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Vital that elderly claim benefits - charity

Vital that elderly claim benefits - charity
15th October 2008

Steps should be taken to ensure that older people obtain the benefits to which they are entitled, a leading charity has said.

More than £5 billion of benefit payments is unclaimed each year, according to Louise Ward-Bergeman, incomes policy officer at Help the Aged.

The charity's spokesperson made her comments as a response to research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies which suggested that increasing rates of inflation are disproportionately affecting pensioners.

"Pensioners living on low fixed incomes with little hope of pulling themselves out of financial difficulty are even more likely to feel the pinch," commented Ms Ward-Bergeman.

She suggested that automatic benefit payments could have the effect of lifting "a huge number of older people out of poverty".

Meanwhile, a report conducted by IFS for the charity Age Concern has found that inflation for the oldest and poorest pensioners has reached nine per cent, compared to 5.4 per cent for non-pensioner households.

The report argued that official inflation figures do not provide the complete picture faced by many households - with pensioners in particular spending a higher than average proportion of their income on food and fuel bills.

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