Independent Age has revealed that 1,300,000 (4 in 10) people entitled to Pension Credit are not receiving it. Pension Credit is an income-related benefit designed to lift pensioners out of poverty. Each year £3.5 billion worth of the credit goes unclaimed, over £6,000,000 of it here in Dagenham and Rainham. This is having a devastating impact on the most vulnerable in our communities, leaving almost 2 million nationwide aged 65 and older living in poverty today.
Jon Cruddas MP has been vocal in condemning the recent plans to scrap the free over 75's TV licence, writing directly to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, questioning why the government "backed out of its 2017 commitment to protect this provision until 2022", with free TV licenses only being available for those claiming for Pension Credit.
The figures released by Independent Age show that this credit is widely unclaimed and the plans to scrap free TV licences for the over 75's will only serve to push older people further into poverty.
Independent Age is calling on the government to ensure that everyone entitled to pension credit receives it and has set a target of 75% of eligible people receiving pension credit by the end of 2020, at least 95% by the end of 2022, and 100% by 2025. They also outline that the application process for pension credit must be simplified and must be developed in partnership with older people.
Jon commented: "the sheer amount of unclaimed pension credit tells me that there are a lot of vulnerable people across Dagenham and Rainham not getting the support they are entitled to. My worry is that with the added cost of a TV licence many not claiming will be pushed into poverty."
At a time where cuts to benefits such as the TV licence concession are impacting those most vulnerable, it is becoming more and more important that those in need and eligible for pension credit are claiming it.
Jon added: "I'm urging people of pension age across Dagenham and Rainham to find out if they are entitled to pension credit today. I will also be joining Independent Age in their call to simplify the application process and develop a more effective system alongside elderly people."
Find out if you or a relative is entitled to Pension Credit:
- Pension Claim line
- Telephone: 0800 99 1234
- Textphone: 0800 169 0133
- NGT text relay (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 99 1234
- Monday to Friday, 8am to 7:30pm