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Pensioners missing out on unclaimed benefits

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by Kay Mitchell
”Pensioners

Shocking figures have revealed that 22,300 pensioners died of the cold last winter. The main reason is that rocketing energy bills mean the elderly cannot afford to keep warm. Yet they’re missing out on unclaimed benefits worth £4.5 billion a year.

Research by the London School of Economics for British Gas and Help the Aged showed that the £4.5 billion is sitting in a Government pot in unclaimed benefits for the elderly.

Of the 1,000 of over-60′s that were questioned, 50% are eligible for additional benefits that could provide enough enough financial support to cover all their heating costs.

The survey, commissioned by the British Gas Help the Aged Partnership’s winter deaths campaign, established that providing advice face-to-face is the most cost effective way to get pensioners their entitlements.

20% of those given advice in person by the partnership were found to be entitled to £50 per week more than those who sought advice elsewhere on the phone.

Anna Pearson of the British Gas/Help the Aged Partnership said their latest research shows that over 1 million older people cut back on food to cover their heating costs. Individual pensioners are possibly eligible for up to £50,000.

Older people are advised to call Age Concern’s Information Line on 0800 00 9966.

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News posted: November 30, 2007

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