Over two-fifths of pensioners could claim more state benefits

More than two-fifths (42 per cent) of pensioner homeowners are failing to claim state benefits that they are entitled to, according to research from Just Group.

The retirement specialist’s most recent annual State Benefits Insight report stated that these households were missing out on an average of £830 a year in extra income.

The report also noted that a further fifth (20 per cent) of pensioner homeowners did claim benefits but were not receiving the full amounts they were entitled to, missing out on an average of £702 in extra income every year.

Savings pension credit was the most frequently overlooked benefit, with just a third (33 per cent) of eligible claimants receiving the benefit and those missing out losing an average of £576 per year.

Additionally, council tax reductions were claimed by less than half (47 per cent) of those who are entitled to claim, with an average shortfall of £796 a year.

The key benefit with the highest uptake was guaranteed pension credit, with 80 per cent of those who were eligible claiming, though those who failed to claim were missing out on an average of £2,656 per year.

One of Just Group’s customers in Durham was found to be missing out on £4,854 a year by not claiming any benefits despite being eligible for a council tax reduction and guaranteed pension credit.

Just Group group communications director, Stephen Lowe, said: “Once again we have found meaningful sums that would make a massive difference to people’s lives are not being claimed.

“It reflects the government’s own figures that show billions go unclaimed and raises serious questions about whether people in most need are able to navigate the complexities of the benefits system.”

Royal London pension specialist, Helen Morrissey, commented: “These benefits have the potential to make a very real difference to the lifestyles of the poorest pensioners and yet take up has remained stubbornly low for years. Pension credit also acts as a gateway to further benefits – most notably the free TV licence which has been limited to those aged 75 on pension credit.

“The government did launch a campaign aimed at raising awareness last year, but this will have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic – it must make renewed efforts to reach those affected and prevent millions of pensioners from missing out on money they are entitled to.”

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