5,800 fail to apply for Pension Credit in Newham, shock figures reveal

Thousands of east London’s poorest pensioners are living in unnecessary poverty because they’re not claiming Pension Credit, a shock report has found.

As many as 5,800 have failed to apply for the credit in Newham alone, the charity Independent Age has found.

Six-out-of-10 of the 11,600 old folk are going without the basic benefit intended to top-up the pensions of the poorest to at least £145.40 a week.

The 58 per cent who are not claiming is the highest rate going without the entitlement across east London, compared to 51 per cent in neighbouring Tower Hamlets and 38 per cent in Barking & Dagenham.

But they do not appear to be alone — around one-and-a-half million OAPs in Britain are not claiming Pension Credit, researchers have discovered.

“Rising prices and cost-of-living is a huge source of anxiety to many pensioners,” said the charity’s Victoria Richards. “Yet many don’t claim Pension Credit which really can make all the difference later in life.

“In some cases, it can be a passport for pensioners to get other benefits such as council tax and housing.”

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The benefit can almost double some weekly incomes when claimed with Attendance Allowance, the charity points out.

But it does have to be claimed — so Independent Age has now put together a free ‘Wise Guide’ to show pensioners how to apply, the first in a series of easy-read books covering issues from income and finance to getting home help and health and fitness. It can be ordered by phone on 0845-262 1863, or online at http://www.independentage.org/advice/order-your-wise-guides/.