DWP to work with ‘key stakeholders’ to push pension credit

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will work with “key stakeholders” to increase the number of eligible people claiming pension credit, according to DWP parliamentary under-secretary, Baroness Stedman-Scott.

She was responding to a parliamentary question from Baroness Lister of Burtersett, who asked “what proportion of eligible pensioners are claiming pension credit” as well as “what steps they [the government] are taking to improve its take-up”.

Stedman-Scott stated that the latest estimated proportion of eligible pensioners who are claiming pension credit was 61 per cent.

In response to a separate question from Baroness Jolly, she added that the government estimated that 1.3 million women were in receipt of pension credit despite 2.2 million women being eligible.

Stedman-Scott said: “The government wants to make sure that all eligible pensioners can claim pension credit. That is why in February this year we launched a targeted 12-week nationwide campaign to raise awareness of pension credit.”

She added that the campaign aimed “to dispel some of the misconceptions that people might have about pension credit eligibility”, adding that it needed to be clear that “even a small award of pension credit can provide access to a range of other benefits” such as help with rent, council tax reduction schemes and heating costs.

Stedman-Scott concluded: “Our online pension credit toolkit has been updated to help older people understand how they could claim pension credit. In May this year we also launched an online claim service for pension credit to supplement the existing telephone and postal claim services.

“The new online service provides an additional claim facility and enables pensioners to apply for pension credit at a time that suits them.”

The number of households with over-75s claiming pension credit fell by 2.63 per cent in 2019, following a trend seen since 2015, while statistics from the DWP released in February showed that up to £2.5bn has been left unclaimed by the 40 per cent of those entitled to the benefit who have failed to do so.

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