77% of over-75s unlikely to check pension credit status - Just

More than three-quarters (77 per cent) of over-75s are unlikely to check their eligibility for pension credit amid TV licence rule changes, according to research from Just Group.

The retirement specialist found that pensioners were unlikely to check eligibility despite almost all of them being aware of the rule changes, with 95 per cent saying they knew that free TV licences would only be available to claimants of pension credit from 1 August onwards.

Just added that this would clearly leave many pensioners out of pocket, as they will miss out on a benefit they are eligible for, as well as having to pay £157.50 a year for a TV licence.

The survey found that those currently not claiming any state benefits aside from a state pension were the most likely to avoid checking their pension credit eligibility, with almost four-fifths (79 per cent) stating that they would not investigate.

Just group communications director, Stephen Lowe, commented: “Leaving aside the politics of the new TV licence rules, we hoped that this change might lead to an increase in Pension Credit take-up and provide much-needed help to those missing out. This research pours cold water on that idea.”

Statistics released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in February showed that two-fifths (40 per cent) of people entitled to pension credit had failed to claim the benefit, with up to £2.5bn unclaimed.

Just noted that its own research had found that 79 per cent of eligible homeowners were not claiming the benefit and were missing out on an average of £453 per year, while 15 per cent were not in receipt of guaranteed pension credit, with an average amount of £1,690.

Lowe added: “There can be a reluctance to claim from the state out of embarrassment or because they do not know how to access the additional financial support on offer but these are not small amounts of money that people are missing out on. Pension credit can substantially alter standards of living for people and help them achieve a better later life.”

Just last week, DWP parliamentary under-secretary, Baroness Stedman-Scott, said the department would work with “key stakeholders” to increase the number of eligible people claiming pension credit.

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