Thousands in Shropshire and Mid Wales missing out on £28 million in pension credit
More than 11,000 pensioners across Shropshire and Mid Wales are missing out on benefits worth £28 million by not claiming pension credit.
The shocking figures have been revealed by charity Independent Age, which has called for action over the low take-up of the benefit in the UK.
Pension credit is an income-related benefit paid in addition to pensions, which is designed to lift elderly people out of poverty.
By 2020 anyone aged over 75 will need to claim it if they want to get a free television licence, under new rules by the BBC.
Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show that in Shropshire 10,401 people are entitled to pension credit but do not claim it, missing out on benefits worth an estimated £24.5m.
In Montgomeryshire 1,503 pensioners are not claiming £3.9m in benefits.
According to the charity almost two million older people aged 65 and over are living in poverty in the UK, and annually more than 1.3m pensioners are missing out on £3.5 billion in pension credit.
'An important safety net'
Independent Age describes pension credit as “an important safety net” for elderly people in poverty, and says it is a “scandal” that it is failing.
It has called on ministers to commit to a target of at least 75 per cent of eligible people receiving the benefit by the end of 2020, at least 85 per cent by the end of 2022 and 100 per cent by 2025.
To reach these targets, the Government must put in place an ambitious action plan stating improvements that must be made to pension credit, the charity said.
Unclaimed pension credit was raised in Parliament this week by Jack Dromey MP, who asked what measures were being put in place address the issue.
Pensions Minister Guy Opperman said that applications for the benefit were “up significantly”, but said he was frustrated that they were not higher.
He added: “We urge all pensioners to apply for pension credit through the usual manner, whether through trusted third parties, job centres, local authorities or the like.”