Far too many older people are living in poverty – the latest figures put the number at 1.8 million. That’s an incredible number of people struggling to ‘make do’ on less than 60% of average (median) income after housing costs.
But despite the scale of poverty in later life, a huge amount of benefits, £5.5 billion, goes unclaimed each year. About 30% of older people who are eligible for Pension Credit do not take up their entitlement.
So, you may ask, if so many older people living in poverty are in such desperate need, why don’t they claim their benefits?
Many older people have had negative experiences when claiming benefits, finding the whole system insurmountable. For example, the application form for Pension Credit is 43 pages long. Older people are more likely than any other age group to miss out on their benefits because they are hesitant to claim, don’t think they are eligible, or believe the claiming process is over-complicated and intrusive. There is a real need to get rid of the stigma that some people associate with claiming benefits.
Age UK’s More Money in Your Pocket campaign aims to overcome these barriers, offering independent information and advice that is delivered by our trusted local Age UK partners. Our Information and Advice workers support older people them to claim what they are entitled to.
Today marks the start of the More Money in Your Pocket road-show, sponsored by Legal & General (L&G). After several months of planning, our newly branded Age UK bus is on the road visiting the eight areas in England that the Department of Work and Pensions have identified as having the highest numbers of older people who are eligible for Pension Credit but have not claimed.
Local Age UK Information & Advice staff will be on hand to offer free and impartial benefits advice, whilst Age UK and L&G volunteers will signpost our materials and provide free goodie bags, tea and cake.
The Moneybus will be visiting the following areas:
- 17th September 2012 – Cheshire
- 18th September 2012 – Leeds
- 19th September 2012 – East Riding
- 26th September 2012 – Bradford
- 27th September 2012 – Country Durham
- 28th September 2012 – Northumberland
- 2nd October 2012 – Wiltshire
- 3rd October 2012 – Bristol
If you’re in the area pop down, chat to one of our friendly advisors and have a cup of tea.
Last year, Age UK helped 500,000 people put £120million back in their pockets through free benefits information and advice. This year, we will continue to break down the barriers that prevent people from claiming, such as those older people not realising that they are eligible for some additional income.
For more information, visit our website here