In response to DWP's new Pension Credit caseload statistics for June to August 2023, Head of Policy and Influencing at Independent Age, Morgan Vine said:

“Today’s Pension Credit figures show that the number of people who started receiving the entitlement between June and August 2023 was substantially lower than during the previous quarter. This is incredibly disappointing as this vital benefit can top up somebody’s income by an average of over £3,500 a year. This step in the wrong direction is especially surprising given the UK Government ran Pension Credit awareness campaigns in June. We’re concerned these campaigns aren’t effectively reaching the right people.

“With prices still extremely high and stretching budgets across the country, benefits such as Pension Credit are an essential lifeline. We still regularly hear from frightened and anxious older people that are being forced to make dangerous cutbacks, including going to bed in hats and coats and reducing the amount of food they eat. This shouldn’t be happening in the sixth richest country in the world. 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 financial support.

“These new statistics come amid a troubling longer-term picture. The latest Pension Credit uptake figures, covering the period of 2021/22, show that only 63% of those eligible received the money they are entitled to. With the cost-of-living crisis causing misery for millions of older people on low incomes across the UK, the awareness of Pension Credit and the number receiving it should be at an all-time high, instead the uptake stats show that in 2021/22, up to 880,000 eligible people missed out.

“We urge the UK Government to introduce a Pension Credit uptake strategy that outlines effective, long-term plans to target those eligible for support and get money directly into the pockets of those that desperately need it.”

Notes to editors

  • In addition to boosting income, Pension Credit has the potential to provide up to £8000 in linked support, opening the door to Housing Benefit, Council Tax reduction and money towards new glasses or dental treatment. 
  • The number of new Pension Credit recipients fell by 12,322 between June and August 2023 when compared to the previous quarter.

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