Morgan Vine, Head of Policy and Influencing at Independent Age said:
“Today’s Pension Credit figures show that the number of people receiving the entitlement remained broadly flat between November 2022 and February 2023. While we welcome the fact that 32,000 older people on low income started receiving Pension Credit during this three month period, we remain deeply concerned about the many thousands of people eligible for Pension Credit that continue to miss out. This group, often, on desperately low incomes, are not receiving life changing sums of money they are owed – from the £3,000 or more directly through Pension Credit, to the potential for up to £8,000 more in linked support such as Housing Benefit, help with NHS costs, and the cost of living support payments that are linked to Pension Credit.
“During the time period these statistics cover, our helpline was inundated with calls from frightened older people who were forced to make serious cut backs including not heating their homes and reducing the food they bought. This shouldn’t be happening in modern Britain. Many of the people calling us shared they have never sought help before but are now desperate to find out if they are eligible for any support whatsoever.
“Given how important Pension Credit is to people, and that thousands are still missing out, it is essential that the government publish statistics on the uptake rate this autumn so we can understand the full picture. We need to know how many eligible older people are missing out on this vital support so they can be more effectively targeted.
“With high inflation still wreaking havoc on the finances of older people living on a low income, we also continue to call on the government to implement a Pension Credit uptake strategy that’s targeted, focused and effective. Older people in need of Pension Credit do not have time to waste, they desperately need this money now. A Pension Credit strategy would build on the innovation already in place and ensure that Government activity is as effective as possible.”