Short-changed pensioners should claim benefits to boost income

Around three-quarters of all those reaching state pension age in the next 15 years stand to receive a notionally higher state pension under the new system, leaving many current pensioners who aren’t eligible feeling short-changed, according to Age UK.

With the new system now in place, the charity is urging all current pensioners – those who reached state pension age before the change came into effect last Wednesday (April 6) – to check if they can increase their income by claiming any money benefits they are entitled to.

Pensioners miss out on £3.7 billion in money benefits every year

The introduction of the new state pension has divided opinion, with many current pensioners feeling aggrieved that they will miss out as only those reaching state pension age on or after April 6, 2016 will qualify. Despite the evidence pointing to the new pension being less generous overall in the longer-term, figures show that the majority of 'new' pensioners will benefit initially and around 650,000 women reaching state pension age over the next decade will be over £400 better off per year.

To help those who are struggling on a low income, Age UK is urging all current pensioners to find out if they are missing out on extra cash to top up their state pension. Government figures show that every year millions of pensioners miss out on as much as £3.7 billion in money benefits, with many also forgoing benefits designed to help with the increased cost of having an illness and disability, and thousands more also struggling to afford everyday basics.

With the guarantee part of Pension Credit increasing to £155.60 from today (April 11), the charity is advising all pensioners to check their entitlements and make a claim.

The charity says that many of those missing out simply do not know that they could be entitled to extra income. Others are aware of the benefits available but feel too proud or embarrassed to put in a claim. Some have unsuccessfully tried before, or have been put off by the claiming process which they feel is too complicated or intrusive. If all those eligible for Pension Credit alone made a claim, it could boost their budget on average by over £1,700 a year – that's an extra £33 a week to spend on essentials such as decent food, clothing, transport or heating.

Any older person who is concerned about their state pension or worried about money should call Age UK Advice on freephone 0800 169 65 65, contact their local Age UK office, or click here.

You can find out what your state pension will be by calling the Future Pension Centre on 0845 3000 168 or going online here.

You can find out more about the New State Pension, benefits and Pension Credit here.

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