Pensioners should check out their entitlements, Lynn News letters
It's well known that we have an ageing population. Eighteen per cent of people in the UK are over 65. In Norfolk that increases to over 24 per cent and in some local areas it's over 30 per cent. According to Age UK, pensioner poverty reduced from 28 per cent to 13 per cent from 1994/95 to 2011/12.
Since the Conservative Government came to power, changes to the welfare system have resulted in that figure beginning to rise again. One in six pensioners are now living in poverty and the Government's latest Universal Credit legislation is expected to make this worse.
Currently, if you are a low income couple where one is over retirement age and the other is not, a joint claim for Pension Credit and Pension Age Housing Benefit can be submitted. However, from May 15 mixed age couples will have to claim Universal Credit and it is anticipated that they may find themselves many thousands of pounds worse off each year than those continuing to receive the old benefit.
Contrary to the propaganda that tells us we are being robbed blind by benefit claimants, independent research carried out by Entitledto estimates that approximately £20 billion goes unclaimed every year, £3.5 billion of which, according to Age UK, is due to older people.
So, whether you are a couple or a single person over pension age, and are struggling to make ends meet then why not see if you are entitled to anything? Age UK has a free helpline (0800 169 6565) or you can get to their website at www.ageuk.org.uk/benefits where there is a benefit calculator.
It's not charity; it's an entitlement and for those who are reaching the latter part of their lives it is only right that they don't have to make a choice, as one in six currently do, between eating and heating.