In reaction to the most recent Pension Credit uptake figures from the DWP, Joanna Elson CBE, Chief Executive at Independent Age said:

“The Pension Credit figures released today show that the number of people newly receiving the entitlement was around 27,000 between September and November 2023. While the money could be life changing for those who started receiving it the number of new recipients is lower than this time last year.  

“The bigger picture is one of consistently low uptake, with the last figures available - for 2021/22 - showing that only 63% of eligible older people received the entitlement during this period. This could mean a staggering 880,000 people missed out. This is unacceptable.

“The fact many are still missing out is especially concerning because during this period, high household costs continued to stretch budgets to breaking point across the country. And those who missed out on their Pension Credit entitlement will also have missed out on much needed cost of living payments.

“Urgent action to increase uptake of Pension Credit must be taken.  Costs are still painfully high, and our helpline continues to receive regular calls from anxious older people looking for support. Callers are making drastic cutbacks just to get by, from limiting the food they eat to washing less to save on water. On average, Pension Credit is worth £3,500 a year and opens doors to other support. It has never been more needed after years of relentless price rises.

“There are around 2 million older people living in poverty and entitlements such as Pension Credit are vital tools that can support those living in financial hardship, and in many cases lift people out of poverty. We welcome new approaches the DWP has trialled on a small-scale and hope to see more efforts like this without delay. The UK Government must introduce a Pension Credit uptake strategy that outlines how it plans to target those that are eligible for this transformative support.”

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