A new report published today by the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales highlights the ways that older people in Wales could be better supported to claim Pension Credit and boost their incomes.
The report captures the findings of the Commissioner’s recent Pension Credit Summit – ‘From the Treasury to Treorchy’ – held in December, which brought key individuals and organisations from across Wales, including Welsh Government, Department for Work and Pensions and Age Cymru, to hear directly from older people about their experiences, examine effective ways to increase Pension Credit uptake in Wales, contribute ideas and pledge actions to help reach more people who are currently missing out.
It is estimated that up to 80,000 older people in Wales do not receive the Pension Credit they are entitled to, which boosts incomes by £65 a week on average and unlocks a range of other entitlements, including council tax discounts and help with housing costs, free dental and eye care, and free TV Licences for people aged 75+.
The report sets out the ways that language and communications could be improved, how barriers and stigma could be tackled and the kinds of advice and support that older people find most beneficial when trying to claim.
The report also includes calls for action from the Welsh Government and Department of Work and Pensions, as well as highlighting the action the Commissioner will be taking to help ensure older people do not miss out on what’s theirs and receive all of the financial support they are entitled to.
This action is crucial with nearly 1 in 5 older people in Wales living in poverty and the cost-of-living crisis leaving thousands more facing impossible bills.
Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots CBE, said:
“An estimated £200m of Pension Credit went unclaimed in Wales last year – money that should have been in the pockets of older people surviving on low incomes.
“Despite a wide range of work being delivered throughout Wales to support older people to claim, awareness about Pension Credit is still relatively low, with many older people saying they are unsure about where to turn for help and support.
“The findings of my recent summit, set out in the report I am publishing today, highlight the ways we could reach out to and communicate with older people more effectively, reduce the stigma and potential embarrassment about receiving Pension Credit, and how the advice and support available to older people could be improved.
“Within the report, I also call for action from the Welsh Government and Department for Work and Pensions to use data more effectively to identify older people who may be missing out and undertake further campaigns to raise awareness and encourage people to claim.
“Alongside this, recognising the role we can all play in supporting older people to claim what’s theirs, I want individuals and organisations to make a Pension Credit Promise, to highlight the action they will take – however big or small – to help ensure that older people do not miss out on Pension Credit and the crucial support it provides.
“By working together, we can reach out to older people in communities throughout Wales and make a positive difference to thousands of lives by helping to ensure that older people surviving on the lowest incomes – many of whom are amongst the most vulnerable members of society – do not miss out on the support they’re entitled to.”
ENDSRead the Summit Report