Commenting on the Scottish Parliament’s Social Security Committee report on benefit take-up, released today, Morgan Vine, Head of Policy and Influencing at older people’s charity Independent Age said:             

“The Scottish Social Security Committee’s report released today has highlighted the glaring problems that exist in the UK Government’s handling of benefit take-up – including Pension Credit.

“The claim rate of Pension Credit has remained stagnant at 60% for nearly a decade. Independent Age’s Credit Where It’s Due campaign has been calling for the UK Government to take urgent action to lift this unacceptably low rate and keep pensioners out of poverty. We were shocked to discover that the UK Government has no written strategy to address this longstanding problem, despite two million pensioners currently living in poverty.

“We are pleased to see this report acknowledge the need for the UK Government to undertake research into the barriers to claiming, in addition to developing an ongoing strategy to maximise reserved benefit take-up.

“The 12-week Pension Credit awareness-raising campaign recently announced by the DWP is welcome, but we agree with the committee that initiatives to improve take-up need to be continuous. Awareness campaigns are a step in the right direction, but as the committee stated, different barriers affect different populations, so more targeted intervention is needed.”

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