Billions of pounds in unclaimed Pension Credit and other benefits

Billions of pounds in unclaimed Pension Credit and other benefits

The take-up of Pension Credit and other benefits has flat-lined at around 62% to 68% of people entitled to claim. There is an estimated £5.5 billion in benefits left uclaimed by older people.

Written by Trevor Lloyd-Jones on 21 February 2012


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The latest national statistics on income-related benefits were released this week by the Department for Work and Pensions showing no change in take-up for most types of benefits compared to the previous year.

Take-up of Pension Credit in 2009-10 was between 62% and 68% by caseload and between 73% and 80% by expenditure. There was no conclusive evidence of a change in caseload take-up between 2008-09 and 2009-10.

In 2009-10 there were 2.62 million pensioners claiming £7.64 billion of Pension Credit. The number of pensioners that were estimated to be entitled but not claiming Pension Credit was between 1.21 million and 1.58 million.

The total amount of Pension Credit unclaimed was between £1.94 billion and £2.80 billion.

Michelle Mitchell, charity director General of Age UK said: "The latest figures show that there is a staggering amount of £5.5 billion worth of benefits going unclaimed by older people each year. This is the same level as last year and so it is very disappointing that there has been no progress in older people not claiming the benefits they are owed.

"There are still 1.8 million people in later life living in poverty and claiming pension credit can make a huge difference to someone's income and quality of life."

Mitchell said the Government needs to start an awareness programme and move more towards a system where the DWP pay entitlements rather than an individual having to work their way through the benefits maze.

 Help through the benefits maze

Compared to Pension Credit, the take-up rate for other state benefits other than Job-Seekers Allowance is higher but with still billions of pounds being left unclaimed.

Take-up of Income Support and Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related) (IS/ESA (IR)) in 2009-10 was in the range 77% to 89% by caseload and 82% to 92% by expenditure. There was no evidence of a change in overall caseload take-up between 2008-09 and 2009-10.

In 2009-10 there were 2.09 million recipients claiming £9.08 billion of IS/ESA (IR). The number of people that were entitled to but not claiming IS/ESA (IR) was between 260,000 and 620,000. The total amount of IS/ESA (IR) unclaimed was between £0.75 billion and £2.04 billion.

Take-up of Housing Benefit (including Local Housing Allowance) in 2009-10 was in the range 78% to 84% by caseload and 84% to 90% by expenditure. There was no evidence of a change in overall caseload take-up between 2008-09 and 2009-10.

In 2009-10 there were 4.07 million recipients claiming £16.60 billion of Housing Benefit. The number of people that were entitled to but not claiming Housing Benefit was between 0.75 million and 1.14 million.

The total amount of Housing Benefit unclaimed was between £1.85 billion and £3.10 billion.

Take-up of Council Tax Benefit in 2009-10 was between 62% to 69% by caseload and 64% to 71% by expenditure. There was no evidence of a change in take-up rates between 2008-09 and 2009-10.

In 2009-10 there were 5.19 million recipients claiming £4.23 billion of Council Tax Benefit. The number of people estimated to be entitled yet not claiming Council Tax Benefit in 2009-10 was between 2.34 million and 3.20 million.

The total amount of Council Tax Benefit unclaimed was between £1.7 billion to £2.42 billion.

Take-up of Jobseeker's Allowance (Income-based) in 2009-10 was between 60% and 67% by caseload and between 61% and 70% by expenditure. There was evidence of an increase in overall caseload take-up of at least 1% between 2008-09 and 2009-10.

In 2009-10 there were 910,000 recipients claiming £3.01 billion of Jobseeker's Allowance (Income-Based). The number of people that were entitled to but not claiming Jobseeker's Allowance (Income-Based) was between 440,000 and 610,000.

The total amount of Jobseeker's Allowance (Income-Based) unclaimed was between £1.28 billion and £1.95 billion.

£12 billion of unclaimed benefits

In total, up to £12.3 billion of income-related benefits was left unclaimed in 2009-10. This consists of up to £2.80 billion of Pension Credit, £2.04 billion Income Support and Employment and Support Allowance, £3.10 billion in Housing Benefit, £2.42 billion of Council Tax Benefit and £1.95 billion of Jobseeker's Allowance.

Any older person who is struggling or worried about money should contact the Age UK free advice line on 0800 169 6565 or speak to their local Age UK office.

For registered users MoneyVista allows you to analyse all your accounts, pensions and other assets in one place and see what they would produce in retirement. You can set your budgets and goals for the year ahead. For related information you can access the MoneyVista guide State benefits for older people.

You can also click on 'Build a plan' to start experimenting with your own financial plan.


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