Pensions

Pensioners in Inverclyde could be missing out on over £11 million worth of benefits

It is estimated that nearly 1,300 local OAPs are not claiming pension credit, finds study

Pensioners in Inverclyde could be missing out on over £11 million worth of benefits.

It is estimated that nearly 1,300 local OAPs are not claiming pension credit, according to a study conducted by the office of local MP Ronnie Cowan.

The weekly payment is worth £167 for single people or £255 for couples.

Some 1,274 Inverclyde residents are thought to be potentially missing out, which would amount to just over £11m of unclaimed cash based on the rate for individual claimants only.

Pension credits have been thrust into the spotlight following the BBC’s decision to axe free TV licences for over-75s, except for those in receipt of the benefit. It led to huge numbers of OAPs saying they were unaware the pension top-up was available.

According to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the take-up rate is only 60 per cent across the country.

Experts predict an upsurge in new claimants could cost the UK Government, which passed the financial burden of the free over-75s TV licences onto the BBC, up to £1.6 billion.

Critics say ministers would have been cheaper funding the continuation of the scheme instead.

MP Mr Cowan said, it’s shameful that pensioners in Inverclyde, who don’t currently claim pension credits although entitled to them, will lose out on a free TV licence. The UK Government must reverse the decision of the BBC and ensure no pensioners in Inverclyde lose their free TV licence.

He said that the blame for the cut lies squarely at the door of the UK Government, which has hammered the living standards of older people with cuts to pensions and benefits.

He encouraged pensioners in Inverclyde to contact the pension credit claim line on freephone 0800 99 1234 if they think they are eligible for said benefit. He said that his SNP Westminster colleagues and he will continue to pressure the UK Government on this issue and ensure changes are forthcoming.

The study by Mr Cowan’s office is based on official figures from the House of Commons Library and the DWP.

It is estimated that 3,184 people in Inverclyde receive pension credits with 1,740 of those aged over 75 and exempt from paying for a TV licence.

Based on the DWP claimant rate, 40 per cent are not receiving the benefit which equates to around 1,274.

The BBC discontinued free TV licences for over-75s saying it was too expensive.

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