SNP accuses Westminster of forcing pensioners into poverty
The UK Government have been accused of allowing the elderly to miss out on billions ofPension Credit support.
SNP MP Anne McLaughlin told The Scotsman not enough was being done to let pensioners know they were entitled to the money and thousands were living in poverty as a result.
Speaking on the International Day of Older Persons, the SNP has now urged the UK Government to do more to ensure all pensioners eligible for Pension Credit claim it.
She said: “Pensioners across Scotland and the UK are facing greater health and economic challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it is vital that the UK Government does all that it can to protect our pensioners and ensure they are not left behind.
“Today, on International Day of Older Persons, I am calling on the UK Government to take specific action to ensure all pensioners eligible for Pension Credit claim it, including following Scotland’s lead and launching a UK-wide campaign to raise awareness of it and all other benefits available.
“A few posters in GP surgeries over lockdown – which not many people would have seen – absolutely does not go far enough.”
Research by Independent Age has revealed that just under half a million pensioners could be lifted out of poverty if there was an uptake in claims, with just six in ten currently receiving it.
The non-profit organisation claim lifting this to 100 per cent of those eligible would lift 450,000 pensioners out of poverty.
The Glasgow North East MP said: “The benefit, which is specifically designed to lift pensioners out of poverty, is crucial to hundreds of thousands of pensioners and it is absolutely scandalous that the Department for Work and Pensions is allowing billions of pounds to go unclaimed.
“This unclaimed Pension Credit scandal is just the most recent in a long list of Tory actions that have left and continue to leave millions of older people worse off and push them further into poverty.
“With just six in ten people eligible for Pension Credit actually receiving it, and with Pension Credit holding one of the lowest benefit take-up rates, it’s clear that too many of our pensioners are falling through the gaps in support.”
A DWP spokesperson said: “We want to make sure that all older people receive the support they are entitled to and earlier this year we ran a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of pension credit, also dispelling some myths people might hold.
“Having savings, a pension or owning a home are not necessarily barriers to receiving pension credit and even a small award of pension credit can provide access to a wide range of other benefits.
“We would encourage anyone who thinks they might be eligible for Pension Credit to visit gov.uk/pension-credit. It only takes a few minutes to get an indication of how much they could get using the online Pension Credit calculator and a claim can be made online or by calling the free claim line 0800 99 1234.”
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