement to key means-tested State Benefits.

Just Group’s twelfth annual State Benefits insight report found that of pensioner homeowners entitled to receive benefits, nearly half (49%) were failing to claim with each household missing out on an average of £1,197 a year extra income. Two in 10 (21%) who were claiming were receiving too little, on average missing out on £1,220 a year income.

“Every year we find meaningful income that would make a real difference to people’s lives is not being claimed,” said Stephen Lowe, group communications director at retirement specialist Just Group.

“The proportion eligible for a benefit is trending lower but more of those people are failing to claim. It raises serious questions about why people in most need of support are not receiving what is rightly theirs.”

The research from Just Group, is based on in-depth fact-finding interviews with clients seeking advice on equity release during 2021. It shows nearly one in four (24%) were entitled to benefits. Of those, nearly half (49%) were not claiming anything and two in 10 (21%) were claiming too little:

2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
Entitled to claim at least one of the key benefits

 

24% 33% 40% 42% 41%
Of those who are entitled, failing to claim any benefit…

 

49% 42% 46% 49% 42%
…average annual loss from failing to claim

 

£1,197 £1,137 £1,423 £1,139 £545
Of those who are claiming but not claiming full benefit

 

21% 20% 18% 20% 19%
…average annual loss from underclaiming

 

£1,220 702 £2,102 £855 £2,032
Overall average annual value of missing benefits

 

£1,204 £999 £1,614 £1,058 £1,013

“The first step carried out by specialist equity release advisers from our sister company HUB Financial Solutions is to check if clients are eligible for more income from the State,” said Stephen Lowe.

“Claiming their full entitlement can give them extra income that will often reduce the amount they need to release or remove the need to release any funds altogether at that time.”

The highest amount of extra income lost was £9,090 a year to a couple in Kent who were receiving some disability and mobility benefits but whom the advisers discovered should also be claiming Guarantee Pension Credit, Savings Pension Credit and Council Tax Reduction. In total, about one-third of those missing income (30%) were entitled to benefits worth at least £1,000 a year.

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