Joan* loves her soaps on TV. She enjoys a juicy storyline and since she’s been shielding during the pandemic, she feels as though the characters have become her friends and family. So Joan was dismayed to find out that the free TV licence scheme for over 75s was coming to an end. Something else she’d have to find the money for. It wasn’t until her daughter helped her to contact her local Citizens Advice to see how she might maximise her income, that she discovered she’s entitled to claim Pension Credit – because of her low income – and in doing so, will continue to receive a free TV licence! Analysis by the charity, Independent Age, suggests as many as 39% of those eligible for Pension Credit are not claiming simply because they don’t know they can.
But it isn’t just Pension Credit. Joan’s advanced arthritis makes it difficult for her to get around and the adviser explained that she’s also entitled to claim Attendance Allowance. For Joan this is liberating. It means she doesn’t always have to depend on her daughter; she can afford a taxi from time to time to get her own shopping. The national charity, Turn2Us believe as many as 3.4 million people over the age of 65 are entitled to this, but don’t claim. Again, many just don’t realise the benefit is there for them.
The Department of Work and Pensions’ own data – collated annually and published most recently in February 2020 – suggests that, when it comes to benefits in general, up to £16 billion remains unclaimed, and this lack of take-up occurs across the whole range from Personal Independence Payment to Council Tax Support.
Why hasn’t the money been claimed? According to charities and campaign groups, reasons vary. It might be negative perceptions of benefit claiming and a misguided sense of stigma this can create, a belief that the process is overly complicated and time-consuming, or simply just not knowing how to go about it and where to start. But support is there, YOU may be eligible, and Citizens Advice can help you access it.
So whether you have been struggling to manage for some time or whether the pandemic has brought about a sudden change in your situation, get in touch – Contact details. Don’t miss out on what you’re entitled to.
*Name changed to protect Client confidentiality