13 June 2007
Barrett urges pensioners to claim benefits
John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, is encouraging older people across Edinburgh to claim the benefits and credits they’re entitled to after a new study found that one in three older people in the UK believe their quality of life has worsened in the last year.
The report by Help the Aged has highlighted that although over half of all pensioners are entitled to one or more means-tested benefit, the complicated and bureaucratic process is leaving over £4 billion unclaimed each year. The most recent figures suggest that over 20% of pensioners are not claiming their credits.
Commenting, John Barrett said:
“The government’s benefits system is clearly overcomplicated, and the excessive paperwork involved is putting pensioners off claiming their entitlement.
“Not only is it a struggle to understand the complicated forms, but many pensioners are still refusing to suffer the indignity of means testing and are instead simply going without they help they are entitled to.
“Organisations such as Help the Aged offer pensioners clear and impartial advice about claiming credits, and I urge my older constituents in Edinburgh to contact them for the information needed to make this complicated process a little easier.
"The Department for Work & Pensions has to hold it hands up and admit their complex means testing of pensioners has failed. It is time the Government took pensioner poverty more seriously by channelling money into a meaningful increase in the state pension. That way, all pensioners can get a fairer deal from the state in their retirement."
• 1,095 adults aged 65 and over in the United Kingdom were surveyed by GfK NOP on behalf of Help the Aged in January 2007. Surveys were conducted in home and weighted by demographics to be representative of each country. Weighting was also applied regarding disability/long term illness.
• Help the Aged has updated its key free financial leaflets, Can You Claim It? Questions on Pensions, and Claiming Disability Benefit with the support of the Abbey Charitable Trust. More information is available from www.helptheaged.org.uk
• Figures for Pension Credit take-up for UK available at www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/income_analysis/PCsummary.pdf