One-in-five Scots pensioners struggling financially

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​Over-65s not claiming what they are due, research shows 

25th April 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Over 200,000 over-65s in Scotland are struggling financially, according to new research for Age Scotland.

The charity said despite one in five pensioners struggling, an estimated £292 million in Pension Credit and Housing Benefit is going unclaimed each year.

With 158,000 pensioners now living below the poverty line the organisation is urging older people to get in touch to find out if they’re entitled to extra financial support.

The UK government’s latest figures show that one in 10 people aged 65+ would not be able to pay an unexpected expense of £200, to replace a broken washing machine for example.

Yet hundreds of thousands of older people who are struggling to survive on a low income could be entitled to benefits such as Pension Credit, which has slightly increased this month and could provide a much-needed boost to their weekly income if claimed.

If those who are eligible for Pension Credit make a claim, it could increase their income by an average of £42 a week – or £2,184 a year. 

Keith Robson, chief executive at Age Scotland, said: “Managing on a low, fixed income is really tough, and many people face a daily struggle just to afford the basics. That’s why is it so important that every older person who is entitled to claim benefits does so.

“Every day Age UK helps people to claim what they are entitled to, and every day we hear how much of a difference the money makes, how surprised people are by how straightforward the process is with the help of an adviser, and how much less they have to worry about everyday bills.” 

Age Scotland publishes a range of free guides to help people navigate the benefits system and has trained advisers on hand all year round to offer advice.

The Charity has just updated its Benefits Maze guide to reflect benefit changes which came into effect earlier this month; the guide is specifically designed to help older people claim the benefits to which they are entitled, including Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, and help towards paying council tax. 

Robson added: “It is shameful that despite millions of older people struggling financially, more than £290 million in cash benefits remains unclaimed every year when this extra income could make a huge difference to their lives.

“We would urge anyone who is worried about their finances, or an older family member or friend, to get in touch with us for free, impartial information and advice.”

Age Scotland’s helpline is free of charge on 0800 12 44 222