• February 28, 2024
 79% pensioner homeowners entitled to benefits are failing to claim – report

79% pensioner homeowners entitled to benefits are failing to claim – report

Eight out of 10 (79%) pensioner homeowners eligible to claim benefits are failing to claim anything at all with each household missing out on an average of £1,231 a year extra income, according to Just Group’s 14th annual State Benefits insight report.

One in 10 (9%) were claiming but receiving too little, on average missing out on an additional £476 income per year. In total, a quarter (27%) of those missing out on income were entitled to benefits worth at least £1,000 a year.

The highest amount of extra income uncovered was £143.43 a week for a pensioner couple living in Surrey who were receiving no benefits. Advisers found they were eligible for £111.30 a week Pension Credit and £32.13 a week Council Tax Reduction – adding up to a huge £7,458 a year extra income. Stephen Lowe, group director at the retirement specialist Just Group, said:

“Every year our research identifies benefits of a very significant value are not being claimed but would make a massive difference to those struggling with soaring living costs. This year the proportion who are eligible for benefits but failing to claim is at its highest since 2014, while the money they are missing out on is the second largest amount in that 10-year period.

“Nearly four in 10 households in our survey are eligible for one of the key benefits available to pensioners, but the majority are not claiming and even those who are often don’t apply for their full entitlement. Missing out on Pension Credit is particularly problematic because it is the gateway to a host of other benefits such as free NHS dental care, cold weather payments and a free TV licence for over-75s.”

The research is based on in-depth fact-finding interviews with clients seeking advice on equity release during 2023. It shows 38% were entitled to benefits. Of those eligible, nearly eight in 10 (79%) were not claiming at all and one in 10 (9%) were claiming less than they were entitled to.

The highest amount of extra income uncovered was £143.43 a week for a pensioner couple living in Surrey who were receiving no benefits. Advisers found they were eligible for £111.30 a week Pension Credit and £32.13 a week Council Tax Reduction – adding up to a huge £7,458 a year extra income. In total, a quarter (27%) of those missing out on income were entitled to benefits worth at least
£1,000 a year.

Overall, 64% of those eligible to claim were missing just one of the key pensioner benefits, 13% were missing out on two benefits and 4% on three benefits. Government estimates suggest take-up of Guarantee Pension Credit was 70% and Savings Credit 39% in 2021/22. Overall, 880,000 pensioner families entitled to receive Pension Credit did not claim, totalling about £2.1 billion or around £2,200 a year for each family on average. Lowe added:

“Our take-up figures for homeowners are a little lower than those published by the government, suggesting some people who may think owning a home rules them out of receiving State support. Research by Just Group’s sister company HUB Financial Solutions found more than a third of over 65 homeowners (36%) have never checked their entitlement to State Benefits with a further 14% unsure or unable to remember when they last checked.”

Katie Johnson, Digital Journalist, Today's Media

Digital Journalist, Today's Media Contact: katie.johnson@todaysmedia.co.uk LinkedIn