An MP has called on the UK Government to take action over the low Pension Credit take-up.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Thursday, March 5, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney MP Gerald Jones asked the government what it was doing to raise awareness and increase take-up of the benefit.
Pension Credit is a means-tested benefit that aims to help pensioners living in poverty.
In Mr Jones’ constituency, it is estimated that 3,220 households are missing out on a combined £5.9m each year, or £49 a week, according to figures compiled by Independent Age – a charity that aims to offer advice and support to the elderly.
In the Caerphilly constituency, the charity estimates that more than 2,400 households are missing out on nearly £6.3m each year.
Meanwhile, In Islwyn, nearly 2,000 households are predicted to be missing out on £5.1m annually.
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Across the UK, it is estimated that more than a million eligible pensioners are missing out on a combined total of £3.5 billion.
In his speech in parliament, Mr Jones said: “It is shocking and totally unacceptable that the take-up rate has now fallen to 61% since last year, and I urge the government to make a statement or bring forward a debate immediately to show what it is doing to increase awareness and take-up of Pension Credit.”
Responding to Mr Jones, leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, said: “The Government are keen that people who are entitled to claim money do so, and significant amounts of additional money have been claimed following the roll-out of universal credit.”
In June this year, people aged 75 and over will no longer be eligible for free TV licences, unless they are claiming Pension Credit.
Fore more information about Pension Credit eligibility, visit https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit/eligibility