The Overall Retirement Benefits Picture?

This is a continuation of my blogs on welfare benefits.   ( You can see all the posts on this subject by clicking on “Welfare Benefits “ in the Tag Cloud )

I have been reading, researching and writing about welfare benefits for over a month now and I’m still not sure I’m any the wiser.   There is a mine of Government information and a plethora of reports, all endeavouring to explain one aspect or other of the benefits system.  On me, most of the effort has failed.  If anything there is too much information!

It is estimated by the charity TURN2US that the amount of unclaimed benefits could be as high as £15billion.   Obviously not all of this relates to older people, but a conservative estimate by Age UK suggests that there is over £5.5billion of unclaimed retirement benefits.

Here are some overall benefits facts that support this :-

  • Pension Credit – the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) itself suggests that 30% of pensioners failed to claim their entitlement to this, which is worth around £151 per week or £230 for a couple.
  • Council Tax Reduction – is supposed to happen automatically, but only if you claim Pension Credit in the first place.
  • Housing Benefit – which pays for some or all of the rent for people in the public and private sectors, is means tested and should trigger a “passport” to other benefits.
  • Attendance Allowance – this has a reputation of being difficult to get but is worth between £55 and £82 a week.  So you really need to get expert help if you think you qualify.
  • Carer’s Allowance – this is worth £62 a week if you look after someone who qualifies.
  • Winter Fuel Payment – between £100 and £300 annually paid automatically if you claim a state pension.

Means tested benefits take-up :-

  • The Department for Work and Pensions data for 2014/15 suggests that pension credit had only a 69% rate of take-up.
  • This means around 1.4 million people did not claim pension credit.
  • This amounts to £3.1billion unclaimed in total.
  • Or put another way, an average of £2,000 a year for an individual.

What all these figures mean to me is that there’s a heck of a lot of room for improvement.     What if we found a way of cutting through the red tape?     

In fact if we could get a 100% of take-up by pensioners, it could provide them with £5.5billion of extra income.   


FOOTNOTE – Please note, I hasten to add that I am no expert and anyone reading this should not take my observations or figures as fact.    Hopefully before I finish this series of blogs, I will have raised awareness of some of the issues in the welfare benefits system.    If you’re intending to make a claim, you should go to one of the trusted agencies like Age UK or Citizens Advice Bureau.    

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1 Response to The Overall Retirement Benefits Picture?

  1. Dear sir,
    you do your self an injustice! Rightly you have complained about the ”fog and mist” of the many benefits for the elderly, as quoted by the Gov.UK web pages [what was it some 5775 pages to date], and then your disclaimer at the foot of each blog on benefits whether it be by the Last Laugh Looney Party or your good self!.
    WELL I look back again and review your many comments on this subject, and I wish to concur reading the many pages of governmental information on benefits, when making a claim either for ones self or a loved one [family relative or friend?] the actual process of claiming is very personal to that or the individual concerned.
    For my sins I entered and as advised by your footer to each ”blog on benefits” and some earlier blogs on benefits, I heeded your advice, and simply put into google ”Benefits for the elderly” and then there was a sub box which one could highlight restricting the search for that specific subject-not benefits in general, and hey presto-Bingo, I was rewarded with the agencies such as ‘Citizen’s Advice Bureau’ and ‘Which’, and some more information, which made sense of not that I was missing out on benefits: But which benefits, and how they can be considered in each individual set of circumstances.
    AS John points out in his blogs when we become slightly older, we may misunderstand/miss-interpretate what we may claim as an entitlement, and it is again problem of politics everything is not free, somewhere along the line, or within our own life time we have had to earn what we now may wish for???
    John is just the ‘Devil’s advocate” asking us all do we understand life as we enter our dotage?? Help is available??? One just to have sincerity and trust to ask??
    Beware of the ”charlatans” as we age we tend to trust the ones we believe, and as in life, we have too swim with the sharks??? One cannot beat looking into the eyes of a personal advisor, and a visit in person to ”citizens advice bureau! It may be the first of many a step, with a copy of ‘Which’ under ones arm. Only you can decide if this is a wise move? Good luck!

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