A local breakdown of unclaimed Pension Credit highlights where more than 589,000 pensioners are missing out on a free TV license, according to data analysed by national poverty charity, Turn2us.
The findings show that a number of retired adults are missing out on payments, potentially worth hundreds of pounds each week, as well as the free TV license.
Since 1st August, the BBC introduced a new concessionary TV licence scheme for people aged 75 and over, if they are in receipt of Pension Credit. However, it is estimated that only 61% of people actually claim their entitlement to Pension Credit, 53,568 in Yorkshire and Humberside, meaning that hundreds of thousands of pensioners are currently missing out and will lose their free TV license as a result.
As of March 2019, there were 4.6 million free TV licences in the UK, accounting for 17.6% of all TV licences. If everyone claims their Pension Credit, then around 1.5 million households with a pensioner over the age of 75 would have a free TV license moving forward as well as a potentially significant weekly payment.
Turn2us has worked out how many pensioners in each local authority are not claiming their Pension Credit – with Leeds alone having 6,769 households missing out.
Anna Stevenson, Welfare Benefit Expert, at Turn2us said: “Pension Credit is a lifeline for older people stuck on low incomes in retirement, and now it is the only route to getting a free TV license. So it is now more important than ever, to claim it.
“The extra income, and so called ‘passport-benefits’ that Pension Credit unlocks, can go a long way to helping many older people keep their head above water and avoid being pulled into poverty.
“We urge everyone of pension age to use the Turn2us Benefits Calculator and find out if you are entitled to Pension Credit then make that claim.
Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, Guy Opperman said:
“Currently, 1.5 million older people across Great Britain receive extra financial help through Pension Credit. But there are still a significant number of older people who might be missing out.
“We’re keen to get the message out there that everyone should claim the benefits they’re entitled to and I would encourage anyone who thinks they might be eligible for Pension Credit to check.
“It only takes a few minutes for people to check that they are getting all they’re entitled to. Visit gov.uk/pension-credit or call 0800 99 1234.”
How to claim Pension Credit:
● Use the Turn2us Benefits Calculator to find out if you are entitled to Pension Credit
● Contact the Pensions Credit team by telephone
(0800 99 1234), textphone (0800 169 0133) or online:
● Collate the following information:
– National Insurance number
– Weekly income
– Details of savings and investment
– Information on housing costs
● Your claim for Pension Credit can them be backdated up to three months