Up to 3,600 pensioners may be living in unnecessary poverty due to failing to claim a benefit they are entitled to, a charity has estimated.
Independent Age said research has shown up to 38 per cent of pensioners in West Norfolk are failing to claim Pension Credit, a benefit that is intended to top-up the pensions of the poorest to at least £145.40 a week.
In North Norfolk up to 2,800 pensioners could be affected and in South Norfolk the figure is estimated to be up to 2,200.
The charity has published a set of free guides to help pensioners discover the help on offer.
Victoria Richards, head of advice and support at Independent Age, said: “With rising prices a huge source of anxiety to many pensioners, Pension Credit really can make all the difference to those in later life.
“In some cases, it can also passport pensioners to other benefits such as council tax and housing benefit. And when claimed with Attendance Allowance, it can almost double some people’s incomes. But it does have to be claimed – and our new Wise Guide shows you how.”
Elizabeth Nockolds, West Norfolk Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We encourage people to check which benefits they may be entitled to and to apply for them.
“We have a Welfare Benefit Team who can provide advice over the phone or even do home visits if necessary.”
Full Council Tax Support will continue to be available to pensioners in West Norfolk under current proposals.
The Wise Guide covers issues ranging from income and finance to getting help at home, health and fitness and information for carers. Other Wise Guide books cover remaining independent at home (Wise Guide 2) and staying healthy, happy and connected (Wise Guide 3).
They can be ordered online at http://www.independentage.org/advice/order-your-wise-guides/ and over the phone on 0845 262 1863.
West Norfolk Council’s Welfare Benefit Team can be contacted on 0800 7312253.