Failure of ‘bogged down’ pensions system

| June 29, 2009 | 0 Comments
Failure of 'bogged down' pensions system

Pensioners are missing out on up to £5.4 billion per year in benefits they are entitled to, Age Concern said this week.

The over-50s charity said thousands of pensioners are refusing to claim benefits because they are too proud to do so.

Many pensioners would feel like they were taking handouts if they accepted benefits they hadn’t earned, Age Concern said.

Michelle Mitchell, Age Concern director, said: “Despite the Government campaign to encourage older people to claim, benefit take-up levels have remained stubbornly static in the past year.

“Even in the grip of a recession, eligible pensioners are still not claiming an average of £31 a week of Pension Credit alone.

“If the unclaimed £5.4bn were put directly into the pockets of the people who need it, we would pull about half a million pensioners out of poverty at a stroke.

“These figures show just how badly the means-tested benefits system, which was supposed to lift older people out of poverty, is bogged down.”

The government must work at ‘full speed’ to make benefit payments automatic, the charity said, so that pride is no longer an issue for pensioners who need help.

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