The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales has welcomed data showing an increase in the number of new claimants of Pension Credit during the period she ran a campaign to increase awareness of this important financial entitlement.
In October 2019, the Commissioner worked closely with Transport for Wales to include an information leaflet about Pension Credit with all renewed concessionary bus passes that were being sent to everyone in Wales over the age of 60.
This leaflet campaign, that the Welsh Government agreed to support financially, was delivered to over 500,000 older people in Wales, with 390,000 of these being delivered in October and November 2019.
Data from the Department for Work and Pensions shows that during this period, the number of new claimants was 26% higher than the average per quarter over the last two years.1
Estimates calculated by the Commissioner, using data from the Department for Work and Pensions, show that this increase in the number of new claimants was worth over £10,000 a week to older people throughout Wales, which would be an additional £500,000 over a year to support some of our poorest communities.3
Figure 1: Number of new Pension Credit claimants in Wales by quarter2
However, this campaign is only scratching the surface of the estimated £214m of Pension Credit that went unclaimed in Wales in 2018/19.4 Pension Credit is worth an average of £58 per week to those who are eligible and it unlocks a range of other entitlements, such as council tax discounts, free dental care and help with housing costs, which provide further financial support for older people.
Nearly 1 in 5 older people in Wales live in relative income poverty5 and Pension Credit can make the difference for many thousands of these older people living in our poorest communities.
The Commissioner’s campaign highlights the value that interventions to support people to claim what they are entitled to can bring to older people and her Leave No-one Behind report has called for investment in a targeted campaign and assistance to increase the take-up of Pension Credit as an important part of Wales’ recovery from Covid-19.6
The Welsh Government’s Claim What’s Yours campaign7 is a welcome first step towards increasing take-up of Pension Credit, and other financial entitlements, but further action is needed at a national and local level to maximise the number of eligible older people that claim what they are entitled to.
1Data accessed through Department for Work and Pensions Stat-Xplore database – www.stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk
2Duration of claim: up to 3 months – Duration refers to the length a claim has been in payment on the Pension (PC) benefit system at the end of the reporting quarter. The duration is calculated from the month that payment starts (i.e. after the registration and decision process is complete).
3Calculations based on median value of claim for the number of new claimants in each grouped amount of benefit
4Independent Age (2020) Pension Credit: a closer look. Available at: https://www.independentage.org/pension-credit-a-closer-look [Accessed 16 March 2021]
5Welsh Government. (2020). Relative income poverty: April 2018 to March 2019. Available at: https://gov.wales/relative-income-poverty-april-2018-march-2019 [Accessed 16 March 2021]
6Older People’s Commissioner for Wales. (2020). Leave No-one Behind: Action for an Age-friendly Recovery. Available at: https://www.olderpeoplewales.com/en/reviews/leavenoonebehind.aspx [Accessed 16 March 2021]
7Welsh Government (2021) Claim What’s Yours. Available at: https://gov.wales/claim-whats-yours [Accessed 16 March 2021]